Just like the rest of the world, patriarchy has been deep-rooted in the film industry. To challenge that, many Indian women directors have started to make more and more movies regarding different social evils. A lot of these films are often based on patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism themselves. Through these movies, the directors not only try to fight these evils but also create a pillar of feminism in the world of cinema.
Deepa Mehta, Aparna Sen, Alankrita Shrivastava, Mira Nair, and Meghna Gulzar are a few of the many names of talented women who are redefining the art of filmmaking by standing behind the camera and gazing into a more equal future. There are certain movies directed by Indian women directors which you and everyone else should watch. Here is a list of such films.
A film that was way ahead of its time, Fire is the first instalment of the Element trilogy made by one of the most talented Indian women directors, Deepa Mehta.
Fire is a pathbreaking movie about homosexuality. It is also the first Indian movie to show a lesbian relationship. The story of Fire revolves around two married women who confide to each other when their husbands choose celibacy and other mistresses over them. Their bond grows deeper and intimate but fear of a closed-minded society comes in between their love. Fire received major backlash but at the same time encouraged many LGBTQ+ communities to become more vocal about their rights.
It is truly one of the best films directed by an Indian women director and deserves high praise for portraying homosexuality at a time when no one even dared to talk about it.
2. 36 Chowringhee Lane
When it comes to Indian women directors, Aparna Sen is a name that no one can miss. Her movie 36 Chowringhee Lane has helped in shaping the face of feminism in Indian cinema.
36 Chowringhee Lane is a movie about an Anglo-Indian teacher, Violet Stoneham who lives on 36 Chowringhee Lane in Kolkata who has an uneventful life with barely anyone around for her.
It is a tale of vulnerability and loneliness portraying raw and pure human lives longing for someone to be with. An excellent directorial debut by Sen, 36 Chowringhee Lane should be on your list of films directed by Indian women directors.
3. A Death in the Gunj
Like mother like daughter, A Death in the Gunj is an exceptionally well film made by an Indian women director, Konkana Sen Sharma. This film did not receive the recognition it deserved when it was released. But since then it has grown to become one of the best films in the Indian film industry ever.
A Death in the Gunj depicts the life of a young man from a well-off family who goes on a vacation to his family home. There he finds himself under a huge burden of familial responsibilities while fighting depression and grief. Away from all the mainstream cinema, this movie opens a dialogue about mental health by depicting a person who is depressed. Its subtle undertones and slow pace make the ending unexpected.
A Death in the Gunj was also the directorial debut of Konkana Sen and is one of the best films directed by Indian women directors.
4. Lipstick Under a Burkha
Another extremely famous film that should be on the list of amazing films made by Indian women directors is Lipstick Under My Burkha. Directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, it is a black comedy film about the life of four women who seek liberation from their lives controlled by the norms of a patriarchal society.
Like many other movies directed by Indian women directors, Lipstick Under My Burkha too received several censors and major backlash. But the film grew to become a critically acclaimed movie in India and internationally as well.
The story depicts peek intersectional feminist culture and how the four women bond over the sexism and misogyny they face every day. Lipstick Under My Burkha should be on your must-watch films made by Indian women directors.
Lipstick Under My Burkha is available on Amazon Prime Video
5. Village Rockstars
When talking about films made by Indian women directors, Village Rockstars is an obvious name that should be added to the list. Directed by Rima Das it is a film about the life of a young girl living in the rural parts of India who has to fight between her dreams and reality. The movie shows how many people and children living in poverty have to take tough decisions every day.
Village Rockstars is a coming-of-age movie with the brilliant character development of the little girl who is not just mature for her age but also resilient.
Rima Das is one of the best Indian women directors and her work speaks for itself as it showcases the real problems faced by real people living in India.
Village Rocktars is available on Netflix.
6. Salaam Bombay!
Last but definitely not least, is the movie Salaam Bombay! which is directed by Mira Nair who has single-handedly contributed a lot to the list of amazing movies by Indian women directors.
Salaam Bombay! is a film that brings out the ugly truth of slums in the city of Mumbai. For being more genuine, Nair hired unprofessional actors who lived in the slums for her film which is a nod to Italian Realism and is considered a part of parallel cinema of India.
The movie was also nominated for Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film award as well as for Golden Globes and BAFTA. Salaam Bombay! is a must-watch movie when it comes to films directed by Indian women directors.
The list does not end here. There are many other brilliant movies made by Indian women directors who earn more than just awards and applauds. It is important for the people and film industry as well to make more ground-breaking movies and give a push to women who dream of becoming film directors. Let us know your favorite movies made by Indian women directors in the comments below!