Maithili Rao drifted into subtitling and writing on cinema after a brief stint as a lecturer of English. From a hobby to a passion for writing on films was a natural progression. Her new book, The Millennial Woman in Bollywood. New Brand? for OUP was released in 2023. Smita Patil, A Brief Incandescence (Harper Collins) came out in 2015. She co-edited The Oldest Love Story, A Motherhood Anthology and Films Through Women’s Eyes, in 2022. Rao contributed chapters to many books on cinema: Stardom in Contemporary Hindi Cinema (Springler), Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema, Bollywood (Dakini, London), Icons (Rupa, edited by Anil Dharker), Frames of Mind (edited by Aruna Vasudev ), Rasa (edited by Chidanand Dasgupta), The Man Who Spoke in Pictures (Penguin) Madhumati (Rupa). She served on national and international juries: National Film Awards, MIFF, The International Children’s film festival in Hyderabad, Fipresci at Sochi, and a member of APSA (Asia Pacific Screen Awards). She was a member of the script committee at NFDC and CFS.
Maithili started out as a critic of foreign films for the Sunday Observer and a columnist writing on the Images of women in Hindi films for Eves Weekly for over a decade. She wrote for Indian and international publications: Hindu, Frontline, Man’s World, NFDC’s Cinema in India and London-based South Asian Cinema, Film Comment and International Film Guide, and BFI Website. She believes that besides aesthetics, films must have relevance to social and political reality.