Top Ten Lady Directors of Bollywood

‘Empowerment of women’ has been the buzz word in the last two weeks. However, its the other way round in Hindi cinema. Women have empowered Bollywood with their strong films. From tragedies to thrillers to comedies to road films, they have explored a plethora of genres. We bring you the top ten lady directors of Bollywood.


The Kerala kutty is quite popular for her stunning performances in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu for three decades now. She tried her hand in direction too with Mitr, My Friend which starred Shobana as the leading lady.  It was a story of an Indian woman unable to adjust to the contrasting culture of America, and finds an amigo in an internet chatroom. Revathi’s second venture was Phir Milenge, which dealt with HIV. Revathi put forward a story which showed the myths, mistakes and hypocrisy of the people reacting to people with HIV.


Meghna Gulzar

Beti Gulzar debuted with the Tabu and Sushmita Sen starrer Filhaal.  The movie’s plot involved surrogacy, which was way ahead of the times in Hindi Cinema.  Meghna could show the bonding between two best buddies as well the differences that crop up between them when one of them becomes the surrogate mother. Meghna’s brave attempt was well appreciated but her other films that followed damaged all the good name she gained through Filhaal.


Deepa Mehta

This Indo-Canadian filmmaker is famous for her elements Trilogy – Fire, Earth and Water.  Fire especially became popular for showing homosexuality first time in mainstream Hindi film.  Earth dealt with pre-independence riots, and Water showed the plight of widows in the 1940s.


Mira Nair

Right from the Salaam Bombay days, she has been phenomenal in trying out completely varied zones. She was bold enough to make Kama Sutra, which was however banned in India. Her noteworthy films in the last decade were Monsoon Wedding and The Namesake.
mira nair


Kalpana Lajmi

Mostly into documentaries, this niece of Guru Dutt is a big taskmaster when it comes to manufacturing women-centric films.  Her most acclaimed work was Rudaali with Dimple Kapadia delivering an outstanding performance. Kalpana’s other noted works were Daman and Ek Pal. Kalpana’s last too flicks Kyon? And Chingari went unnoticed though.
Kalpana Lajmi


Reema Katgi

She belongs to the Akthar camp and assisted Farhan and Zoya in their films. Her debut was Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd which was a light-hearted but enlightening story of 6 couples who are on a honeymoon trip to Goa. Her second film Talaash was an emotional thriller starring the perfectionist Aamir Khan. The talented writer-director has a style of her own, with class and substance.
reema kagti


Gauri Shinde

Only a film old, but she has attained a status of one of the finest female directors of the country. Mrs. Balki ‘s debut English Vinglish was unanimously loved by the nation. Sridevi couldn’t have wished for a better comeback to Bollywood.  Interestingly, the movie was based on Gauri’s relationship with her mother. This woman swept all the major Bollywood awards last year in the Best Debut director category.


Zoya Akthar

After nearly ten years of Farhan Akthar’s Dil Chahta Hai, there came someone who could reach the excellence of showing the male-bonding so well. It was Farhan’s sister Zoya who made the amazing flick Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara . Everyone was taken by surprise, how flawlessly she could transform bromance so well to the silver screen. Probably, talent flows through the veins of the Akthars .
zoya akthar


Farah Khan

One fine day, the Bollywood numeruno choreographer thought of changing her regular instruction of “1-2-1, 1-2-1..” to “ACTION…CUT” . That marked the beginning of the first woman Bolywood director who unabashedly made an out-an-out commercial masala Hindi cinema – Main Hoo Na, which also restarted the ‘Advanced booking’ concept at the theatres.  Her next film Om Shanti Om became another money-spinner. She is currently shooting Happy New Year with her lucky charm Shah Rukh Khan.
farah khan


Sai Paranjpye

Probably the most multifaceted female director, Indian cinema has produced.  She can make a sensitive film like Sparsh and win awards. She can easily translate rabbit-and-tortoise story into a Farooq Sheikh-Naseeruddin Shah starrer ‘Katha’. She can also make light-hearted cult comedies like Chashme Baddoor.  She can make some great documentaries for children too.  The 75-yr old lady is an iconic film-maker who proved very long ago that a movie’s genre has nothing to do with the maker’s gender!


In the coming years, we hope to see many more path-breaking and fantastic flicks from the fairer sex.

We would like to hear your comments below: