The Best Directors of Bollywood

by Sandeep Gupta | created - 20 Oct 2010 | updated - 09 Aug 2013 | Public

Presenting you the top directors from bollywood in somewhat chronological order.

1. Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre

Director | Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje

Rajaram has been married twice. His second marriage was to actress Jayashree. Jayashree passed away on the 19th of October, 2004 in Bombay, at the age of 84. Jayashree and Rajaram are survived by their son, Kiran Shantaram, former Sheriff of Bombay, and daughter, Rajashree, well-known former ...

Known for Do Aankhen Barah Haath, Navrang, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje and Jal Bin Machhli Nritya Bin Bijli.

2. Raj Kapoor

Actor | Sangam

Raj Kapoor was the son of well-known Indian actor Prithviraj Kapoor, who acted both in film and on stage. After apprenticing in the Bollywood production studios of the 1940's, at 24 years of age Raj Kapoor produced, directed and acted in Aag (1948), with his new company, RK Films. His next ...

Known for Awaara, Shree 420, Sangam, Mera Naam Joker. The showman.

3. Mehboob Khan

Director | Mother India

Mehboob Khan was born on September 9, 1907 in Bilimora, Baroda, Bombay Presidency, British India. He was a director and producer, known for Mother India (1957), Son of India (1962) and Aan (1952). He died on May 28, 1964 in Bombay, Maharashtra, India.

Known for Mother India, Aan, Andaz and Anmol Ghadi.

4. Bimal Roy

Director | Do Bigha Zamin

Came from a well-to-do Dacca background, starting in films as an assistant cameraman in 1932. After promotion to full cinematographer, he began to direct from 1943. He was first acclaimed for the experimental low-budget picture, "Udayer Pathey", which achieved national popularity in India despite a...

Known for classics like Bandini, Devdas, Do Bigha Zameen and Madhumati

5. Guru Dutt

Actor | Pyaasa

Considered to be a man ahead of his time, Guru Dutt was one of the greatest icons of commercial Indian cinema. Although he made less than fifty films, they are believed to be the best to come from Bollywood's Golden Age, known both for their ability to reach out to the common man and for their ...

Known for Pyaasa, Kagaz ke Phool, Baaz. The best of Black and White era.

6. Vijay Anand

Writer | Guide

Vijay Anand was a celebrated filmmaker, writer, editor, and actor in Hindi cinema. Known as "Goldie," the younger brother of filmmaker Chetan Anand and matinée idol Dev Anand, Vijay Anand was born in Gurdaspur, Punjab, India on January 22, 1934. He lost his mother when he was only seven, and he ...

Known for Guide, Jewel Thief, Jhonny Mera Naam. Complete entertainer.

7. Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Director | Anand

By no means is he any glamorous director, yet Hrishikesh Mukherjee is one of the most popular and beloved filmmakers in Indian cinema. His magic lay not in the glamor or largeness so often associated with cinema, but in its simplicity and warmth.

He began his career in Bombay, 1951, as an editor and...

Known for Anand, Abhimaan, Chupke Chupke, Gol Maal, Khubsoorat, Bemisal. Simplicity and flawless direction.

8. Manoj Kumar

Actor | Roti Kapada Aur Makaan

Manoj Kumar was born on July 24, 1937 in Abbottabad, North-West Frontier Province, British India as Harikishen Giri Goswami. He is an actor and writer, known for Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (1974), Upkar (1967) and Clerk (1989).

Known for Upkar, Shor, Purab Aur Pashim, Roti Kapada Aur Makaan. Superb in songs, music, use of light.

9. Yash Chopra

Producer | Veer-Zaara

Labeled the eternal romantic and with one of the best musical senses in the business, Yash Chopra is arguably India's most successful director of romantic films. Although he made action-oriented films like the ever-popular Deewaar (1975), it is in tackling love and its various aspects that he has ...

