Madhureeta Anand

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Madhureeta Anand
Self-portrait photograph
Occupation(s)Film director, producer, screenwriter
Years active1995–present

Madhureeta Anand is an Indian independent film director, writer and producer. She has directed two feature films, written five feature films, directed many documentary films and series, spanning an array of genres. Many of her films have won national and international awards. She writes for various websites and magazines and has been featured in various books and other publications. She is also an activist for women's rights and rights of other minorities. She has consistently used her films and influence to support the causes of ending violence against women and children.[citation needed]


Madhureeta Anand is an accomplished filmmaker with a diverse portfolio. Her directorial record comprises two narrative feature films and she has authored eight narrative features. Her repertoire extends to encompass numerous documentary films and series spanning various genres. Her cinematic works have garnered both national and international accolades for many of her creations. Her journey into filmmaking commenced with her studies at the Mass Communications Research Centre at Jamia, after which she embarked on a prolific career in the field.

Beyond her contributions to the film industry, Madhureeta is an adept writer, lending her voice to an array of websites and magazines. Her expertise has also been acknowledged in various literary works and publications.

Apart from her cinematic endeavours, she is also an advocate for the rights of women and children. She recently launched a global mobile application titled "Phree For Safety," dedicated to women's safety.

Madhureeta Anand garnered considerable acclaim for her work on "Kajarya," a film that she both wrote and directed. The Hollywood Reporter hailed her storytelling prowess: “Kajarya is both disturbing and engrossing as it plunges the viewer into the heart of darkness in an Indian village. Director Madhureeta Anand is a storyteller who interweaves the lives of two women -- one modern, the other ancient."

Eve Ensler, an eminent writer and activist, lauded "Kajarya" as a potent and evocative force that urges society to confront the disturbing practice of patriarchal violence against female infants. She said “Kajarya is a fierce, disturbing, lyrical and illuminating tour de force....It is a brave and important film and should be seen by all."

"Kajarya" celebrated a successful theatrical launch in India on December 4, 2015. Its premiere took place at the Dubai International Film Festival, while its Swiss debut was marked by participation in The International Human Rights Film Festival in Geneva. The film's journey continued with selections in prominent festivals like The Montreal World Film Festival and Eless Tournet Brussels. Forbes India Magazine deemed "Kajarya" was one of the top five films to watch in 2014. Notably, the film won the Best Foreign Film Award at The Silk Route Film Festival in China. Currently, the film is on Amazon Prime.

Madhureeta Anand's first commercial full-length feature film "Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye," was released on February 6, 2009 and was produced by PVR Pictures. The film was available on Amazon Prime and is still garnering rave reviews on YouTube.

Her filmography also includes noteworthy documentary works like "Laying Janaki to Rest" (2007), a film centred on the Goddess Sita, and "The Magic Tent" (2007), a collaborative writing and production venture. She won the Silver Conch at the Mumbai International Film Festival in 2006 for her short film "Walking on a Moonbeam." In the documentary domain, "Education – A Reality or a Myth" (2002) earned a nomination at the Zanzibar International Film Festival, receiving special screenings for luminaries like Winnie and Nelson Mandela. The film's impact was instrumental in the enactment of legislation establishing education as a right in India. Her notable involvement includes being the sole female camera director amidst a crew of directors for Channel 4(UK)'s acclaimed series "The Greatest Show on Earth – The Kumbh Mela" (2001). Her contributions were recognized with the Royal Television Society Craft Award.

Presently, Madhureeta Anand is directing a 90-minute documentary titled "Hear Us," centred around the endeavours of two American children in search of solutions. This project is undertaken in collaboration with Twin Moon LLC, a US-based company.

Simultaneously, she is casting her third feature film, tentatively named "O Mere Piya," which promises to be an unconventional love story.

Madhureeta is also developing a series based on the influential book "Autobiography Of A Yogi," a collaborative venture involving several international partners. Furthermore, her fourth feature film, "Decorate The Earth," stands as a collaborative effort between India and the United States.

