The Greatest Directors of All Time (India)

by seccess | created - 10 Dec 2017 | updated - 8 months ago | Public

1. Dhundiraj Govind Phalke

Director | Lanka Dahan

Dadasaaheb Phalke was born in 1870 in Trymbakeshwar in Nasik. He was born to a Sanskrit scholar, he studied at J.J. college of Art in Bombay and at Kala Bhavan, Baroda. He then studied architecture and became landscape painter of academic nature studies. He worked in a photographic studio and at ...

2. Satyajit Ray

Writer | Pather Panchali

Satyajit Ray was born in Calcutta on May 2, 1921. His father, Late Sukumar Ray was an eminent poet and writer in the history of Bengali literature. In 1940, after receiving his degree in science and economics from Calcutta University, he attended Tagore's Viswa-Bharati University. His first movie ...

3. Adoor Gopalakrishnan

Director | Mathilukal

Adoor Gopalakrishnan is India's most acclaimed contemporary filmmaker. Born in 1941 in Kerala, a state in south India, he belongs to a family with strong links to the performing arts, especially Kathakali, a highly-stylised form of dance drama. From the age of eight Adoor began acting for the stage...

4. Mrinal Sen

Director | Bhuvan Shome

Sen is one of his nation's most politically active filmakers. After having studied physics at university in Calcutta, Sen worked as a freelance journalist, a salesman of patent medicines and a sound technician in a film studio. In the mid-1940s he joined the Indian People's Theatre Association and ...

7. Shyam Benegal

Director | Ankur

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

8. Girish Kasaravalli

Director | Kanasembo kudureyaneri

Girish Kasaravalli was born on December 3, 1950 in Kesalur, Karnataka, India. He is a director and writer, known for Riding the Stallion of a Dream (2010), Gulabi Talkies (2008) and In the Shadow of the Dog (2006). He was previously married to Vaishali Kasaravalli.

9. Shaji N. Karun

Director | Piravi

Shaji Neelakantan Karun was born on new years day 1950 as the eldest son of Mr. N. Karunakaran and Mrs. Chandramati in Kollam district of the state of Kerala, India. The family moved to Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the state in 1963. He did his schooling in Palkkulangara H.S., and took a ...

10. Girish Karnad

Writer | Ondanondu Kaladalli

Girish Karnad was born on 19th May 1938 in Matheran, Maharashtra. He is acclaimed for his contemporary playwrights in Kannada. He is also an actor, director and screen writer. He was conferred Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan by the Government of India and won four Filmfare Awards where three are ...

11. 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 ...

12. P. Padmarajan

Writer | Oridathoru Phayalwan

P. Padmarajan was an Indian author, screenwriter, and film director who was known for his landmark works in Malayalam literature and Malayalam cinema. Padmarajan was the founder of a new school of film making in Malayalam, along with Bharathan, in the 1980s, which created films that were widely ...

13. Mani Ratnam

Writer | Dil Se..

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 ...

14. Bharathan

Director | Prayanam

Bharathan was born on November 14, 1947 in Vadakkancheri, Trichur, Kerala, British India. He was a director and art director, known for Prayanam (1975), Thevar Magan (1992) and Thakara (1980). He was married to K.P.A.C. Lalitha. He died on July 29, 1998 in Madras, Tamil Nadu, India.

15. K. Balachander

Director | Thaneer Thaneer

K. Balachander was born on July 9, 1930 in Nannilam, Madras Presidency, British India as Kailasam Balachander. He was a director and writer, known for Thaneer Thaneer (1981), Apoorva Raagangal (1975) and Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981). He was married to Rajam. He died on December 23, 2014 in Chennai, ...

17. Shekhar Kapur

Director | Elizabeth

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

18. Mira Nair

Director | Monsoon Wedding

Accomplished Film Director/Writer/Producer Mira Nair was born in India and educated at Delhi University and at Harvard. She began her film career as an actor and then turned to directing award-winning documentaries, including So Far From India and India Cabaret. Her debut feature film, Salaam ...

19. 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...

20. Bimal Roy

Director | Bandini

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...

