Ritu Pande is a filmmaker based in New York City. She hails from Bihar, India, where her rebellious nature put the sexist cultural norms of her environment into stark focus. Her unconventional experiences as a social activist, military cadet, as well as a finalist in Miss India contest, enabled her to explore various facets of feminism, female and human identity. She left her burgeoning acting career in Mumbai to pursue acting and filmmaking in New York, studying under veterans such as Austin Pendelton, Anthony Abeson, and Terry Schreiber. Ironically, rather than finding freedom in New York to explore her passions, Ritu found herself more pigeonholed as a minority woman.
Energized by this challenge, and struck by the extent of dilution that plagues foreign perspectives, Ritu founded Durga Entertainment in 2009 through which she has acted and produced films that transcend the industry stereotypes in favor of more complex and universal stories, especially about women. As an actor, producer and writer, it is her personal sense of identity, shrouded in the paradox of race and gender identity crisis that the Western cultures pose particularly upon women of color is what inspires Ritu’s filmmaking drive: to reveal the truth behind the complex humanity and to upend cultural norms with which many are ensconced in.
"Meena has a refreshing degree of depth. Pande delivers the strength and frustration of a woman who was forced to abandon everything for her daughter’s future."– Washington Square News
"The mother is played with haunting beauty and genuine sincerity by Ritu Singh Pande."– Rex Reed, The New York Observor.
"Meena played by newcomer Rita Singh Pande plays a strong antagonist....the film’s top performers were Shankar and (Ritu Singh) Pande as they were a pleasure to watch on screen."– Killerfilm.com
"It’s mesmerizing to watch Pande’s face as she plays Meena thrown into loneliness and stress having to raise her daughter on her own...Actress Pande, as the sympathetic yet flawed Meena, gives a strong and compelling performance. Her eyes and lips are as intriguing as Mona Lisa’s and keep you focused on her face where she conveys deep emotional conflicts."- The Examiner
"…nicely sensitive performances from (Melinda) Shankar and (Ritu Singh)Pande"– The New York Post
"...with fleeing wife Meena (a strong Ritu Singh Pande)"– Los Angeles Times
“Though Lights is Pande’s first feature film, she’s got extensive TV and stage experience, and has a good screen presence and offers up a lot of emotion here."– St. Louis Magazine
"There are flashes of brilliance among the lead performances that are brimming with emotion. In a key scene towards the ends of the film, Meena (Ritu Singh Pande) sees Vishnu for the first time in years. There’s very little dialogue, but the look of regret, longing and disappointment shared between the former couple is heartbreaking."– Paste Magazine
“….a young Indian woman, memorably played by Ritu Singh Pande.”– sbs.com on May In The Summer