On Women's Day Haricharan Pudipeddi looks at a few women directors who have carved a niche for themselves in a male-dominated industry.

At a time when women are Presidents, doctors, teachers and lawyers, it is hard to believe that they still are not guaranteed the same rights as men. Even today somewhere in the world women are less paid or in some cases not even let to work. While, in some other part of the world women have surpassed every barrier along their way and have excelled in the career of their choice. We take a look at some of the best women directors who over the years not only managed to make some good films but proved that they can do the unachievable.

My pick

Of all the women directors, one name that instantaneously rings a bell is that of Mira Nair; the Indian-born New York-settled filmmaker, who rose to fame with movies such as “Salaam Bombay” (nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film), “Mississippi Masala”, “Monsoon Wedding”, “Vanity Fair”, “Namesake” etc. Touted to be a controversial director, Mira is highly regarded as one of the best in her field.

American Kathryn Bigelow, unlike other women directors has managed to carve a niche in the industry in a short time.

Most popular for her cult horror film “Near Dark” and the bank robbery action picture “Point Break”; she is the first woman to ever win the Academy Award for Best Director for her critically acclaimed film “Hurt Locker”. In April 2010, Kathryn was named in the Time 100 Most Influential People of the Year.

With just two films in her kitty, Revathy may seem like a weak contender in this category, however, the impact her two films managed to deliver is just beyond our imagination. Her films “Mitr, My Friend” and “Phir Milenge” are highly spoken of even today.

From the land of the Golden Temple comes director Deepa Mehta, famous for element trilogy films such as “Fire”, “Earth” and “Water”; the director's film was nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Mehta also directed two episodes of George Lucas' television series “The Young Indian Jones Chronicles” and she is currently working on “Midnight's Children”.

One of the most popular women directors in the Indian film industry is yesteryear actor Dr. P. Bhanumathi. An all-rounder in cinema, not only was she a famous director, she was an accomplished writer, producer, music director, actress, and singer. She also owned a studio named Bharani studios. She starred in 81 films; directed 14 films; produced 10 films and sang in about 36 films.

In 2002, the Guinness Book of Records named Vijaya Nirmala as the female director with most number of films; she made 47 films. In a career spanning approximately two decades, she acted in over 200 films with 25 each in Malayalam and Tamil. She also produced 15 films.

Other well-known women directors include Suhasini Maniratnam (“Indira”), Nancy Meyers (“Something's Gotta Give”, “The Holiday”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”), Gurinder Chadha (“Bend it Like Beckham”) and Anusha Rizvi (“Peepli Live”).

Haricharan is a working professional.


At WorkSeptember 24, 2010