10 Women Directors Who Made A Mark In Tamil Films

10 Women Directors Who Made A Mark In Tamil Films

21 Mar 18 @ 11:04 AM

Tamil cinema industry is famous for producing some of the ground breaking films in India but more than anything, ground breaking artists and technicians. In a male dominating industry it was hard to find women technicians as their role was limited to acting, dancing, singing, etc. Women directors were unheard of but off-late the trend has changed as one sees an influx of quite a few of them making a mark for themselves in various film making fields. From T.P. Rajalakshmi, who became the first woman director in South India itself to V. Priya who made the effervescent ‘Kannammochi Yenada’, women directors in Kollywood have come a long way. Read on to find 10 women directors of Kollywood who made their work speak for themselves.

  1. TP Rajalakshmi – Miss Kamala, Madhurai Veeran

    TP Rajalakshmi (1911-1964) was a Tamil and Telugu heroine who went on to become the first woman director in South Indian films. In her career spanning almost three decades she acted in 23 films, directing and creatively involved in many of them. Rajalakshmi was a firebrand of sort, she even produced a film called ‘India Thaai’ (which was renamed ‘Indhiya Thaai’ to fool the British censors) at the time of freedom struggle movement. She directed two films in her career, ‘Miss Kamala’ (1936) and ‘Madhurai Veeran’ (1938). She was also the heroine of ‘Kalidas’ (1931), the first talkie in Tamil.

    TP Rajyalakshmi
    TP Rajyalakshmi
  2. Madhumitha – Vallamayi Tharayo

    Madhumitha is a Tamil director who is famous for her works like ‘Vallami Tharayo’ (2008), ‘Kola KolayaMundhirika’ (2010), ‘Moone Moonu Vaarthai’ (2015). Madhumitha made many short films, some of them even featuring in BBC Best of the World. She worked in the Hollywood project ‘Pirates of the Carribean’ before making her debut with the Parthipan starrer, ‘Vallamayi Tharayo’. The film completed a 100 days run at the box office.

  3. Aishwarya Dhanush – 3, Vai Raja Vai

    Elder Daughter of Superstar of Tamil cinema, Rajinikanth, Aishwarya was no stranger to filmmaking. She made her debut with 3 (2012), starring her husband Dhanush and Shruthi Haasan. Aishwarya made her entry into films as a playback singer in films like Aayirathil Oruvan, crooning the popular track Un Mela Aasadhaan. Her debut feature film became internationally popular due to one if its song sung by Dhanush, Why This Kolaveri Di which went viral. She made her second film, Vai Raja Vai, a psychological thriller starring Gautham Karthik and Priya Anand in 2015. In 2015 she announced the launching of ‘Ten Entertainment’, a YouTube channel to promote aspiring filmmakers.

    Aishwarya R. Dhanush
  4. Suhasini Mani Rathnam – Indira

    Suhasini was born into the artistic Haasan family whose members include artists like Kamal Haasan and Chaaru Haasan. Suhasini studied cinematography in Madras Film Institute but went on to become a successful actress in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films. In 1996, she stepped into the shoes of a director through the critically acclaimed ‘Indira’, starring Anu Haasan and Arvind Swamy. The film is notable for its technical perfection and an infectious soundtrack by AR Rahman. Suhasini is married to film maker Mani Rathnam.

    Suhasini
  5. Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi – Vanakkam Chennai

    Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi is an award winning director of short films and one feature film. She is the wife of producer and actor Udhayanidhi Stalin. Kiruthiga made her debut with the sleeper hit, ‘Vanakkam Chennai’ starring Shiva and Priya Anand. The film is notable for its innovative use of art designing and cinematography in its songs. She also directed Kaali with Vijay Anthony.

    Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi
  6. Lakshmy Ramakrishnan – Aarohanam, Nerungi Vaa Muthamidathe

    Lakshmi Ramakrishnan came to films accidently. Malayalam director Lohithadas introduced Lakshmi to films through ‘Chakkara Muthu’. She went on to star in many successful movies. In 2012, she made her feature film debut with ‘Aarohanam’. The film received a Special Jury Award at the 7th Vijay Awards. She made her second film ‘Nerungi Vaa Muthamidathe’ in 2014, based on the fuel crisis in Tamil Nadu. Her third feature titled, ‘Ammani’ in which she is playing the lead role as well as directing it, is awaiting release.

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  8. Ambika – Nizhal

    Veteran actress of Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu, Ambika has directed a Tamil- Malayalam bilingual thriller titled Nizhal (Shadows). Malayalam actor Suresh has co-directed the movie with her. Ambika, who made her film debut as a child artist in Chottanikkara Amma (1976) has acted in more than 150 films. Her notable films include Neelathamara, Seetha and Antha Ezhu Naatkal.

    Ambika
    Ambika
  9. Soundarya Rajinikanth – Kochadaiyaan

    Saundarya R Aswin is the younger daughter of Rajinikanth. She is a graphic designer, producer and director. She is most noted for the film ‘Kochadaiyaan’, a Tamil animation film featuring voices of Rajinikanth and Deepika Padukone. Initially she planned to make her debut with a 3D animated film titled ‘Sultan: The Warrior’, instead made ‘Kochadaiyaan’ which became India’s first motion capture film. She was awarded ‘Technical Innovation in Film’ at the NDTV Indian of The Year awards 2014.

  10. V Priya – Kanda Naal Muthal, Kannamoochi Yenada

    V Priya delivered a hit through her maiden directorial, Kanda Naal Muthal (2005) and followed it up with another super hit in 2007 with Kannamoochi Yenada. The director started her career as an assistant director to filmmaker Mani Ratnam and Suhasini Mani Ratnam.

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  12. JS Nandhini – Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru

    JS Nandhini is a gold medallist from the Film and Television Institute of Tamil Nadu and assisted director Priya V for ‘Kanda Naal Mudhal’ at the beginning of her career. She has directed many corporate films and advertisements including the ones she made Soundarapandian Bone and Joint Hospital. She is also a graphic novel creator with works like ‘Sivappu Kal Mookuthi’ to her credit. She made her feature film debut with the romantic comedy ‘Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru’, starring Ajmal and Rupa Manjari. She is currently working on her second movie, ‘Kolai Nokku Paarvai’, starring Karthik Kumar and Radhika Apte.