If one looks at the prominent players in Hindi cinema throughout history, it’s quite apparent that the industry has been undeniably gender-biased -- especially those behind the scenes. Besides, there haven’t been a lot of female pioneers when it comes to non-acting categories. However, things have certainly picked up pace as more and more women are exploring new grounds. We list a few of them in their respective fields...
Sneha Khanwalkar: Known for being extremely media-shy, Sneha has been actively producing music for films, documentaries as well as television. Even though Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj marked her Bollywood debut, Dibakar Banerjee’s Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! got her noticed. Later, she composed for films like LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, Bheja Fry and Gangs of Wasseypur.
Hetal Dedhia: For the uninitiated, a gaffer is responsible for the electrification of the lighting plan on sets. And as of now, Hetal is the only female gaffer in the country. Daughter of Moolchand Dedhia -- one of India’s best-known light designers -- Hetal has earlier been part of Don, Luck By Chance and Guzaarish as well as international projects such as Eat Pray Love and MI 4: The Ghost Protocol.
Kausar Munir: This Bandra-based writer coined the word ‘ishaqzaade’ (besides penning the songs for the film), which director Habib Faisal decided to use as the title. In a relatively short period of time, her filmography boasts of big banners like Dhoom 3, Bullett Raja, Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, Nautanki Saala! and Ek Tha Tiger.
Anvita Dutt Guptan: Born in New Delhi, Anvita too has been active on the lyrics front. She has written several tracks for varied films such as Mere Dad Ki Maruti, Student of the Year, Shanghai, Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge, Ra.One, Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap, Tees Maar Khan, We Are Family and Anjaana Anjaani.
Namrata Rao: In the last few years, there has been an impressive rise of women film editors. One of them is Namrata, who debuted with Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and later proceeded to edit films like LSD, Ishqiya and Band Baaja Baaraat. This year, she received the National Film Award for her editing chops in Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani.
Deepa Bhatia: Kai Po Che is the latest film she edited. Earlier, Deepa has worked on films such as Student of the Year, Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Stanley Ka Dabba, My Name is Khan, Rock On!! and Taare Zameen Par.
Aarti Bajaj: Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly and Imtiaz Ali’s Highway are the two upcoming films she is part of. Making her debut with Kashyap’s unreleased film Paanch and later his controversial Black Friday, Aarti went on to edit Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd, Jab We Met, Aamir, Dev.D, Paan Singh Tomar, Love Aaj Kal, No One Killed Jessica and Rockstar.
Deepti Gupta: It’s indeed a rare phenomenon to come across a camerawoman in the industry. Compared to the number of female directors that are actively functioning today, women cinematographers are a lot fewer. One of them is Deepti who shot Reema Kagti’s Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. followed by Anand Surapur’s The Fakir of Venice.
Savita Singh: Savita shot the memorable Jalpari: The Desert Mermaid and the forgettable Kismet Love Paisa Dilli while Ram Gopal Varma’s Phoonk marked her Bollywood debut. Interestingly, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) graduate won the National Award for cinematography in her debut venture, a short film called Kra Ma Sha.
Anjuli Shukla: The first Indian camerwoman to win a National Award for cinematography for her debut venture Kutty Srank in 2010, Anjuli has been part of films like Before the Rains, Tahaan and Raavan.
Priya Seth: She handled the camera for Raja Menon’s Barah Aana and then did the underwater shooting for Kiran Rao’s Dhobi Ghat.