16 Women Editors In Bollywood Who Set A Benchmark For Others
16 Women Editors In Bollywood Who Set A Benchmark For Others View All Articles
Posted On: 02 Aug 2021 | Last Updated: 10 Dec 2021
Many of us don’t know that Dadasaheb Phalke’s wife Saraswatibai Phalke was Indian cinema’s first-ever woman film editor who edited most of her husband’s films. Often regarded as a thankless job in the past, film-editing has got its due recognition and a skill that can serve as an enriching experience. The role of an editor currently is valued as much as any other member of a film be it in front or behind the camera. The last couple of decades have seen a flurry of women editors in the industry who are exploring new ways of storytelling while quietly contributing immensely towards the process of filmmaking and its success. Despite blatant gender bias and tough competition from all quarters some Indian women editors from Bollywood are among the human capital who have given Indian films the edge. Let’s look at the top Bollywood editors or should we say the top 13 female editors of Bollywood who have set a benchmark for others to follow.
(Note: We haven’t included Bollywood women editors who only have a solo film to their credit.)
1. Renu Saluja
Renu Saluja was probably the first woman editor of Bollywood who gained recognition for editing some of the finest films ever. Sister of actress Radha Saluja, Renu Saluja started quite early by working for mainstream as well as art Hindi cinema directors, including Govind Nihalani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sudhir Mishra, Shekhar Kapoor, etc. Her work comprised editing multiple feature films, documentaries, short films, and TV series. The four-time National Award winner, Renu Saluja’s filmography boasts of films like Ardh Satya (1983), Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983), Parinda (1989), Bandit Queen (1994), 1942: A Love Story (1994), Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994), Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai (1998), Pardes (1997), and Calcutta Mail (2003). She was married to filmmakers Vidhu Vinod Chopra and later to Sudhir Mishra before breathing her last in 2000.
2. Aruna Raje
Writer-editor-director Aruna Raje who studied medicine before changing her mind to join FTII, graduated in 1969 to become one of India's first female film technicians. The multi-talented Aruna initially teamed up with her husband and filmmaker Vikas Desai to make quite a few realistic and critically acclaimed movies like Shaque (1976), Gehrayee (1980), Rihaee (1988), Bhairavi (1996), and Tum: A Dangerous Obsession (2004), which she wrote, edited, and directed competently. Even after separation from her husband the award-winning female director continued to make the brand of female-driven films she is known for.
3. Namrata Rao
Talk about famous female editors in Bollywood or best woman editors in Bollywood, Namrata Rao’s name ranks among the top. She started her career as a graphic designer in NDTV and then joined Satyajit Ray Film and TV Institute to study filmmaking. She soon got her first big break as an independent editor in Dibakar Banerjee’s Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha were not just path-breaking films but set a new benchmark for editing in Hindi cinema. The success of these films was followed by Band Baaja Baaraat (2010), Kahaani (2012), Shanghai (2012), 2 States (2014), Fan (2016), Befikre (2016), and Jayeshbhai Jordaar (2021). She has won the Filmfare award for Best Editing for Kahaani and LSD while the National Film Award for Kahaani in 2012.
4. Aarti Bajaj
Aarti Bajaj is currently one of Bollywood’s top female editors whose filmography speaks of the volume of work she has done since editing her first film Paanch in 2003. Aarti moved to Mumbai from Delhi to pursue her dream of editing films at the age of 21. After initially gaining experience in editing some music videos and advertisements, she got to edit her future husband Anurag Kashyap’s controversial film Paanch. Her work in Paanch was noticed while she got to edit films like Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007), Jab We Met (2007), Dev.D (2009), Love Aaj Kal (2009), Karthik Calling Karthik (2010), Rockstar (2011), Tamasha (2015), Harry Met Sejal (2017) and Manmarziyaan (2018).
5. Bela Segal
Sister of filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bela Segal’s work is restricted to editing only her brothers’ films. Bela who is married to Bollywood producer and editor Deepak Segal has edited some of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s finest films like Khamoshi: The Musical (1996), Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Devdas (2002), Black (2005) and Saawariya (2007), etc. She has also edited and directed the romantic-comedy Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (2012) which starred Boman Irani and Farah Khan.
6. Deepa Bhatia
Deepa Bhatia is rated among the top women editors in Bollywood who is also a well-known producer. An editor par excellence, she believes that editing is making something the best it can be…a skill which is more than just cutting and pasting. Married to filmmaker Amol Gupte, Deepa made her editorial debut in Govind Nihalani's Jaya Bachchan starrer Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa in 1998. She then went on to edit biggies like Thakshak (1999), Taare Zameen Par (2007), Rock On!! (2008), My Name Is Khan (2010), Student of the Year (2012), Kai Po Che (2013), Raees (2017), Kedarnath (2018), and Saina (2021). She has produced the critically acclaimed Stanley Ka Dabba (2011), Hawaa Hawaai (2014), Sniff (2017), etc.
7. Shweta Venkat Mathew
Married to ad-filmmaker and director Vinil Mathew, Shweta Venkat Mathew is another Indian editor who has come up the ranks to establish herself as one of Bollywood’s leading film editors. Shweta started her career by editing a few documentaries before going on to edit Anurag Kashyap’s Kalki Koechlin starrer That Girl in Yellow Boots (2010), and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). Though most of Anurag’s films were edited by his ex-wife Aarti Bajaj but That Girl in Yellow Boots was enough to impress the filmmaker. Shweta then went on to edit popular films like Hasee Toh Phasee (2014), Newton (2017), Meri Pyaari Bindu (2017), Hichki (2018), Veere Di Wedding (2018), Kalank (2019), Judgementall Hai Kya (2019), Haseen Dillruba (2021), etc.
