Throughout its history, the film industry can boast of women who carved out their domain in an esssentially male bastion. However, when it comes to wielding the megaphone, it’s the men who have led from the front.
However, there have been actresses who eased into the director’s much-coveted chair like never before. With Kangna Ranaut announcing her plans of turning filmmaker in the near future, here’s looking at her compatriots -- accomplished actresses from present and past who went on to direct.
Acting debut: 'Varavikrayam' (1939)
Directorial debut: 'Chandirani' (1953)
Behind the camera: One of the earliest female filmmakers in the country, Bhanumathi ended up with 14 films to her credit as a director. A majority of her work was either in Tamil or Telugu.
Acting debut: 'Mahaprasthaner Pathey' (1952)
Directorial debut: 'Chhuti' (1967)
Behind the camera: One of the earliest female directors, she appeared in about 17 films and directed five, with her debut effort winning a Certificate of Merit at the 1967 National Awards.
Acting debut: 'Samsaram' (1950)
Directorial debut: 'Kuzhandai Ullam' (1969)
Behind the camera: After establishing herself in Telugu, Tamil and Kannada films, she moved to direction. Before passing away at the age of 46, the legendary actress directed four films in Telugu and two in Tamil.
Acting debut: 'Macha Rekai' (1950)
Directorial debut: 'Meena' (1973)
Behind the camera: At the onset of the new millennium, Guinness Book of Records named her as the female director with the highest number of films. Apparently, she has helmed 47 movies in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.
Acting debut: 'Teen Kanya' (1961)
Directorial debut: '36 Chowringhee Lane'
Behind the camera: Winner of three National Awards, the Bengali actress-director is known for her films like Paroma, Sati, Yugant, Mr and Mrs Iyer, 15 Park Avenue and most recently, Iti Mrinalini.
Acting debut: 'Sapnon Ka Saudagar' (1968)
Directorial debut: 'Dil Aashna Hai' (1992)
Behind the camera: So far, the Dreamgirl has yielded the megaphone only twice, with both the films leaving very little to remember -- critically as well as commerically. Her last venture was Tell Me O Kkhuda.
Acting debut: 'Mann Vasanai' (1983)
Directorial debut: 'Mitr, My Friend' (2002)
Behind the camera: This three-time National Award winner has been part of five projects — including a short film — in her capacity as a director. Revathi has been active in South cinema as well as Bollywood.
Acting debut: 'Daddy' (1989)
Directorial debut: 'Paap' (2003)
Behind the camera: It’s been more than a decade since she has worked as an actor in a film. Meanwhile, she has shelled out five films as a director. More into production nowadays, 'Jism 2' was her last directorial outing.
Acting debut: 'Laawaris' (1981)
Directorial debut: 'Firaaq' (2008)
Behind the camera: It’s been five years since her last film and there has been no sign whatsoever of her returning to direction. After all, Nandita is currently occupied with theatre with husband Subodh Maskara.
The pioneer: Fatma Begum
Acting debut: 'Veer Abhimanyu' (1922)
Directorial debut: 'Bulbule Parista'n (1926)
Behind the camera: One of the early superstars in Indian cinema and the country’s first female film director, she directed eight films in all.
Sushmita Sen’s debut directorial venture, based on Rani Laxmibai’s life, was eventually shelved due to budgetary issues.
The Westside story
Actresses in Hollywood too have tried their skills behind the camera…
>> Currently directing her fourth film, Jodie Foster’s last venture was Mel Gibson-starrer 'The Beaver'.
>> Angelina Jolie made her directorial debut with In the drama 'Land of Blood and Honey' (2011).
>> So far, Drew Barrymore has directed one feature film, one short and one documentary.
>> After dabbling in TV shows, Courteney Cox of the 'Friends' fame is making her film debut with the upcoming 'Just Before I Go'.