Shonali Bose

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Shonali Bose
Shonali Bose.jpg
Shonali Bose and Aamir Khan at the press meet of DVD release of film Amu
Born (1965-06-03) 3 June 1965 (age 53)
Kolkata, India
OccupationFilmmaker, writer
Years active1992—present
RelativesMalini Chib (cousin)

Shonali Bose (Bengali: সোনালী বোস) (born 3 June 1965) is an Indian film director, writer and film producer. Having worked on three feature film projects, she has won such accolades as a National Film Award, a Bridgestone Narrative Award, and a Sundance Mahindra Global Filmmaker Award.

Bose earned her breakthrough with her first feature film, the 2005 biographical drama Amu, which was based on her own novel of the same name. The film which chronicles the genocidal attacks on Sikhs in Delhi in 1984, garnered critical acclaimed and the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English. Bose co-wrote and assisted her former husband Bedabrata Pain to direct the historical war film Chittagong, which released to positive reviews in 2012.

Bose's 2015 romantic drama Margarita with a Straw was critically and commercially successful. Inspired from the life of Malini Chib—her cousin and a disability rights activist, the film earned Bose a Sundance Mahindra Global Filmmaker Award and a NETPAC Award. Bose is also an active philanthropist and supports various charitable organisations.

Early life[edit]

Shonali Bose was born on 3 June 1965 in Calcutta, West Bengal and spent most of her young adult life in Mumbai and New Delhi. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Delhi University and master's degree in Political Science from Columbia University, New York. She has been an activist since time at Miranda Houseof the Delhi University. Bose was also involved in theater as an actor throughout school and college. Bose did not originally plan to be involved in film, however she saw it as a better outlet for activism after realizing how far removed her Ph.D studies were from activism.[1] On her film work she says, "Film is the means with which I want to communicate ideas about social and political change." [1]


Early career and breakthrough with Amu (1999-2010)[edit]

Bose worked as an organizer for the National Lawyers Guild for about a year. She directed live community television in Manhattan before joining the MFA Directing Program at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Early in her career, Bose directed such short films as The Gendarme Is Here and Undocumented, and the feature-length documentary Lifting the Veil; the productions were screened at numerous film festivals.

Bose made her feature film debut with the 2005 drama Amu; she had also written the production's screenplay.[2][3] The film released in India in January to critical acclaim and positive response from the audience. Amu was screened at international film festivals in Berlin and Toronto. Bose won several national and international awards for the film, including the FIPRESCI Critics Award, the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English and the Gollapudi Srinivas Award for Best Debut Director.[4] Bose wrote the novel Amu, which based on the screenplay which released simultaneously with the film.[5][6]

Continued critical success (2010- present)[edit]

Bose co-wrote the Bedabrata Pain directed film Chittagong, a period drama that chronicles the 1930 Chittagong armoury raid.[7][8] Her 2014 production, Margarita, with a Straw, starring Kalki Koechlin as a girl with cerebral palsy, premiered at 2014 Toronto International Film Festival to critical acclaim. The film won the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film at the event.[9] She had begun working on the script a year after the death of her son; the film's initial draft won the Sundance Mahindra Global Filmmaker Award, at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Bose was inspired to make the film by her real life experiences of studying in New York, her relationship with her cousin Malini Chib who has cerebral palsy, and her and Chib's sexuality as queer and disabled people respectively.[1] The film was originally rejected by the censor board in India, but won appeal and was released shortly after the ban on homosexuality in India was lifted.[1]

Upcoming projects[edit]

Bose will next direct Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar and Zaira Wasim in the film named The Sky Is Pink based on the motivational speaker Aisha Chaudhary. Currently in per-production, the film will start filming in July 2018.[10] Bose has also committed to write the pilot episode for an untitled television series based on Diksha Basu's debut novel The Windfall.[7]

Personal life[edit]

She was married to Bedabrata Pain but is now separated.[11] Bose identifies as bisexual.[12]


