For the sheer magic their mastery behind the scenes makes possible, these incredible women from the Hindi film industry are undisputable leading ladies in their own right. They’ve paid their dues, stormed a few boys’ clubs, proven their worth, and inspired several generations of young women to pursue careers in film. For this special spread, some of them shared their journeys and challenges, others laid bare their dreams and learnings.
“Don’t ever be apologetic about being female. A lot of us don’t assert ourselves. You don’t have to be aggressive, but it’s fine to be assertive. And it’s fine to lay boundaries,” says Zoya Akhtar, director-writer. Neha Parti Matiyani, cinematographer, says, “Continue studying the profession. Like my boss used to say, ‘The day you stop studying, that’s the end.’”
From directors, writers and lyricists, to cinematographers, film editors, casting directors and composers — here are 14 behind-the-scenes film stars you’ll rarely see on the red carpet.
Photographs: Prarthna Singh
Styling: Divya Gursahani
Hair and Make-Up: Jean-Claude Biguine
Assisted by: Pujarini Ghosh (Styling)