Her debut novel “Krishna Circus” is due to hit bookstores early next year. It is a novel about a female superhero who traverses time to save the Earth.



Kajarya is a feature film that has been making waves internationally and deals with the pertinent topic of sex selection in India. It is a thriller that pans across the city and village tells the story of two women one an opportunistic journalist from New Delhi and the other a woman from the villager who is entrusted with the job of killing new born girls.

The film released in India on 4 December 2015 to rave reviews and a good audience reception.[citation needed]

Here's what Eve Ensler (writer of The Vagina Monologues) said after seeing the film:

"Kajarya is a fierce, disturbing, lyrical and illuminating tour de force imploring us to face the patriarchal murdering of thousands of our girl babies and how structural and traditional oppression, destroys women, turning them against their own souls. It is a brave and important film and should be seen by all."

The Hollywood Reporter review said:

"Kajarya is both disturbing and engrossing as it plunges the viewer into the heart of darkness in an Indian village…Director Madhureeta Anand is a storyteller who interweaves the lives of two women -- one modern, the other ancient ..."

Kajarya was chosen as one of the top five films to see in 2014 by Forbes India Magazine and was described as:

"An assured second feature, and a strong, original voice about female foeticide in India, the film questions notions of women's emancipation, and explores how India lives in many centuries at the same time."[1]

The film premiered at The Dubai International Film Festival as one of the 3 films that had its world premier there. The Film's Europe Premier took place in Geneva at The International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights where Kajarya was one of the 8 films in competition. The film was the opening film at Elles Tournet in Brussels, a prestigious women's film festival. In addition, the film was selected at The Montreal World Film Festival. Kajarya also won the "Best Foreign Film Award" at The Silk Road Film Festival in Xian, China. The festival had 140 films and Kajarya was the only Indian film to win an award. The film has since traveled to 10 other film festivals in America and Europe. Kajarya was screened in Los Angeles at both The Lady Film Festival and The LA Femme Film Festival.

The film is co-produced by Bengali director Qaushiq Mukherjee popularly known as Q, Starfire movies and Madhureeta Anand's company Ekaa Films. The film's music has been scored by Richard Horowitz, who is a Golden Globe winner and an Academy Award nominee and has worked with directors like Bernardo Bertolucci, Luc Besson and Oliver Stone.

Several film critics have also seen it and lauded it for its excellent filmmaking. At a private screening in Los Angeles, several members of the American film industry also appreciated the film.[citation needed]

The film trailer launched in New Delhi, Jantar Mantar[2] and Madhureeta chose this place because Jantar Mantar where all social movements have been launched.[3]

Madhureeta Anand had started her career making documentaries. Later she went on and worked for various television shows where she soon realized that Television was not for her. She then formed her own company and started producing and directing documentaries, short films and then feature films.

Documentaries and Short films[edit]

Most of her work has explored the areas of culture, religion and anthropology. Some of her films have looked at issues of education and child abuse in India. Her films have been telecast on international channels such as BBC, Channel 4, Discovery and National Geographic. These films also won her several national and international awards.[citation needed]

The 0110 International Digital Film Festival[edit]

She is also the founder and festival director of the first Digital Film Festival in India – The 0110 International Digital Film Festival. The festival, started as collaboration with the British Council, Fame Cinemas and PVR Pictures, has well known filmmakers and actors on its jury.[citation needed]

Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye[edit]

In 2007 she embarked on her first commercial feature film "Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye" (The one she dreamt of). The film written, directed and executive produced by Madhureeta Anand in collaboration with PVR Pictures, and starred Raima Sen, Arbaaz Khan and Randeep Hooda. The film released on 6 February 2009.

Recurring themes[edit]

Most of Madhureeta's films tend to have strong female characters in the narrative. Her strong sense of gender politics comes through in her stories. All the films directed by her have been written by her and tend to use an active, engaging narrative to go much deeper. Her films, typically take the audience into a world that women inhabit making storytelling both unique and incisive.[citation needed]

Future projects[edit]

She is currently working on a feature-length documentary on the "Naga Sadhvis" for the European theatrical network with Austria based production company Navigator Films.

