Rebeka, the first female film director in Bangladesh, directed Bindu Theke Britto (1970). Later, Jahanara Bhuyian directed Shidur Jabe Na Muche.
Besides them, many other female directors, most of whom were actresses, have directed movies. Rozi Afsari, Sujata, Shuchanda, Kabari, Moushumi and Samia Zaman are some of them. Meanwhile, directors like Nargis Akhter, Shamim Akhter and Fouzia Khan were not actresses.
Female directors have significant contribution in enriching Bangladeshi film industry, presenting different types of movies to film lovers. However, it is sad but true that even though women are successful as directors they are not regular in filmmaking.
With her maiden film Meghla Akash (2001), which brought her the award of the best scriptwriter in the national film award, Nargis Akhter has directed eight films in the last 10 years. She thinks film producers are the main problem. She said she produced three of the eight films she directed.
"Producers do not rely on female directors, but without any valid reason. It is all about attitude as a female director goes about a production the same way a male director does," she said.
Echoing Nargis Akhter, director Shamim Akhter also mentioned the absence of interested producers. She said two types of people come to the film industry: one group comes out of curiosity and interest while the other comes through film society movement. Both groups want to direct films, however, both groups become frustrated when they do not get the support from the producers. No director can survive in the industry if he/she is not financially self-dependent.
Regarding the producers' reluctance to back female directors, producers' association president Khorshed Alam Khosru said, "The main problem is the slump in film business which affects both male and female directors. If the business was profitable, female directors could have made films regularly."
However, amid the recession in the film industry, many female directors such as Catherine Masud, Meher Afroz Shawon, Rubaiyat Hossain, Shahnewaj Kakoli, Rowshon Ara Nipa, Jesmin Akhter Nodi, Tania Ahmed, Choyonika Chowdhury, and Maria Tushar have been working regularly with a hope that good days will return to the film industry.