Known for Waqt, Deewaar, Mashaal, Trishul, Kala Patthar, Silsila, Lamhe, Veer-Zaara. Moved from anger to love effortlessly.

10. Shekhar Kapur

Director | Elizabeth

Shekhar Kapur was born on December 6, 1945 in Lahore, Punjab, British India. He is an actor and director, known for Elizabeth (1998), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) and Bandit Queen (1994). He was previously married to Suchitra Krishnamoorthi.

Known for Masoom, Mr. India, Bandit Queen, Elizabeth. India's gift to hollywood.

11. Gulzar

Music_department | Slumdog Millionaire

Gulzar is a writer, a lyricist, a director and, at heart, a poet. His films, sensitive, lyrical, and yet successful, were a welcome relief from the violent films that filled the 1970s and 1980s.

Born Sampooran Singh Kalra in Deena, in the Jhelum District in what is now Pakistan, he came to Delhi ...

Known for Koshish, Parichay, Aandhi, Kitaab, Angoor, Maachis.

12. Shyam Benegal

Director | Trikal (Past, Present, Future)

Shyam Benegal was born on December 14, 1934 in Tirumalagiri, Hyderabad State, British India. He is a director and writer, known for Trikal (Past, Present, Future) (1985), Ankur: The Seedling (1974) and Junoon (1979).

Known for Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda, Junoon, Manthan, The Making of Mahatma and Welcome to Sajjanpur.

13. B.R. Chopra

Producer | Kanoon

One of India's most respected film personalities, Baldev Raj Chopra (better known as B.R. Chopra) has been an architect of what is now known as the golden era of the Bollywood industry. Having converted offbeat stories into immortal classics like Waqt (1965) and Naya Daur (1957), he commands high ...

Known for Naya Daur, Dastaan, Hamraaz, Nikah and Kanoon.

14. Govind Nihalani

Cinematographer | Dev

Govind is not the Brother of Pahlaj Nihalani. There is a lot of confusion due to both having the same last name.

Ardh Satya, Dev, Aakrosh and Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa.

15. Mahesh Bhatt

Writer | Raaz

Mahesh Bhatt was born on September 20, 1948 in Bombay, State of Bombay, India. He is a director and writer, known for Raaz (2002), Saaransh (1984) and Arth (1982). He is married to Soni Razdan.

Known for Zakhm, Saaransh, Hum Hai Raahi Pyaar Ke, Dil Hai Ki Maanta Nahi, Arth, Naam

16. Rajkumar Santoshi

Writer | Andaz Apna Apna

Rajkumar Santoshi is a writer and director, known for Andaz Apna Apna (1994), China Gate (1998) and Ghayal (1990). He is married to Manila Santoshi. They have two children.

Known for Ghayal, Damini, Ghatak, Andaz Apna Apna, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Khakee. Amazing sense of anger and sense of humour. surprised!!

17. Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Producer | Bajirao Mastani

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is among the most celebrated Film Makers of the Bollywood. Having worked with the biggest stars of Indian Film Industry, Bhansali is the most sought-for director of the Bollywood. He started his career as an assistant director to Vidhu Vinod Chopra. If one has to name his '...

Known for Khamoshi, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Black. Amazing use of light and sounds.

18. Mani Ratnam

Writer | Roja

The man who revolutionized Tamil-language cinema, Mani Ratnam is the biggest director in south India and one of the most respected directors in all of India. Each of his films contain its own unique style, with beautifully photographed songs and unique back-lighting. However, his films contain ...

Known for Guru, Yuva, Bombay, Roja, Naykan. Best when not self indulgent.

19. Anurag Kashyap

Producer | Gangs of Wasseypur

Anurag Singh Kashyap (born 10 September 1972) is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter. Kashyap made his directorial debut with as yet unreleased Paanch, with Kay Kay Menon as the lead. As a filmmaker, he is known for Black Friday (2004), a controversial and award-winning Hindi film ...