Her next feature film is titled Kotha No 22 (Brothel No 22), and is a thriller set in a brothel. Madhureeta will begin shooting the film in November 2014.

Early life and education[edit]

Madhureeta Anand was born in New Delhi. Her father was an army officer and her mother a Kathak dancer who worked in television as a producer. Her father Col. V.K Pachauri was posted to various cities like Delhi, Pune and Udhampur. After her father died she moved with her mother Sarita and elder sister Mandakini to New Delhi and studied at The Modern School, Barakhamba Road for four years. She was 11 years old when her mother remarried Maj. V.K. Anand. She then took her step father's surname and went from being Madhureeta Pachauri to Madhureeta Anand. At age 11 she went to boarding school at The Lawrence School, Sanawar. She says, "It was a fortunate event that I ended up in a school that I loved and found friends that have become family. The school really shaped who I am". After school she studied sociology at Delhi University but hardly spent any time in the classroom. Most of her years in college were spent volunteering at The Spastics Society and in the villages of Orissa where she spent time with activists working to protect the rights of the villagers. During this time she also learnt German, photography and did a course in International Relations. After her graduation she went to film school at the Jamia Milia Islamia University where she learnt the ropes of film making.[citation needed]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • She was a Jury member of the Indian Panorama of the 47 International Film Festival of India, 2016.
  • She is one of the fifteen women leaders from India listed in a book and exhibition titled "The Poetry Of Purpose" that will travel to several cities in India and the United States.
  • She won the Karamveer award for her work on social issues through films in March 2015
  • Her film Walking on a Moonbeam won the Silver Conch at the Mumbai International Film Festival in 2006 [4][5]
  • Her documentary Education – A reality or a myth was nominated at the Zanzibar International Film Festival in 2002.
  • Her film titled Sin was nominated in the Short Film section at The Damah Film Festival at Seattle (USA) in 2002.[6][7]
  • She was the only woman camera director on a crew of directors on Channel 4 (UK)'s award-winning series, The Greatest Show on Earth – The Kumbh Mela (2001).[8] She won the Royal Television Society Craft Award for it.
  • Her documentary feature on the Kumbh Mela- In Search of Salvation for the German Telecast Footprint (Austria/Switzerland/Germany) fetched her award for Excellence in Film Making at the Damah Film Festival at Seattle, USA in 2001.[9][10] It was nominated at the Commonwealth Film Festival (Manchester, England) in 2002.


Madhureeta Anand has written 9 screenplays both in English and Hindi languages – Kajarya, Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye (Hindi), O Mere Piya (Hindi), Decorate The Earth, Krishna Circus, Maharani, Kotha No 22 (Hindi), Sultana Daku and No Authority. She has been featured in “Poetry Of Purpose” a book that featured women achievers who made a social impact with their work.[11]

Madhureeta had a column for India Today's online news portal Daily O where she regularly contributed for two years.

She was also a part of “Search of Sita” (edited by Namita Gokhale and Malashri Lall), an anthology of essays about the Goddess Sita. Her interview about her experience of making a film on Sita was featured as a part of this book.[12]

Madhureeta Anand is one of the authors of a compilation of essays about Radha, the consort of the Indian deity Krishna, in the book “Finding Radha” (edited by Namita Gokhale and Malashri Lall).[13]


Madhureeta Anand has consistently used her influence and films to advocate causes related to gender, sexuality and child rights. Her film Kajarya collaborated with 21 NGOs in India and abroad including Eve Ensler's - One Billion Rising. The film has become a tool for activism and to provoke discussion. The film is being screened across India's villages and small towns by the partner NGOs. The film is slated to be screened in the Parliament. Kajarya is now being quoted as an example of the coming together of social causes and entertainment. She frequently writes columns and articles voicing her views on these subjects. She has formed "The Two Way Street Trust" to bridge the gap between social issues and entertainment.[citation needed]

Madhureeta has launched her Digital Channel, ma films (Madhureeta Anand Films), along with Culture Machine to create a space for the confluence of films and social issues. The channel is a destination for films that either have a social message or can be tools for social activism. Each of these films will be surrounded by a campaign to help to bring to light the issues being addressed by the films. The Channel launched on 27 July 2016.