21. Ritwik Ghatak

Director | Meghe Dhaka Tara

Ritwik Ghatak was born on November 4, 1925 in Dacca, Bengal Presidency, British India as Ritwik Kumar Ghatak. He was a director and writer, known for The Cloud-Capped Star (1960), Madhumati (1958) and Reason, Debate and a Story (1974). He was married to Surama Ghatak. He died on February 6, 1976 in...

22. Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre

Director | Do Ankhen Barah Haath

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 ...

23. Ram Gopal Varma

Director | Rangeela

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...

24. Tapan Sinha

Director | Ek Doctor Ki Maut

Born in 1924. Science graduate from University of Calcutta. Sinha began his film career as a sound engineer in Calcutta's New Theatre in 1946. Four years later, he received an invitation to the London film festival and the opportunity of working at Pinewood Studios. He was in the UK for two years. ...

26. Mani Kaul

Director | Duvidha

Mani Kaul was born on December 25, 1944 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. He was a director and writer, known for Duvidha (1973), Naukar Ki Kameez (1999) and Uski Roti (1970). He died on July 6, 2011 in New Delhi, India.

27. B. Ramakrishnaiah Panthulu

Director | Dil Tera Diwana

B. Ramakrishnaiah Panthulu was born on July 26, 1910 in Kuppam, India as Ramakrishnaiah Panthulu Budugooru. He was a director and actor, known for Dil Tera Diwana (1962), Karnan (1964) and Bale Pandiya (1962). He died on October 8, 1974 in Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

28. Kumar Shahani

Director | Maya Darpan

Kumar Shahani was born on December 7, 1940 in Larkana, British India. He is a director and writer, known for Maya Darpan (1972), Kasba (1991) and Khayal Gatha (1989).

29. Goutam Ghose

Director | Paar

Goutam Ghose was born on July 24, 1950 in Calcutta, West Bengal, India. He is a director and writer, known for Paar (1984), Patang (1993) and Yatra (2006).

30. Kadiri Venkata Reddy

Director | Shri Krishna Satya

Joined the film industry when his friend/producer Narayana Swamy Moola offered him the job of cashier for the movie Gruhalakshmi (1938).

31. Anand Patwardhan

Director | Ram Ke Naam

Anand Patwardhan was born on February 18, 1950 in Bombay, State of Bombay, India. He is a director and editor, known for Ram Ke Naam (1992), Jai Bhim Comrade (2011) and Pitra, Putra Aur Dharamyuddha (1994).

32. Raj Kapoor

Actor | Mera Naam Joker

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 ...

33. 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 ...

34. 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), Aan (1952) and Son of India (1962). He died on May 28, 1964 in Bombay, Maharashtra, India.

35. 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 to a father, who was a lawyer. He lost his mother when...

36. Basu Chatterjee

Director | Sara Akash

Basu Chatterjee was born on January 10, 1930 in Ajmer, British India. He is a director and writer, known for Sara Akash (1969), Rajnigandha (1974) and Swami (1977).

37. Sumitra Bhave

Director | Kaasav: Turtle

Born in Pune, where she also received her early education, on January 12th, 1943, Sumitra Bhave has been half of a decades long filmmaking partnership with the older male co-director,Sunil Sudakhar,also trained in Pune.The duo have made a number of award winning works on social issues, in the ...

38. Raj Khosla

Director | Prem Kahani

Raj Khosla was born on May 31, 1925 in Ludhiana, Punjab, British India. He was a director, known for Prem Kahani (1975), Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki (1978) and Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962). He died on June 9, 1991 in Bombay, Maharashtra, India.

39. Jahnu Barua

Director | Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door

Twelve times National Award winner Jahnu Barua is a well known film maker from India who has made 15 feature films so far. His films have won over 20 international awards including Silver Leopard at Locarno International Film Festival.

Hailing from Assam, Jahnu made 13 of his films in his native ...

40. Jijo Punnoose

Producer | Theekkadal

Son of veteran director Navodaya Appachan, founder of Navodaya Studio.

41. Upendra

Actor | Upendra

Upendra was born on September 18, 1967 in Koteshwara, Kundapura, Udupi, Karnataka, India. He is an actor and writer, known for Upendra (1999), Super (2010) and Uppi 2 (2015).