Known for Black Friday, Dev D, Gulal. Movies a bit different.

20. Ashutosh Gowariker

Writer | Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India

An actor who took up directing after almost a decade, Ashutosh Gowariker is one of those rare people who take the path less taken and, although it was a rough going, he is now one of India's elite directors. He began his film career modeling in commercials by Govind Nihalani and Jenny Pinto. He ...

Known for Lagaan, Swades, Jodha Akbar. Movies with substance and extra length.

21. Prakash Jha

Director | Gangaajal

Prakash Jha was born on February 27, 1952 in Patna, Bihar, India. He is a director and producer, known for Gangaajal (2003), Apaharan (2005) and The Death Sentence: Mrityu Dand (1997).

Known for Gangajal, Apharan, Raajneeti. He loves political dramas.

22. Rajkumar Hirani

Writer | PK

Rajkumar Hirani was born on November 20, 1962 in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. He is a writer and editor, known for PK (2014), Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (2003) and 3 Idiots (2009).

Known for Munnabhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munnabhai, 3 Idiots. Flawless direction.

23. Rakesh Roshan

Actor | Koi... Mil Gaya

Rakesh Roshan was born on September 6, 1949 in Bombay, State of Bombay, India as Rakesh Roshanlal Nagrath. He is an actor and producer, known for Koi... Mil Gaya (2003), Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000) and Krrish (2006). He is married to Pinky.

Known for Khoon Bhari Maang, Koi Mil Gaya, Krrish. Complete entertainer, knows what audience want.

24. Ram Gopal Varma

Director | Shiva

Ram Gopal Varma was born in Hyderabad, the capital city of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. He initially was a video store owner before eventually becoming one of India's leading film directors. A film buff during his youth, Varma would watch both American and Indian cinema regularly. As a young...

Known for Shiva, Rangeela, Kaun?, Satya, Company, Sarkar, Nishabd, Rann. Known for gangster movies and making some of the worst movies as well.

Known for Ab Tak Chappan, Chak De India, Rocket Singh. Known for deep details inside the movies.

26. Dibakar Banerjee

Director | LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhokha

He joined advertising as a copywriter first with Shems Combit and then TBWA Anthem, and later he joined Contract Advertising, Delhi, where he worked under Pradeep Sarkar, who was then a creative director at the agency. Screenwriter Jaideep Sahni was also one of his colleagues, who later penned ...

Known for Khosla Ka Ghosla, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, LSD. Known for amazing sense of story telling and depth of characters.

27. Vishal Bhardwaj

Composer | Haider

Vishal Bhardwaj is a composer, known for Haider (2014), Omkara (2006) and Maqbool (2003). He is married to Rekha Bhardwaj.

Known for Maqbool, Omkara, Kaminey, Makdee, The Blue Umbrella. Known for literature inspired movies.

28. Karan Johar

Writer | Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...

A close friend of Shahrukh Khan, he assisted Yash Chopra's Yash Raj Films during the early days of of his career, making his directorial debut with the mega-hit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). He also had a popular chat show named Koffee with Karan (2004) The success of "KKHH" made him one of the most ...

Known for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Kabhi Alvida Na Kahna, My Name Is Khan. Known for movies based on NRIs.

29. Farhan Akhtar

Producer | Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

Writer Javed Akhtar's and Honey Irani's son 'Farhan Akhtar' is an extremely talented and creative and young director and has made a place for himself in very little time.

He entered Bollywood at the age of 17, assisting directors and cinematographers. He dropped out of college and did various jobs ...

Known for Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, Don, Don 2. Apart from that he is a great actor as well.

30. Anurag Basu

Director | Barfi!

Anurag Basu, a Bollywood director and writer explores relationships and adversity on reel. He had his share of tough times when he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Basu directed television serials among which is Tara (1993), which became one of the first soap operas on Indian television. He also ...

Known for Gangster, Life In A Metro and Barfi!

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