Profiles of the Life and Work of Ten Women In Indian Film

Profiles of the Life and Work of Ten Women In Indian Film

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Item Code: IHG013
Author: Various Artists
Publisher: Zubaan Publications
ISBN: 9788189884673
Pages: 326
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 7.4” X 3.6”
From the Book

The women: Zeenat Aman, Jaya Bachchan, Aarti Bajaj, Saira Banu, Madhuri Dixit, Farah Khan, Mumtaz, Nutan, Smita Patil, Aparna Sen

The writers: Kaveree Bamzai, Rajashri Dasgupta, Charu Gargi, Udita Jhunjhunwala, Namrata Joshi, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Nandini Ramnath

Saira Banu One of the first star daughters in Mumbai films, Saira Banu was the role model for a series of westernized beauty queens who made Bollywood their home in the 1970s. India Today Executive Editor Kaveree Bamzai looks at this winsome beauty and her enduring impact on Indian cinema.

Mumtaz Outlook film critic and journalist, Namrata Joshi, looks at the life of the lively and sparkling Mumtaz, an outsider to films whose early years of struggle were well behind her as she rose to the very top of the Bollywood ladder. An unsung heroine of the Hindi screen, Mumtaz has a fascinating story that proves acting talent, sex appeal and sheer grit is what it takes to win the hearts of audiences.

Smita Patil Nandini Ramnath, film editor at TimeOut (Mumbai), gives an overview of Smita Patil, the actress and the person. In her short career, from 1974 to 1989, Smita Patil made a deep and lasting impression through her powerhouse and emotionally-charged performances in many movies now considered key films of the 1970s, including Bhumika and Arth.

Nutan Outlook film critic and journalist, Namrata Joshi, traces the life and times of one of Indian cinema’s finest actresses, Nutan. Straddling very different eras in Hindi cinema, Nutan brought an equal elegance and unrivalled charm to the screen no matter what role she played. Her performance in Bimal Roy’s Bandini remains in a class apart.

Jaya Bachchan Film writer Udita Jhunjhunwala looks at the life and work of Jaya Bachchan, whose four decade-long career was shaped by filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Gulzar, Ramesh Sippy and Govind Nihalani. Jaya Bachchan broke the mould of the stereotypical heroine in Hindi cinema and shone in classic movies including Guddi, Koshish, Abhimaan and Sholay.

Madhuri Dixit No one in commercial Hindi cinema since Madhuri Dixit has been able to equal her phenomenal success or her unquestionable talent. India Today Executive Editor Kaveree Bamzai goes behind the dazzling smile and the fantastic footwork to see what makes the actress such an adored star for three generations of film fans.

Aparna Sen Writer Rajashri Dasgupta explores the way in which actress and celebrated filmmaker Aparna Sen works in front of and behind the camera. One of the first women directors to make her mark in cinema, Aparna Sen has gone from strength to strength since her first film, 36 Chowringhee Lane as she explores new and different ways of story-telling.

Farah Khan Author/documentary filmmaker Nasreen Munni Kabir first met Farah Khan in 1999. Since then, the hugely talented choreographer has moved from choreography to film direction. She is today the only female director whose success rivals the best in the boys’ club. This portrait charts her career as well as offering a rare glimpse into her early personal life. Farah Khan’s liveliness, humour and deep love of cinema jumps off the page.

Zeenat Aman Film writer Udita Jhunjhunwala gives us an insight into the life and times of Zeenat Aman who, from her first film Hare Rama Hare Krishna, helped to change the image of the Hindi screen heroine. Starting her career as a beauty queen, Zeenat Aman redefined the Indian woman in Hindi films, blending individuality and sophistication with modern values, western sensibilities and stylish confidence.

Aarti Bajaj Writer Charu Gargi gives us a fascinating insight into how young and talented film editor, Aarti Bajaj, has entered the Indian film industry and the challenges she has faced. Film editors are key contributors in making a movie exciting and thoughtful and examining the way in which Aarti Bajaj edits gives us an insight into this hugely important area of film making.


The last few years have seen a wealth of writing on Indian cinema but thus far, there has been little new writing on women in film. Continuing discussions between the editors at Zubaan, a publishing house the forefront of women’s publishing both in India and internationally, led to the publication of this set of ten compact books - or monographs - whose ambition is high, despite their small size. Each monograph provides well-researched, concise information, and in doing so, sheds new light on the work of ten women who have helped to fuel new energy and ideas into Indian moviemaking.

The writers in this series, Kaveree Bamzai, Rajashri Dasgupta, Charu Gargi, Udita Jhujhunwala, Namrata Joshi and Nandini Ramnath - have been writing on film for many years. They are passionate about the subject and have chosen women whose work has set them apart. Women in Film aims to steer away from the “usual suspects” - and presents an unpredictable selection grown not out of a need to be Representative, but rather out of personal interest and choice - and a curiosity to know more.

Discovering how personal lives inform professional lives, the texts give the reader a glimpse into the world in which Zeenat Aman, Jaya Bachchan, Aarti Bajaj, Saira Banu, Madhuri Dixit, Farah Khan, Mumtaz, Nutan, Smita Patil and Aparna Sen have played and continue to play, an active and significant role.

Women in Film is the first in a series of monographs that Zubaan aims to publish in the near future, focusing on women in the arts. Subsequent series will feature women in literature, photography, music and dance.

I would like to thank Uzma Mohsin for her arresting and elegant design. Our thanks to Peter Chapell, Rustam Joseph, Jochen Manz, Gautam Rajadhyaksha, the late Mehboob Alam, S. Mukerji Productions, Zahir Khan and Kewal Suri who have been so generous in allowing us to use their stunning photographs. Many thanks to Urvashi Butalia, the Zubaan team, Justin Chubb, Lesley Mason and above all, to the writers, who have made this a series that re-evaluates the work of women in film.

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