She is also launching an app called "Phree" for the safety of women. The app is due to be launched in August 2016.[needs update][citation needed]

Madhureeta has a column "The Big M" on India Today's website DailyO.[14]

She has launched with ActionAid India - "Two Way Street" an initiative to catalyse media for social change. Two Way Street's key goals are to facilitate accurate representation of communities, social causes and issues through the media. And act as an advisory body to provide non-binding recommendations to stakeholders engaged with media. She has set up a project in East Delhi's Mandaveli area with SMS - an NGO working in the area of gender. The project is aimed at working with the men of the area to make it a safer place. The activities range from using drama and music to help men express themselves and holding workshops with the men of Mandaveli to discuss issues of masculinity and how this has influenced their worldview. The project has participation from MenEngage, Azad Foundation and CJHS – all of whom have a track record in working with men on issues of gender.

Madhureeta has won the Karamveer award for her work that combines filmmaking with activism.[15]

Phree For Safety[edit]

Phree For Safety is a global mobile application that is making public spaces safer by harnessing user safety ratings in real time. The app was officially launched in August 2020 and is available worldwide on the iOS App Store and Google Play store.

Phree For Safety ( was founded by Madhureeta Anand, an award-winning filmmaker, towards her continuing endeavour to make the world safer and more inclusive for women and all other vulnerable groups. Subsequently, Pradeep Bakshi, CEO of Trantor Inc ( ), came on board as an investor, co-founder and technology partner to build a world-class robust app.

Safety's Impact on society and economy[edit]

Safety is an essential cog in the wheel of economic growth, as a secure population will invest wholeheartedly in their education & career, thus propelling its GDP. Safety is one of the significant factors contributing to this disparity as it impacts her decision to work or send the girls to school.

The cost of violence against women each year is around US$1.5 trillion– about 2% of the global GDP, according to a UN Women study (2019). Women’s contribution to India’s GDP is 18%, one of the world’s lowest (McKinsey Institute).

China’s women's workforce grew from 5% in 1977 to 44% in 2020, making it a superpower, whereas India’s women’s workforce is 19.9%. In the informal and formal sectors, it is just 7%.


  1. ^ Shedde, Meenakshi (31 December 2013). "5 Indian Films to See in 2014". Forbes India Magazine. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Post Event Release and Pictures: Kajarya Trailer Launch and Trailer". Archived from the original on 18 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Kajarya 2015 - Director Mudhureeta Anand Exclusive Interview with GetMovieInfo". YouTube. 6 November 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  4. ^ "MIFF'2006 Award Winning FilmsMumbai International Film Festival - Mumbai International Film Festival". Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  5. ^ "MADHUREETA ANAND - Public Service Broadcasting Trust". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Desi Talk". Archived from the original on 3 March 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  7. ^ "Desi Talk". Archived from the original on 3 March 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Madhureeta Anand: An independent filmmaker since 1995 - Delhi Citylife Stories | Art & culture, Books, Travel, About Delhi, Delhi Attractions etc". Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Madhureeta Anand - Dubai International Film Festival". 6 December 2013. Archived from the original on 6 December 2013. Retrieved 23 June 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  10. ^ "Dubai International Film Festival". Dubai International Film Festival. Retrieved 23 June 2017.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "THE POETRY OF PURPOSE". THE POETRY OF PURPOSE. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  12. ^ "In Search of Sita". Namita Gokhale. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  13. ^ "Finding Radha - Penguin India". Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Madhureeta Anand". Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  15. ^ "WINNERS OF BRONZE KARMAVEER CHAKRA 2014 - 15" (PDF). Retrieved 23 June 2017.

External links[edit]