11 Bollywood Women Directors Who Dared To Touch Upon Bold Subjects

11 Bollywood Women Directors Who Dared To Touch Upon Bold Subjects

11 Dec 18 @ 11:09 AM | By Ravi

Call them bold or titillating films, it’s not just the men folk who’ve made them but also some female filmmakers have touched upon these sensitive subjects. Bollywood has recently been witnessing a sea change in all kinds of cinema including bold subjects pertaining to women on screen and the way feminism is portrayed. A big hue and cry have been made when our women Bollywood directors have come up with strong female-centric films dealing with a woman’s desire for sex. But times have changed as these female directors on bold subjects don’t just end up at film festivals but also get critics' and audience's applause. Here’s a list of women directors who dared to collate Bollywood bold movies by touching upon sensitive subjects.

  1. Nandita Das (Manto)

    Nandita Das who herself acted in numerous acclaimed and bold scripted movies did justice to herself as a director too. Nandita directed the film Manto, based on the controversial life of an established author and writer Saadat Hasan Manto. Saadat Hasan Manto who was an established story writer in the Bombay film industry is distressed when his family was forced to move to Pakistan post-partition of India and Pakistan. Manto was screened at prestigious film festivals including Cannes.

    Nandita Das (Manto)
    Nandita Das (Manto)
  2. Mira Nair (Kamasutra: A Tale of Love)

    Director Mira Nair probably is the first woman director in India to have touched upon a sensitive subject like sex in most of her films. Though her Kamasutra: A Tale of Love was the beginning of all her hot movies but films like Children of a Desired Sex and India Cabaret too have been testaments of her earlier works.

    Mira Nair (Kamasutra: A Tale of Love)
    Mira Nair (Kamasutra: A Tale of Love) Pycker
  3. Deepa Mehta (Fire)

    The Indian born Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta tried a never-seen-before bold attempt on lesbianism with Fire in 1996. The film starring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das in pivotal roles portrayed the sexual desires of the suppressed Indian woman who suffer in silence. The film received a lot of flak and was brought down from the theaters only to set a trend in Indian cinema for the next generation of women directors.

    Deepa Mehta (Fire)
    Deepa Mehta (Fire) Pycker
  4. Kalpana Lajmi (Chingaari)

    Director Kalpana Lajmi surely does make it to the list of Indian women directors who dealt with strong female-centric subjects. She set the tone with Ek Pal film where Shabana Azmi has an illicit affair out of her marriage to become pregnant. Her later films like Darmiyaan: In Between and Chingaari too touched upon sensitive topics of LGBT and prostitution, respectively.

    Kalpana Lajmi (Chingaari)
    Kalpana Lajmi (Chingaari) Pycker
  5. Aruna Raje (Rihaee)

    Director Aruna Raje had to break up with real life husband-director Vikas Desai to make films that she believed in. Her Rihaee in 1988 portrayed the real face of rural women who are lured by other men to satisfy their sexual needs. Though the film was booed by the critics then but today it serves as an eye-opener to many moviegoers whenever it is shown on TV channels.

    Aruna Raje (Rihaee)
    Aruna Raje (Rihaee) Pycker
  6. Aparna Sen (Sonata)

    Aparna Sen’s Sonata can no more be treated as an experimental film which dealt with three 50-plus aged women who look back at what they missed out in life physically. Her debut film 36 Chowranghee Lane too stands testimony to one of her sensitively handled bold subjects which got her a National award for best direction in 1981.

    Aparna Sen (Sonata)
    Aparna Sen (Sonata) Pycker
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  8. Alankrita Shrivastava (Lipstick Under My Burkha)

    Alankrita Shrivastava is one of Bollywood’s young female directors to join the bandwagon of bold story tellers. After assisting director Prakash Jha for a while, Alankrita made her directorial debut with Turning 30!! which sank without a trace. Her recently released film Lipstick Under My Burkha created a lot of buzz before clearing the censors. The film which tells the tale of four Indian women trapped in their own circumstances was a take on brand feminism.

    Alankrita Shrivastava (Lipstick Under My Burkha)
    Alankrita Shrivastava (Lipstick Under My Burkha) Pycker
  9. Leena Yadav (Parched)

    Leena Yadav is a writer, editor, musician, presenter, producer, and director, all rolled in one who is known for making films with unconventional storylines. She made her Bollywood directorial debut with the Sanjay Dutt-Aishwarya Rai starrer Shabd which had an unusual storyline. Her recently released Radhika Apte, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Surveen Chawla starrer Parched too was a bold movie with a storyline where three women break the shackles of societal norms to realize their own sexual fantasies.

    Leena Yadav (Parched)
    Leena Yadav (Parched) Pycker
  10. Pooja Bhatt (Jism 2)

    Pooja Bhatt is another ‘coming of age’ woman director who dared to come up with films which were not only bold but sensuous too. The actress turned director-producer started it all with Paap where a Buddhist girl breaks the societal norms to quench her physical needs. Pooja took her direction to the next level with Jism 2 starring Sunny Leone where she uses her body to the right effect to crack down on a noted killer.

    Pooja Bhatt (Jism 2)
    Pooja Bhatt (Jism 2) Pycker
  11. Shonali Bose (Margarita with a Straw)

    A self-acclaimed bisexual herself in real life, Shonali Bose has directed two movies namely, Amu and Margarita with a Straw, so far and both got caught with the censors. Amu had trouble in its release for having a political overtone to it while Margarita with a Straw took a while to release as it dealt with the sensitive subject of lesbianism. Both the films made the rounds of the festivals and received critical acclaim.

    Shonali Bose (Margarita with a Straw)
    Shonali Bose (Margarita with a Straw) Pycker
  12. Madhureeta Anand (Kajarya)

    Writer-director Madhureeta Anand though has made a few films in an array of genres but is best known for her film Kajarya. Kajarya dealt with the pertinent topic of sex selection in India where new born girl children are killed for a male child. The film was termed as fierce and disturbing by the critics but to a large extent brought out the ugly face of Indian male dominance in our society.

    Madhureeta Anand (Kajarya)
    Madhureeta Anand (Kajarya) Pycker