5 women directors who made it big in Kollywood

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Srivatsan

Lately, women directors in Kollywood are making it big. In a male-chauvinistic industry such as Kollywood, women directors have never ceased to amaze the audience with a solid content. While filmmakers like Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar, Gauri Shinde and Kiran Rao have carved a niche for themselves in Bollywood, women taking over the reins of direction is still a norm in Tamil cinema. However, we too have some maverick female filmmakers who left an imperishable mark among the audience.

Despite being a terrific actor, Suhasini Mani Ratnam is a great screenwriter. Suhasini made her directorial debut with Indira, which is probably the most underrated film and was a box-office disaster upon release. However, it received a cult status for its modern theme. The protagonist of the film is a woman who single-handedly strives to overcome the caste system in her village, and one has to give it to Suhasini Maniratnam for having carved an innocent but an impactful character in Indira. Apart from Indira, Suhasini has worked in Mani Ratnam’s Raavanan/ Raavan (2010). According to Mani Ratnam, it was Suhasini who wrote half of the former’s anthology political drama Aayutha Ezhuthu/ Yuva (2004).

Bankrolled by ace-filmmaker Gautham Menon, Veppam narrates a set of events from the slum areas of Chennai, showcasing characters and their struggles. Veppam, on many levels, is an unusual subject which one wouldn’t expect from a woman, especially in this genre (gritty thriller). Veppam had everything to hold the audience’s eyes- romance, drama and violence. However, the film failed to create the impact that of Selvaraghavan’s Pudhupettai (2006) or Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Aaranya Kaandam (2010). Be it the screenplay or the dialogues, Anjana Ali Khan has to be credited for the amount of detailing that went unnoticed.

Lately, women directors in Kollywood are making it big. In a male-chauvinistic industry such as Kollywood, women directors have never ceased to amaze the audience with a solid content. While filmmakers like Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar, Gauri Shinde and Kiran Rao have carved a niche for themselves in Bollywood, women taking over the reins of direction is still a norm in Tamil cinema. However, we too have some maverick female filmmakers who left an imperishable mark among the audience.

Suhasini Mani Ratnam’s Indira (1995)

Despite being a terrific actor, Suhasini Mani Ratnam is a great screenwriter. Suhasini made her directorial debut with Indira, which is probably the most underrated film and was a box-office disaster upon release. However, it received a cult status for its modern theme. The protagonist of the film is a woman who single-handedly strives to overcome the caste system in her village, and one has to give it to Suhasini Maniratnam for having carved an innocent but an impactful character in Indira. Apart from Indira, Suhasini has worked in Mani Ratnam’s Raavanan/ Raavan (2010). According to Mani Ratnam, it was Suhasini who wrote half of the former’s anthology political drama Aayutha Ezhuthu/ Yuva (2004).

Anjana Ali Khan’s Veppam (2011)

Bankrolled by ace-filmmaker Gautham Menon, Veppam narrates a set of events from the slum areas of Chennai, showcasing characters and their struggles. Veppam, on many levels, is an unusual subject which one wouldn’t expect from a woman, especially in this genre (gritty thriller). Veppam had everything to hold the audience’s eyes- romance, drama and violence. However, the film failed to create the impact that of Selvaraghavan’s Pudhupettai (2006) or Thiagarajan Kumararaja’s Aaranya Kaandam (2010). Be it the screenplay or the dialogues, Anjana Ali Khan has to be credited for the amount of detailing that went unnoticed.

Aishwaryaa’s 3 (2011) and Soundarya’s Kochadaiiyaan (2014)

After working as an erstwhile assistant director to Selvaraghavan, Aishwaryaa R ventured into direction. Her first feature film 3, which had her husband Dhanush playing the lead role, opened to mixed reviews from the audience. However, the song ‘Why This Kolaveri Di’ was a rage upon release.

Lately, women directors in Kollywood are making it big. In a male-chauvinistic industry such as Kollywood, women directors have never ceased to amaze the audience with a solid content. While filmmakers like Reema Kagti, Zoya Akhtar, Gauri Shinde and Kiran Rao have carved a niche for themselves in Bollywood, women taking over the reins of direction is still a norm in Tamil cinema. However, we too have some maverick female filmmakers who left an imperishable mark among the audience.

Soundarya too didn’t have a rock solid debut. Despite working with superstar Rajinikanth in Kochadaiiyaan, the film failed to create the Rajini magic at the box office. Now, both Aishwaryaa and Soundarya are working on their respective feature films.

Lakshmy Ramakrishnan’s Aarohanam (2012) and Ammani (2016)

After making her acting debut in the Malayalam industry, Lakshmy Ramakrishnan proved her mettle in director Mysskin’s Yudham Sei (2011). Aarohanam was her first directorial venture which tells the story of Nirmala, the breadwinner of the family who goes missing just two days before her daughter’s wedding. Aarohanam was widely lauded for the director’s treatment of the characters and Viji Chandrasekhar’s performance. Lakshmy Ramakrishnan’s recent film Ammani too opened to rave reviews from the critics.

Sudha Kongara’s Irudhi Suttru/ Saala Khadoos (2016)

Sudha Kongara, who associate director for seven years with Mani Ratnam, made her directorial debut with the Tamil film Drohi (2010). However, it was R Madhavan’s Irudhi Suttru which gave Sudha the much-needed breakthrough in the industry. Irudhi Suttru tells the story of Prabhu Selvaraj (Madhavan), a boxer, is ignored by the boxing association. He tries to accomplish his dream by training Madhi, a fish-seller and an amateur fighter. As the film also marked the return of Madhavan, Irudhi Suttru was an instant hit and the film has now been selected to premiere at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

Also, the list becomes incomplete without Gayathri, whose dark comedy Va Quarter Cutting (2010) has earned a cult among the fans of neo-noir genre.

(Source: http://www.indiatoday.intoday)

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