Shweta Venkat Mathew
8. Antara Lahiri
In a short span of a decade or so Antara Lahiri has gone on to establish herself as one of Bollywood’s most favourite and competent film-editors who has not just proved her mettle in films but also OTT, short movies, and documentaries. Her big-break came in the form of writer-director Abbas Tyrewala’s John Abraham starrer Jhootha Hi Sahi which she edited in 2010. It took her some while before she got noticed and was given Yashraj’s Ayushmann Khurrana – Sonam Kapoor starrer Bewakoofiyaan to edit in 2014. Since then, there’s been no looking back for her as she went on to edit films like Junooniyat (2016), Simran (2017), Bombairiya (2019), Shakuntala Devi: Human Computer (2020), Bhangra Paa Le (2020), etc.
9. Dipika Kalra
Dipika Kalra is another female editor in Bollywood who has made the cut despite tough competition from her male and women compatriots. She made her debut by editing director Vikramaditya Motwane’s critically acclaimed Udaan in 2010, which was applauded by one and all for bringing across the emotions a young boy goes through as a teenager. Dipika later went on to edit films like My Friend Pinto (2011), Lootera (2013), Roy (2015), Kaun Kitney Paani Mein (2015), Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi (2021), Sherni (2021), etc.
10. Yasha Ramchandani
Counted among Bollywood’s top women editors, Yasha Ramchandani has come a long way since debuting as an assistant editor for the film Go Goa Gone in 2013. The success of Go Goa Gone got her working on films like Gippi, Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 and Udta Punjab in 2016. An alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India, Pune where she studied editing while her student diploma film, 'Kaun Kamleshwar?' won her the Satyajit Ray Foundation's Best Short Film award at the London International Film Festival in 2013. Since editing several web series and ads, her first big break as an independent editor was Anubhav Sinha’s critically acclaimed film Article 15 in 2019 and Thappad in 2020. Article 15 got her a Filmfare nomination for Best Editing while Thappad (2020) got her the Filmfare Award for Best Editing in 2021. Her other works include Abhishek Bachchan starrer Bob Biswas, Anubhav Sinha’s Anek and Aranyak.
11. Shruti Bora
Shruti Bora is one woman editor to watch out for in the future. Though she started off as an assistant editor for films like Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! (2015), Fan (2016), and Kahaani 2 (2016), etc., she went independent with the 2016 anthology film Shor Se Shuruaat in 2016. Though she also worked as an editor on Kunal Khemu starrer Lootcase (2020), she is set to take up more independent work to prove her mettle.
12. Prerna Saigal
A native of Delhi and an FTII pass out, Prerna Saigal had all that it takes to become a competent film editor. After working as an editor and an assistant editor on a host of documentaries in various languages, she worked as a script supervisor and production coordinator for movies Victory and The Lunchbox, respectively. Her big break came as an independent editor when she got to work on Vasan Bala’s Peddlers which was followed by Tigers (2014), Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet, and Vasan Bala’s Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota (2018). She has also worked as an editor for OTT’s Afsos (2020), Pagglait (2021), and Ray (Spotlight episode - 2021).
13. Meghna Manchanda Sen
Meghna Manchanda Sen is one of the prominent women editors in Hindi film industry who has worked with some of the top directors like Vishal Bhardwaj, Habib Faisal, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Abhishek Chaubey. She started her Bollywood career by editing Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara in 2006 which was her first big break. This was followed by biggies like Kaminey (2009), Prague (2013), Udta Punjab (2016), Sharafat Gayi Tel Lene (2015), Sonchiriya (2019), and Toofaan (2021).
Meghna Manchanda Sen
14. Pooja Ladha Surti
The multi-talented Pooja Ladha Surti is known for etching out some interesting storylines and characters on-screen who are mostly dark in nature. Often described as a jovial and a fun-loving person, Pooja besides being one of the most noted Bollywood female screenwriters and editors has done some exceptional work, be it Tabu in Andhadhun, or the powerfully diabolic Urmila Matondkar in Ek Hasina Thi. Pooja started her career by writing for films like Ek Hasina Thi and Naach in 2004 while debuted as an editor for Sriram Raghavan's crime thriller Johnny Gaddaar in 2007. This was followed by editing films like Ragini MMS and Agent Vinod after which she wrote and edited films like Phobia, Badlapur, Andhadhun, and Bhoot Police and the mini-series Flesh starring Swara Bhaskar and Akshay Oberoi in 2020.
Pooja Ladha Surti
15. P.S. Bharathi
Another prominent award-winning Bollywood female editor is P.S. Bharathi who is also a producer and casting director and wife of filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. She has primarily edited most of her husband’s films which are Aks, Rang De Basanti, Delhi-6, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and Mirzya. She has won the Filmfare Award, National Award as well as IIFA Award for ‘Best Editor’ for Rang De Basanti in 2007. She has also produced films like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Mirzya, Fanney Khan, Mere Pyare Prime Minister, etc.
16. Monisha R. Baldawa
Monisha R. Baldawa has become one of Indian cinema’s top woman editors in a short span of time. She is an alumnus of FTII, Pune (2004-07) where she specialized in Film Editing and thereafter assisted renowned editor Sreekar Prasad before dabbling in ad films and art installations. She got her first Bollywood break in Shonali Bose’s critically acclaimed movie Margarita With A Straw in 2015. And, thereafter edited popular movies like Neerja (2016), Mom (2017), Dhadak (2018), Fanney Khan (2018), Badla (2019), Mardaani 2 (2019), Dhamaka (2021), etc. Ram Madhvani’s Neerja helped her bag her Filmfare award for Best Editing in 2017.
Monisha R. Baldawa