Bollywood’s Rising Female Directors


Bollywood is one of the world’s largest film industries estimated to be worth over $2 billion. Every year hundreds of Bollywood films are released to a viewership over a billion people. The industry is headquartered in Mumbai and is known to produce multi-genre films that are mostly musicals with elements of comedy and drama. The first Indian musical film was Alam Ara released in 1931 and there has been no looking back ever since.

cs think that most Bollywood scripts are stale and almost made from templates as if written by AI which may not be too far-fetched considering the things AI is capable of doing as described here. However, Bollywood has significant influence not just within the country but also across the world. This is evident through movies like Moulin Rouge and Slumdog Millionaire whose directors have acknowledged the influence that Bollywood has had on them.

Bollywood directors have mostly been male and there has traditionally been a dynastic culture in the industry with families like the Kapoors and the Chopras dominating the show. However, in recent years the industry has opened up to young talented outsiders and a number of them are also female. Here is a list of some important female Bollywood directors to look out for.

Zoya Akhtar

Daughter of the legendary lyricist Javed Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar is one of the leading names of Bollywood today. A product of New York University, she is famous more recently for her Oscar entrant – Gully Boy which is a story of a young rapper from the slums of Mumbai who breaks through the rap scene. Her other notable movies include Luck by Chance, Dil Dhadakne Do and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. In fact, Luck by chance has also been included in a list of BBC’s 100 greatest films by female directors. Her brother – Farhan Akhtar – is also a notable director and actor.

Alankrita Shrivastava

Alankrita Shrivastava broke through the film industry with her controversial film Lipstick Under My Burkha which is a story of the plight of women in India. The film got over 10 global awards as well as a Golden Globe nomination.

Kiran Rao

Kiran Rao is a young Indian filmmaker who is also the wife of a well-known Bollywood actor – Aamir Khan. She made her debut as a director with the film Dhobi Ghat and has produced many critically acclaimed films like Peepli Live, Ship of Theseus and Delhi Belly.

Shonali Bose

Shonali Bose is another female director who has gathered a lot of interest in recent times. Her movies like Amu and Margherita with a Straw have won international awards. She comes from a theatre background and is known to make films that talk about the lives of women.

There are many more female directors that you could check out including Pooja Bhatt, Reem Kagti, Farah Khan, Deepa Mehta and Mira Nair. Bollywood has an exhausting catalogue of films and it’s a journey that can envelop you for a long time.