Ask any average moviegoer to name the actors of their favourite film and they’ll be able to rattle off the names in no time. Now ask them to name the director of this film. A lot of them might not be able to do so and if they do, it’ll be after some struggle. That’s because the sad reality is that it’s the actors majorly who walk away with a lot of credit for the success of a film. The directors and writers rarely enjoy praise among the moviegoers in general.
However, there are five such directors of Bollywood who are known throughout the country. Thanks to their films, personality, genre etc., they became a favourite of the masses. When their film is up for release, the excitement is there not just because of the exciting trailer and star cast but also because of the director. So let’s take a look at these fantastic five!
1. Rajkumar Hirani
He’s easily the most successful director of Bollywood at present by a huge margin. He debuted in 2003 with Munna Bhai MBBS. It is a one of its kind comic caper with a great social message. The film became a rage and got Sanjay Dutt into the big league after a hiatus. He followed this with Lage Raho Munnabhai and it was even better in all respects. In 2009, Rajkumar Hirani teamed up with Aamir Khan to deliver one of the greatest films of all times, 3 Idiots. His 4th film PK was also a critical and commercial success. Last Friday, Hirani unveiled his fifth film, Sanju. Despite being a risky affair, Sanju has emerged as the highest opening weekend of 2018. This was possible majorly due to Rajkumar Hirani. If it was any other director, perhaps Sanju would not have earned so much.
2. Rohit Shetty
Rohit Shetty is another director of the masses thanks to his films that provide maximum entertainment, humour and car explosions! Today he’s known as a director of comedy films but he started his career with an actioner, Zameen. But he followed it up with Golmaal in 2006 and then there was no looking back. He did deliver duds in between like Sunday and Dilwale but these were far and few between. Overall he has been consistent in making people laugh and also his investors…all the way to the bank. In between, he also packed a punch with Singham, an action entertainer with an adequate dose of humour. It stands as the most respected film of the director. His partnership with Ajay Devgn has been lovely and symbiotic, with both benefiting very well. His last flick was Golmaal Again and it was the first comic caper to cross the coveted Rs. 200 crore mark!
3. Sooraj Barjatya
It is very difficult to make a film that can impress not just a viewer in Juhu but also a moviegoer in Jharkhand equally. In this regard, Sooraj Barjatya emerges victorious. His films are simple, rooted and talk about family and the institution of marriage. These are the aspects that everyone can relate to. Moreover, his film is replete with entertainment and music and moreover, it’s completely family friendly. His debut film in 1989 Maine Pyar Kiya was memorable but it’s with his second film, Hum Aapke Hain Koun, that he became a household name. Initially dubbed by critics as a ‘wedding video’, it touched the hearts of moviegoers and unleashed a craze like never before. His next, Hum Saath Saath Hain, might have got mixed response then but was a big hit theatrically and it’s a rage on television. Analysts get shocked even today when they see this film in the top 5 rated films of the week list regularly! Sadly, Sooraj Barjatya tried to shed off his ‘sanskaari’ image and be ‘cool’ with Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon. And it backfired terribly. Thankfully, he went back to his roots with Vivah and once again, audiences showered his film with love. His last film, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, was an underperformer but the hype it created pre-release was immense. And this was not just due to lead actor Salman Khan and Sooraj definitely played a part. In fact, he’s the only one who, in this day and age, can bravely come up with a film titled Prem Ratan Dhan Payo and still generate excitement, even among the elite urban crowd of cities!
4. Sanjay Leela Bhansali
With his opulent sets, grand scale, appealing costumes, melodious music and a narrative that tugs at the heartstrings, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has made an indelible mark on the viewers. His debut directorial Khamoshi was a box office failure. But with his next two flicks, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas, SLB became a brand and a director to watch out for. With these two films, he left such an impact that despite delivering two flops later on (Saawariya and Guzaarish), his image didn’t suffer much. As a result, when he got back into his zone in 2013 with Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela, viewers came out in hordes. Then came Bajirao Mastani, which was highly successful despite clashing with a biggie like Diwale. His last film Padmaavat got into numerous controversies and didn’t release in around four states. Yet, the exciting cast, the subject, the grandeur and not to forget, brand Bhansali ensured it became the biggest hit of 2018 till date.
5. Karan Johar
Love him or hate him, but you can’t ignore him! He delivered one of the greatest love stories and musicals of Bollywood at the age of 24 with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. 3 years later, he followed it up with an even bigger hit, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. With these two flicks, he not only got recognition nationwide but also became hit with the NRI audiences. Also, he was among the first directors to come out and talk to the media freely and this also proved beneficial. His next 4 films – Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, My Name Is Khan, Student Of The Year and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil – got its share of appreciation and also sufficient revenue from the box office, though it couldn’t replicate the success of his first two movies. Yet, KJo’s credibility is intact. He has a great ear for music and all his films have had some great soundtrack. Moreover, he truly shines while directing emotional sequences. No wonder, the excitement goes manifold when a film’s poster reads ‘Directed by Karan Johar’!
6. Rakesh Roshan
This actor-turned-filmmaker has directed 13 films till date, all of which has titles that start with ‘K’! Out of 13 films, 8 of them have been big commercial successes. In the 90s, he delivered one of the biggest blockbusters, Karan Arjun, that featured two superstars Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan together. But it was at the turn of the century that he became a director to reckon with. This was a time when he launched his son Hrithik in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai and then there was no looking back for him. Then the father-son duo collaborated on Koi Mil Gaya and its sequels Krrish and Krrish 3 and Bollywood got arguably its most successful superhero till date. All these three films were huge hits and boasted of top-class VFX, simple storyline and compelling execution. Expectations are already skyhigh for Krrish 4, expected to hit theatres in 2020.
Besides these, there are many other successful and significant directors of Bollywood but haven’t been added in the post as they don’t have a similar track record or are not that prominent. David Dhawan has had a great record but his filmography is riddled flops at regular intervals. Kabir Khan delivered two blockbusters (Ek Tha Tiger, Bajrangi Bhaijaan) but could never become a household name. Also the debacle of Phantom and Tubelight affected his track record. Ali Abbas Zafar is the only filmmaker to have given two back-to-back Rs 300 crore grossers but is still an unknown face sadly for the majority of moviegoers. Imtiaz Ali had become a rage with Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal. But his subsequent films didn’t have a pan-India appeal and also the response was mixed to poor. Aanand L Rai hopefully should become a brand should his next with Shah Rukh Khan, Zero, click big time.