Beyond Acting: Did You Know These 9 Actresses Are Also Film Producers?

From Juhi Chawla's Dreamz Unlimited to Priyanka Chopra Jonas' Purple Pebble Pictures, each of these actress-turned-producers has left an indelible mark on Indian cinema.

Published On Aug 23, 2023 | Updated On Feb 23, 2024

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The Indian film industry, popularly known as Bollywood, has witnessed a dynamic shift over the years, with women taking charge not only in front of the camera but also behind the scenes. In this transformation, several Bollywood actresses have ventured into film production, embracing the role of producers.

Recently, Kriti Sanon — who made her debut with Heropanti nine years ago — has launched her production house. Blue Butterfly films. She announced her first film also, Do Patti, which will star Kajol and launch on Netflix.

With this latest update, we delve into the inspiring journeys of Bollywood actresses turned producers, exploring their achievements, challenges, and impact on the ever-evolving landscape of Indian cinema.

Juhi Chawla, one of the leading actresses of the 1990s, stepped into film production with her husband Jay Mehta under the banner, Dreamz Unlimited. Their first production venture was the critically acclaimed film Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000), which explored media ethics and patriotism. Although the film did not perform well at the box office, Juhi's efforts as a producer were lauded. The duo then produced the historical drama Asoka (2001), which featured Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor in lead roles. Though not a commercial success, Asoka showcased Juhi's willingness to invest in diverse and unconventional stories.

Shilpa Shetty, known for her stellar performances in films like Baazigar (1993) and Dhadkan (2000), ventured into production with her husband Raj Kundra. Their first production was the comedy-drama Dishkiyaoon (2014), starring Harman Baweja and Sunny Deol. Though the film received mixed reviews, Shilpa's determination to explore diverse genres marked her entry into Bollywood's production space. Post that, in 2022, Shilpa also established a VFX studio called SVS Studio with industry veteran Sandeep Mane, their first project being Sara Ali Khan starrer Gaslight (2023). 

Dia Mirza, recognised for her natural charm and elegance, transitioned from acting to production with Love Breakups Zindagi (2011). This romantic drama marked Dia's foray into film production, co-founding her production house, Born Free Entertainment, with Sahil Sangha. The film, which explored the complexities of modern relationships, received positive reviews, and Dia was appreciated for her choice of content and storytelling.

Preity Zinta, the dimpled beauty who charmed audiences with her performances in films like Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), ventured into film production with Ishkq in Paris (2013). Though the film faced commercial challenges, Preity's dedication as a producer was evident. She embraced the experience as a learning curve and remained open to exploring more opportunities in the production realm.

Lara Dutta, known for her impeccable performances in Andaaz (2003) and No Entry (2005), explored film production with Chalo Dilli (2011). The road comedy-drama was well-received critically, and Lara's efforts as a producer were praised. Following this success, she co-produced the film Bhag Milkha Bhag (2013), which received widespread acclaim and commercial success. Lara's dedication to producing meaningful and impactful stories showcased her passion for filmmaking.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas, a global icon, transitioned from being one of Bollywood's leading actresses to becoming a prominent producer. Under her production banner, Purple Pebble Pictures, Priyanka ventured into regional cinema, producing critically acclaimed films like Ventilator (2016) and Pahuna: The Little Visitors (2018). Priyanka's focus on promoting regional talent and storytelling earned her recognition in the production sphere.

Anushka Sharma, who shot to fame with her debut film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008), ventured into film production with NH10 (2015). The thriller, which also starred Anushka in the lead role, received widespread acclaim for its gripping narrative and intense performances. Anushka's commitment to producing content-driven cinema continued with films like Phillauri (2017) and Pari (2018), establishing her as a successful actress-turned-producer in Bollywood. In early 2023, the actress decided to take a sabbatical from producing to focus on acting more, handing over reigns to her brother. 

Deepika Padukone, one of the most sought-after actresses in the industry, explored film production with Chhapaak (2020). Based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, the biographical drama showcased Deepika's commitment to socially relevant and impactful storytelling. Chhapaak received critical acclaim for its sensitive portrayal of the survivor's journey, solidifying Deepika's position as a talented actress and producer.

Amidst her multiple entrepreneurial adventures, Alia Bhatt started her production house, Eternal Sunshine Productions, in 2021. The Gangubai Kathiawadi (2022) and Brahmastra (2022)  actress's first production Darlings (2022) released on the OTT streaming giant Netflix and was appreciated by critics and audiences alike. 


Photo: Instagram/csfilms, eternalsunshineproductions

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