Year Film Note(s)
2005 Amu Writer, Director and Producer
2012 Chittagong Writer and Producer
2015 Margarita with a Straw Story, Screenplay, Dialogue, Director and Producer[13]
2019 The Sky Is Pink Director


Film Year Category Film Festival Notes
Amu 2005 National Film Award: Best Feature Film in English[14]
2005 FIPRESCI Critics Award.[15] International Federation of Film Critics
2005 Best English Language Film Star Screen Award
2005 Sundance Global Filmmaker Award
Margarita with a Straw 2015 NETPAC Jury award for Best Asian Film [16] Toronto International Film Festival
2015 Audience Award Filmfest DC – Washington DC International Film Festival
2016 Audience Award - Best Feature Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival
2015 Youth Jury Award Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema
2015 Audience Award for Best Feature Film Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema
2015 Feature Film Award - Best International Film Galway Film Fleadh (Ireland)
2015 Best International Feature Gaze International LGBT Film Festival (Ireland) - Spirit of GAZE Award
2015 Audience Award Montclair Film Festival (MFF)
2015 Audience Award for Best Feature Film Brussels Extraordinary Film Festival
2015 Best Film Grand Prix Jury Award for Best Film
2015 Best Film Image Out. Rochester LGBT Film Festival
2015 Jury Award – Best Narrative Fiction MIX Copenhagen
2015 Best Feature Film Lili Award
2015 Best Feature Film Casa Asia Film Week, Spain
2015 Audience Award for Best Feature Film North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
2015 Best Film Utah Film Center – Damn These Heels
2015 Audience Award for Best Feature Film Teaneck International Film Festival - Best Feature Award
2015 Best Screenplay Nashville Film Festival – Bridgestone Narrative Competition
2015 Audience Choice Award Hamburg Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
2015 Best Film, Best Script, Best Direction - Filmmaker of the Year Stardust COLORS [17]
2015 VIWIFF Award Vancouver International Women in Film Festival
2014 NETPAC Award Toronto International Film Festival


  1. ^ a b c d "Shonali Bose: Activism, with a Film". The Vilcek Foundation. Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  2. ^ "'Amu', a film by Shonali Bose". Institute of Race Relations. Archived from the original on 15 November 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Amu (2005) - Release Info". IMDB. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  4. ^ "FIPRESCI - festival awards 2005". FIPRESCI. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  5. ^ Bose, Shonali (2004). Amu : a novel. New Delhi: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-303232-1.
  6. ^ "Indo-American Arts council, Inc". Indo-American Arts council. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Shonali Bose Will Direct New TV Series Based On Novel About Delhi's Noveau [sic] Riche - NDTV Movies". 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  8. ^ Roy, Sandip. "Real life RDB: the Chittagong story". Telegraph Kolkata. Retrieved 3 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Margarita, with a Straw". TIFF. Archived from the original on 30 August 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  10. ^ "Zaira Wasim to play Priyanka Chopra, Abhishek Bachchan's daughter in next?". Hindustan Times. 18 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  11. ^ IIT Foundation (22 July 2007). "IIT Foundation [ "AMU", an award winning film by a KGP Alumnus — Releasing in San Francisco ]". Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Bisexual director Shonali Bose on her revolutionary queer film "Margarita, with a Straw" - AfterEllen". AfterEllen. 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  13. ^ Harvey, Dennis (2015-01-16). "Film Review: 'Margarita, With a Straw'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  14. ^ "52nd National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. pp. 82–83. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  15. ^ Indiewire. "indieWIRE INTERVIEW | "Amu" Director Shonali Bose | IndieWire". Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  16. ^ "'Margarita, With a Straw' : Toronto Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-09-08.
  17. ^ CREATIVEJOYC, CREATIVEJOYC (20 February 2016). "A Toast to Filmmaker Shonali Bose and Margarita, with a Straw!". sszeemedia. Retrieved 8 September 2017.

External links[edit]