Female Directors in Tamil Cinema: 11 Women Pioneering Direction in Kollywood

Female Directors in Tamil Cinema: Fans of Tamil cinema miss out on the chance to see more female-led stories because of the gender gap in the industry’s top directors. But powerful women who have broken into this traditionally male-dominated field are uncommon.

Despite overwhelming odds, these ladies have shared their stories. Movies in Tamil have progressed from just entertaining to  featuring female-centric major leads, and the business has provided many possibilities to women. There are many women in the industry whose names have grown thanks to their labor, and it’s not only in film roles.

Here are a handful of influential female Kollywood filmmakers. Presented here are a few of the female directors from K’town.

Female Directors in Tamil Cinema

1. Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi 

Vanakkam Chennai, a love comedy released in 2003, was Kiruthiga’s first feature film directing. In addition to Santhanam and a slew of supporting actors, the film’s main stars were Shiva and Priya Anand. Red Giant Movies was headed by Kiruthiga’s spouse, Udhayanidhi Stalin, who produced the film. 

Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi _

Thanks in large part to the smash hits performed by Anirudh Ravichander, the film was a financial triumph. In subsequent years, Kiruthiga directed the 2018 film Kaali as well as the music video Sathayai Meeri.

2. Sudha Kongara 

After studying under Mani Ratnam, Sudha Kongara came into her own as a director.  In her first feature film as director, 2010’s Dhrogi, she cast Shamna Kasim (also known as Poorna) and Vishnu Vishal. The picture was a commercial bust and received little critical acclaim.

Sudha Kongara 

After a six-year hiatus from the film industry, Sudha made a triumphant return with the 2016 sports drama Irrudhui Suttru. Ritika Singh, a real-life boxer, played the lead role opposite Madhavan in the film. Sudha was included in the list of prospective filmmakers after it became a huge success. She went on to helm an episode of the Netflix anthology Paava Kadhaigal and co-star with Suriya in Soorarai Pottru (2020).

3. Haleetha Shameem 

While Haleetha Shameem’s first feature film, Poovarsam Peepee (2014), bombed at the box office, her 2019 Netflix anthology Sillu Karrupatti, won over audiences. Tamil cinema’s accomplished female director— Haleetha Shameem.

Haleetha Shameem 

During her time in the film industry, Haleetha worked with renowned filmmakers Pushkar-Gayatri and Mysskin. Her third feature, Aelay (2021), premiered on television and was eventually made available on major over-the-top services.

4. Gayatri Manikandan 

As a husband-and-wife duo, Pushkar and Gayatri Manikandan have directed several films. The 2007 film Oram Po was the first feature film directed by Pushkar-Gayatri. It starred Arya and Pooja.

Shiva played the lead role in their second feature film, Va-Quarter Cutting (2010). At the box office, neither of the movies did very well.

Gayathri Manikandani

Nevertheless, their 2017 third feature, Vikram Vedha, was a commercial success and a game-changer. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi were the film’s main stars, but the ensemble cast also included Shraddha Srinath, Kadhir, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, and many more.  

5. Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth

Directed by Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth, the film starring Dhanush was her first feature film. That same year, she was also up for best debut director at the Oscars. Box office receipts were good for the film. After that, she shot several music videos.

Aishwaryaa Rajinikanthl-

Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth is making a triumphant return to filmmaking after a ten-year hiatus, even though she has only directed one feature film.

6. Suhasini

Even though she is married to legendary filmmaker Mani Ratnam, Suhasini is most known for her acting career, which has garnered her numerous accolades, including the National Award, for her role  in the film Sindhu Bairavi. Indira, in which Suhasini took the helm, follows a female protagonist as she fights for peace in her town. Tamil Nadu State Jury Award went to the picture.   


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7. TP Rajalakshmi

One of the major trailblazers in Tamil cinema is TP Rajalakshmi. When she broke into the Tamil and Telugu film industries, she was the first female actor. On a later occasion, she made history by becoming the first Southern woman to hold the positions of director and producer. She was the director of the 1936 film Miss Kamala and the 1939 film Madurai Veeran. 

TP Rajalakshmi

In addition to her work in film, the icon was an outspoken advocate for other social concerns, including women’s emancipation and the end of the Sati system, among many others. As a result of her activities, the British authorities had repeatedly detained her.   

8. V Priya

Commercially successful films such as Kanda Naal Mudhal and Kannamoochi Yenada were directed by V Priya, who had previously worked as Mani Ratnam’s assistant. She went on to contribute to the documentary Herova? Zerova?

V Priya

9. JS Nandhini

The film Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru, which featured Ajmal and Manjari, is well-recognized as being directed by JS Nandhini. The comedy-drama had a respectable opening night.

JS Nandhini

10. Madhumitha

The 2008 Tamil Nadu State Award for Best Family Film was given to Madhumitha’s film Vallamai Tharayo. The film’s protagonist, Parthiban, was married off against her will to a strong-willed woman named Chaya Singh. After that, she went on to direct films such as Moone Moonu Varthai and Kola Kolaya Mundhirika.  


11. Soundarya Rajinikanth

Kochadaiiyaan, the first motion capture film in India, was directed by Soundarya Rajinikanth. The principal part in Kochadaiiyaan was played by her father, Rajinikanth. Then, after a short hiatus, she directed Dhanush in her second feature film, Velaiilla Pattadhari 2. 

Soundarya Rajinikanth

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