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Women of Indian Cinema

Women of Indian Cinema

A spotlight on women in front and behind the camera, who shaped the cultural cinematic landscape of India through their struggles and triumphs.

KALI SALWAR

Fareeda Mehta India, 2002

The debut feature from director Fareeda Mehta, this Mumbai-set drama offers a graceful look at female identity, urban life, and the role of religion in contemporary Indian culture. A colorful, poetic tale of self-discovery, based on a series of short stories by Urdu writer Saadat Hassan Manto.

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PESTONJEE

Vijaya Mehta India, 1988

Pestonjee looks at human loneliness and its diverse manifestations through the prism of the miniscule Parsi community of Mumbai. Questioning the meaning of happiness, the film makes a sharp comment about the idea of a perfect life.

RUDAALI

Kalpana Lajmi India, 1993

A feminist story of friendship and the plight of women across social classes. This poignant story is set in the backdrop of an old custom from Rajasthan, where women of lower caste are hired as professional mourners to publicly display grief upon the death of upper-caste males.

SATI

Aparna Sen India, 1989

A powerful feminist drama set against the backdrop of the eponymous horrific practice of early nineteenth century India, Sati is one of the iconic works of filmmaker Aparna Sen. Shabana Azmi delivers a moving performance as the mute protagonist who silently suffers societal exploitation.

SWAMI

Basu Chatterjee India, 1977

Shabana Azmi carries this Basu Chatterjee film on her shoulders with a nuanced performance as an argumentative, intelligent, and stubborn young woman forced into an arranged marriage. Based on a Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s short story, Swami is a remarkable ode to his literary genius.

MISS BEATTY'S CHILDREN

Pamela Rooks India, 1992

Set in pre-independence India, Miss Beatty’s Children is a poignant look at the challenges and disillusion that come with fighting for the oppressed and the marginalised. The debut feature film of Pamela Rooks, one of the pathbreaking woman filmmakers from India.