It is said that a bassist in a band is often the most underappreciated member. Everyone in the group depends on the bassist’s leads and s/he, more or less, forms the spine of the song. Just like the bassist in a band, the editor of a film is an integral albeit underappreciated component.
The tone of the scene, the pace of the film, the rhythm of the cuts are all determined by the editor which finally contribute to how a film is perceived. It is infamous for being one of the most taxing and mentally gruelling jobs in the process of making a film because it is a technical process as well as an intuitive art.
In an industry where editors are underappreciated, being a woman for the job makes it twice as hard and yet there are a few women editors who have still shone. The following is a shoutout to the women editors in the industry for creating magic on the edit table:
1. Renu Saluja
Renu Saluja was the pioneer for women in film editing in India. As a Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) graduate, she has everything under her repertoire – feature films, documentaries, television works and independent cinema.
Her initial work in Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Sazaaye Maut was done with her FTII colleagues which included Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Ashok Ahuja, Kundan Shah and Saeed Mirza. She later graduated to other filmmakers and edited films like Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa and Ardh Satya. Her most critically acclaimed edit has been on Vidhu Chopra’s Parinda which was shot and edited over a span of three years. Her last edit was on the film Calcutta Mail in 2003.
2. Beena Paul
Beena Paul’s editing work is most popular in Malayalam cinema. After securing a degree in Psychology from Delhi, she visited FTII in Pune and obtained a diploma in Film Editing.
Paul began her career with editing G. Aravindan’s documentary – The Seeker Who Walks Alone and has since then edited over 50 documentaries and feature films. She has three National Awards and 3 Kerala State Film Awards to her name.
However, one of her most notable National Award wins has been for her work with the director Revathi and an all-women crew for Mitr-My Friend. Her other occupational feats include being the Deputy Director of Kerala State Chalachitra Academy and being the Senior Editor at the Centre for Development of Imaging Technology.
3. Deepa Bhatia
Deepa Bhatia is a Film Editor from Bombay who initially assisted directors before she ventured into post-production. Bhatia has edited critically acclaimed films like Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Stanley Ka Dabba, Bombay Talkies and Sachin: A Billion Dreams.
Over her 20-year career, which began in 1998, her editing work on Kai Po Che and Rock On!! has been one of her most noteworthy projects and has bagged her awards like the Star Screen Awards. She is currently aiming to venture back into film direction.
4. Namrata Rao
Rao who has had a relatively young career in the films began her editing expeditions with the film Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! in 2008. The former student in IT applied to an editing course on a whim and says “it all just happened like destiny had chosen it“.
Since then she has transitioned into bigger and more commercial works like Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Band Baaja Baarat too. However, Rao’s expertise lies in building suspense and grabbing the audience’s attention as seen in her editing works of Kahaani and Detective Byomkesh Bakshi. Both the films have been her most reputed works and her edit on Kahaani has also secured her a National Award and a Filmfare for Best Editing.
5. Aarti Bajaj
Bajaj began her career in film by working with and editing Anurag Kashyap’s Paanch. She then followed this up with the controversial albeit critically acclaimed Black Friday. She went on to bag the Star Screen Award for her edit of the film in 2008.
Later on, she worked on Honeymoon Travels directed by Reema Kagti, Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met and Aamir by Raj Kumar Gupta for which she received her second Star Screen Award nomination. Her camaraderie with Anurag Kashyap continues as her current works include DevD, Raman Raghav 2.0 and Mukkabaz.
This by no means claims to be an exhaustive or representative list. Suggestions to add to this list are welcome in the comments section.