7 Acclaimed Bengali Women Directors Who Redefined Bengali Cinema

7 Acclaimed Bengali Women Directors Who Redefined Bengali Cinema

31 Jan 19 @ 6:06 PM

Bengali actresses are known for their exceptional beauty and talent, but some of these women have moved beyond the camera and done remarkable award-winning work. Women directors are slowly making their presence felt by getting involved in the process of filmmaking and taking over the industry by storm giving us some of the most memorable films in the past few decades. The Bengali film industry has seen a lot of female filmmakers who have challenged the otherwise male-dominated Tinsel-Town. Be it masala blockbuster maker Sudeshna Roy for mass audience or Aparna Sen for her sensitive appeal, all have been clear winners. Here is a list of such actors who went on to mesmerize audiences while staying behind the cinematic lens.

  • Reshmi Mitra

    Director Reshmi Mitra is a young talent who debuted as a filmmaker with Hothat Dekha, a periodic drama inspired by Rabindranath Tagore's poetry by the same name. Her next film was Baranda starring Rituparna Sengupta, Bratya Basu, and Saheb Bhattacharjee. The film got critical acclaims. Reshmi has shown potential to be one of the most appreciated female actresses in the future.

    Reshmi Mitra
    Reshmi Mitra
    Reshmi Mitra
  • Aparna Sen

    This Padma Shri awardee Bengali filmmaker, screenwriter and actress is well known for her work in Bengali cinema. She is the winner of three National Film Awards and nine International film festival awards for her direction in films. She has been directing films since her debut in 1981 with ‘36 Chowringhee Lane’ for which she won the National Film Award for Best Director and the Grand Prix (the Golden Eagle) at the Manila International Film Festival. She went on to direct films like ‘Parama’, ‘Sati’, ‘Yugant’, ‘Paromitar Ek Din’, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Iyer’, ‘15 Park Avenue’, ‘The Japanese Wife’, ‘Iti Mrinalini’, ‘Goynar Baksho’ and gained critical recognition. She won her second National Film Award as a director for ‘Mr. and Mrs. Iyer’ which was a love story set against the harsh backdrop of Hindu-Muslim sectarian violence in India. It also managed to win awards at the Locarno, Hawaii and Manila film festivals. She then went for her next directorial effort Paromitar Ek Din (2000), which was a critical hit. The film explored the relationship between that of a divorced woman and her mother-in-law, played by Sen herself. It went on to win a number of awards on the international festival circuit and the National Award for Best Bengali Films.

    Aparna Sen
    Aparna Sen
  • Shonali Bose

    Shonali Bose is a Bengali Indian film director, screen-writer and producer. She is known for her debut film ‘Amu’ which explores the suppressed history of the genocidal attacks on Sikhs in Delhi in 1984 which she had written, produced and directed. ‘Amu’ released in India in January 2005 receiving popular and critical acclaim. It then went on to premier at the Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals amongst many other international festivals. Bose has won 7 national and international awards for Amu including the FIPRESCI Critics Award, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English and Gollapudi Srinivas Award for best first-time director. In 2012 she co-wrote Chittagong, directed by her former husband Bedabrata Pain which was about the Chittagong armory raid of 1930. The film starred Manoj Bajpai as Masterda Surya Sen. Her 2014 film, ‘Margarita with a Straw’ starring Kalki Koechlin, as a girl with cerebral palsy was premiered at 2014 Toronto Film Festival. The story is about a young rebellious woman with cerebral palsy who leaves India to study in New York and while on her journey of self-discovery, unexpectedly falls in love. The script won the Best Script award at the Sundance Festival Writer’s lab and was one of the five projects selected for the Work In Progress Lab of Film Bazaar 2013.

    Shonali Bose
    Shonali Bose
  • Sudeshna Roy

    Sudeshna Roy is a Bengali actor turned director. She made her directorial debut with the film, Sudhu Tumi (2004). She then went to direct films like Cross Connection (2009), Teen Yaari Katha (2012), Bapi Bari Jaa (2012) and Biye Notout (2014). She along with co-director Abhijit Guha make movies on socially relevant issues with a comical twist. Her recent films include ‘Bitnoon’ and ‘Mayer Biye’.

    Sudeshna Roy
    Sudeshna Roy
  • Arundhati Devi

    Arundhati Devi (1925–1990) was a Bengali actress, film director and writer. In 1967, she has received the National Film Award for Best Film Based on High Literary Work for the film ‘Chutti’. Arundhati made her cinematic debut in the seminal film Mahaprasthaner Pathey (1952) which also had a Hindi version named Yatrik. The film directed by Kartik Chatterjee, depicted a group of pilgrims on an arduous trek in the high Himalayas, and was a smash hit. Her first film as a director was Chhuti (1967) which won a Certificate of Merit at the 1967 National Awards. However, her most popular film as a director is ‘Padi Pishir Barmi Baksho’ is based on the popular children's novel by Leela Majumdar.

    Arundhati Devi
    Arundhati Devi
  • Nandita Roy

    Nandita Roy is a Bengali film maker and screenwriter. She, along with director Shiboprosad Mukherjee are amongst the few director duos in the history of Bengali cinema to have achieved both critical as well as commercial in their very first debut venture Icche (2011). Nandita Roy began her professional career in the year 1978, she co-directed 'Agadoom-Bagadoom' a short puppet film for children and she was also a glove-puppet operator in the same film. The director duo is known for directing socially relevant entertaining films. They went on to direct films like ‘Accident’, ‘Muktodhara’, ‘Alik Sukh’, ‘Ramdhanu’ and ‘Bela Seshe’ all of which went on to be appreciated both critically as well as commercially. Subsequently, since she has been a part of several projects and worked with many renowned directors. She started her own company named WINDOWS Productions along with her partner Shiboprosad Mukherjee and together they produce many non-fiction and fiction programs.

    Nandita Roy
    Nandita Roy
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  • Satarupa Sanyal

    Satarupa Sanyal is a Bengali independent and parallel cinema film director, producer, actress, poet and social activist, from Kolkata. She is well known for her feminist social stances incorporated in her films. She has worked as an Assistant Director and associated script writer to noted director Utpalendu Chakrabarty for seven years. In 1998 she made her debut film ‘ANU’ as a director and producer under her own banner "SCUD". She served Central Board of Film Certification for 4 years as a member and also served as the jury member of Indian Panorama, National Award for feature film, and National Awards for All India Radio and section committee jury in MIFF. Her film ‘Anu’ has been a path breaking one where she had portrayed a so-called progressive, leftist, humanist and how he viewed a woman. Then in her next film ‘Atatayee’, the political angle considered was slightly different where she attempted to capture the same 1970s, but in the film the activist gets confused, moves away from his conviction when confusion plays in his mind and begins to make mistakes. She also has a flair for writing short stories and poems and tends to be an open eyed dreamer and her life force forcing her for exploration of her genius through her films.

    Satarupa Sanyal
    Satarupa Sanyal
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