Raised in an inner-city chawl (the ghetto) of Mumbai, India, Hemal spent her formative years striving to climb the social ladder.
She did odd jobs ranging from working as a concierge in Mumbai's five-star hotels, to a lab technician in a microbiology lab. With the help of a state scholarship, Hemal entered one of India's most prestigious business schools in India (NMIMS), and worked in mutual funds before moving to the U.S.
After studying filmmaking at the University of Florida, she became a professional editor in New York. Over the past decade; her work has shown on PBS, Discovery Kids and BBC. Hemal's worked on films that have won three Emmys and one Oscar. Her credits include: Among the Believers (Director/Producer/Editor, Tribeca Film Festival/AFI DOCS), Outlawed in Pakistan (Editor, Emmy-2014, PBS-Frontline, Sundance); Saving Face (Editor, Oscar-2012, Two Emmys-2013, HBO/Channel 4); Shabeena’s Quest (Director/Editor, Witness, Al Jazeera); Flying on One Engine (Editor, SXSW, IDFA); Laughter (Editor, BBC); When the Drum is Beating (Editor, ITVS, Tribeca 2011); and Beyond Mumbai (Director, Camera & Editor, OWN, 2011 Webby nomination). She has produced and edited over 50 award-winning shorts for Odyssey Networks.