1. Fatima Begum

Fatma Begum was an Indian actress, director, and screenwriter. She is often considered the first female film director of Indian cinema. She began her career on the Urdu stage. She later shifted to films and debuted in Ardeshir Irani’s silent film, Veer Abhimanyu (1922). It was common practice for men to play women in plays and movies, so she became a huge woman superstar. Fatma Begum was fair skinned and wore dark makeup that suited the sepia/black and white images on the screen. While she worked in many films, self-made and of other studios, it is a shame that no known prints exist for her first directed feature film, Bulbul-e-Pakistan.

  1. Deepa Mehta

She is an Indo-Canadian film director and screenwriter, most known for her Elements Trilogy, Fire, Earth, and Water. She co-founded Hamilton-Mehta Productions, with her husband, producer David Hamilton in 1996. She was awarded a Genie Award in 2003 for the screenplay of Bollywood/Hollywood. In May 2012, Mehta received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada’s highest honour in the performing arts.

  1. Mira Nair

She is an Indian American filmmaker based in New York City. She runs a production company, Mirabai Films. Among her best-known films are Mississippi Masala, The Namesake, the Golden Lion-winning Monsoon Wedding and Salaam Bombay, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

  1. Gurinder Chadha

She is an English film director of Kenyan Asian origin. Most of her films explore the lives of Indians living in England. She is best known for the hit films Bhaji on the Beach, Bend It Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice, Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, and the comedy film It’s a Wonderful Afterlife. Her latest feature is the partition drama Viceroy’s House.

  1. Aparna Sen

She is an Indian filmmaker, screenwriter, and actress known for her work in Bengali cinema. A leading actress of the late 1960s and 1970s she has received eight BFJA Awards, five for best actress, two for best-supporting actress and one for lifetime achievement. She is the winner of three National Film Awards and nine international film festival awards for her direction in films. She is also a recipient of Padma Shri. Her directorial ventures have delivered some of the finest works in cinema like Mr and Mrs Iyer, 36 Chowringhee Lane, Yugant, Paromitar Ek Din and 15 Park Avenue.