With Indian cinema completing 100 years, we thought it would be the right time to talk about some of the top directors who have made an outstanding contribution to Indian cinema.
And whenever such list comes out, there are many who are shocked/surprised and ask why certain names have been omitted or have been included.
Though its impossible to include all the names, we have included those whose movies still continue to be shown on television / cables (Z classics, and so on).
So even though Satyajit Ray & V Shantaram are the pioneers of Indian cinema, we have not included their names, as its unlikely that many have seen their movies.
Here comes the list of the top 10 Bollywood directors:
I guess, almost everybody expects this name to be there at the top. Known as the Showman of Bollywood, Raj Kapoor belonged to the first family of Hindi cinema. He won all the major awards and launched several actresses that went on to become established names.
Besides a director, Raj Kapoor was an actor as well as a producer, his body of work is exemplary and he has also made many films. His popularity extends to countries like Turkey, Russia, and more countries. Truly a Showman!
Hrishikesh Mukherjee (fondly called Hrishi-da) continues to inspire film makers even today. Our evergreen superstars, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bacchan, have worked in several of his movies and in a different avatar from what they are popularly known for.
Films like Satyakam, Chupke Chupke, Anupama, Anand, Abhimaan, Guddi, Gol Maal, Aashirwad, Bawarchi, and Namak Haraam enthralled masses while solidly establishing the stars. His films were not only entertaining, they made you believe that goodness exists in tour society.
Bimal Roy had a flair to blend art and cinema in a realistic way, with most of his movies having strong content, backed with good music and powerful acting performances. Madhumati, Devdas (older) & Do Bigha Zamin were some of his most popular movies, though he has made many more films.
He won awards nationally and internationally and his highly acclaimed Do Bigha Zamin won the prestigious International Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Considered to be a man ahead of his times, Guru Dutt is often credited with ushering in the golden era of Hindi cinema. His work includes classics like Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and Chaudhvin Ka Chand.
Besides being a director, Guru Dutt was also an actor, choreographer and producer. Guru Dutt was voted as one of the top 25 Asian actors of all time by CNN in 2010.
If the 70s belonged to the Big B, here’s was another director who made some of his best movies at that time. Manmohan Desai was a visionary whose family oriented films stirred audiences with its emotional masala, and all the twists & turns. His best works include Amar Akbar Anthony, Naseeb and Dharam Veer.
Most of his movies were with Amitabh Bachchan — Coolie, Mard, Suhaag and Amar Akbar Anthony. He was also popular with other actors like Jeetendra, Shashi Kapoor and Shatrughan Sinha.
Yash Chopra’s known for making romantic movies, though Deewar continues to be one of his most popular non-romantic film. Chandni, Silsila, Deewar, Darr, Veer Zaara and Jab Tak Hain Jaan (his last movie) are some of the movies that he’s made, and was rightly coined the king of romance for his penchant for making love stories.
His story is legendary as was his film making. With a humble beginning, he went on to rule the silver screen. His films delved into human relationships and although he faced a set back in his career at one point, he never gave up on his love for film making.
Most of Shyam Benegal’s movies were made during the time where Indian cinemas was categorized as “Commercial Films” & “Art Films”, most of his movies belonged to the latter.
His films were hard hitting and he has the flair to bring out the best in his actors. Noted for films like Ankur, Nishant, Manthan, Bhumika and Dev, Benegal has been intrepid, daring to fiddle with themes that flouted conventional forms of thinking. He’s also responsible for blurring the line between commercial and parallel cinema. He is certainly one of the finest film makers of the century.
At one point of time, Mani Ratnam was known as one of the best directors in our country, however lately he has slowed down a bit due to health reasons. He is one of those few film personalities from the South who’s popular and highly acclaimed in Bollywood as well, with his hard hitting films like Roja, Bombay, Dil Se and Guru.
He’s an international star who has been recognized for his contribution to Indian cinema and he’s also the recipient of several awards such as Padma Shri, besides National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards.
Though most of Shankar’s movies have been made in the south and he’s a phenomenon down south, he’s definitely among the most talented directors in India.
His recent movie “Robot” was a huge success both in Bollywood as well as down south. His movies are usually made on a big budget and feature some of the top stars of our country (including AR Rahman).
Rajkumar Hirani has emerged as one of the most promising directors of Hindi cinema. “3 Idiots” broke all records at the box office and is the highest grossing Hindi film ever. Prior to that, Hirani created hysteria with the Munna Bhai series (Munna Bhai M.B.B.S and Lage Raho Munna Bhai) which were feel good films that drew audiences in large numbers. “Pee Kay” will be his next directorial.