5 movies that have inspired director Nisha Ganatra

Known for the priceless comedy, Late Night, starring Mindy Kaling, and the TV show, Transparent, for which she won a Golden Globe, Nisha Ganatra has long campaigned for equality and diversity in the entertainment industry. Outspoken and fierce, her work truly embodies what she believes in.

We asked Nisha to list five movies that have inspired her and here’s what she said:

Women On The Verge of a Nervous Breakdown by Pedro Almodóvar

This is the movie that made me want to become a filmmaker. I had never seen anything like it. The characters. The story. The colours. The camera angles. It was all so original and so moving while also being so fiercely funny.


Eat Drink Man Woman by Ang Lee 

Another person who made me want to make movies is Ang Lee. This film really showed me that you can tell a story in any language and in any culture and as long as you are true to the details. The more specific you are, the more universal the story will be. The dynamics between the sisters was so specific and the performances blew me away.

The Lunch Box by Ritesh Batra 

This film really surprised me in how seemingly simple and effective it is. I say ‘seemingly’ because what the movie does is no small feat and takes such skill to pull off. The movie does such a good job with balancing clever situations with honest reactions from the characters. It made me think about what one little thing can do to change your life.

Winter’s Bone by Debra Granik 

Debra is one of the best filmmakers working today. I find her choices and her work incredibly inspiring.  I love how this movie makes me really feel the world of her story. The struggle, the desperation, even the cold pulls you into the world and doesn’t let you go. Her collaboration with her long-time cinematographer is one of the best partnerships and you can really feel that in this film.

Slums of Beverly Hills by Tamara Jenkins 

This movie resonates with me because of how specific the challenges the characters face, but it feels very universal in how we all come of age in our own ways. Tamara shows us all how to tell a family comedy that is both moving, sad and hilarious all at once. Her work made me want to go to NYU film school – and I’m so thankful I did.

Photographs: Courtesy of Nisha Ganatra 

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