42. Kamal Haasan

Actor | Vishwaroopam

Kamal Haasan was born November 7, 1954 in Paramakudi, Tamil Nadu. He debuted as a child artiste in the film "Kalathoor Kannamma" (1960), which was released in the year 1960. Since then, he has starred in nearly 200 films in the major Indian languages - Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi. ...

43. Nasir Hussain

Writer | Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar

Nasir Husain Khan was born in Bhopal, India. He was the fourth of five children born to Jaffar Husain Khan, a history teacher, and Aamna, a housewife. He grew up a mischievous child in an orthodox family that looked down on films and theatrical works. Nevertheless, Nasir found himself working on ...

44. Ram Madhvani

Director | Neerja

Ram Madhvani is one of India's most respected filmmakers. His debut feature film Let's Talk premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. It then went on to win the Screen "Best Actor" award for Boman Irani and "Best Debut Director" at the Srinivas Gollapudi National Awards.

Ram's documentary, Everlasting...

45. Govind Nihalani

Cinematographer | Droh Kaal

Brother in law of Shatrughan Sinha ( Shatrughan is married to Govind's cousin Poonam aka actress Komal).

46. Anand Gandhi

Writer | Ship of Theseus

Born 26th September 1980 in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Anand started writing and directing plays in school at the age of 12. At 19, he wrote a total of hundred episodes of two television soap operas, which went on to become the most popular shows in the history of Indian Television. The same year ...

*future

47. S.S. Rajamouli

Writer | Bahubali: The Beginning

S.S. Rajamouli is a writer and producer, known for Baahubali (2015), Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017) and Eega (2012).

48. S. Shankar

Writer | Anniyan

Shankar is an Indian film director and producer who works mainly in Tamil cinema. He started his career as an assistant director to SA Chandrasekar and now he is the highest paid director in the country. He made his debut in Gentleman (1993) and since 2015 he has directed 12 movies. He won the ...

49. Ardeshir Irani

Director | Alam Ara

Ardeshir Irani was an exhibitor of foreign movies who eventually turned film producer. He set up Star Films Limited, along with Bhogilal K. M. Dave, and the studio's maiden film was the mythological Veer Abhimanyu in 1922. Irani later launched two more companies, Majestic Films and Royal Art Studio...

50. Ashutosh Gowariker

Writer | Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India

His passion for cinema immediately draws your attention, making you realize that Ashutosh Gowariker would not have been anywhere except behind the camera, however tempting the choice. An actor who took to film direction after almost a decade in front of the camera, Ashutosh has acted in Hindi films...

51. Bedabrata Pain

Producer | Chittagong

Born in Dhaka 1963 and raised in Calcutta. He graduated from IIT Kharagpur MS from Columbia university with Ph.D in applied physics. Bedabrata worked with NASA until 2008 as a scientist, contributing to 87 patents. Best known for CMOS sensors, which are used in DSLR, mobile camera. Now, he is a ...

52. Kamal Swaroop

Director | Om Dar-B-Dar

Kamal Swaroop is a director and writer, known for Om Dar-B-Dar (1988), Rangbhoomi (2013) and The Battle of Banaras (2015).

53. Basu Chatterjee

Director | Sara Akash

Basu Chatterjee was born on January 10, 1930 in Ajmer, British India. He is a director and writer, known for Sara Akash (1969), Rajnigandha (1974) and Swami (1977).

54. Lekh Tandon

Director | Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye

Lekh Tandon was born on February 13, 1929 in Lahore, Punjab, British India as Lekh Faqeer Chand Tandon. He was a director and actor, known for Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye (1977), Rang De Basanti (2006) and Swades (2004). He died on October 15, 2017 in Mumbai, India.

56. Amol Palekar

Director | Bangarwadi

Amol Palekar was born on November 24, 1944 in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India. He is an actor and director, known for The Village Had No Walls (1995), Gol Maal (1979) and Kairee (1999).

58. Chetan Anand

Director | Kudrat

Chetan Anand was born on January 3, 1921 in Lahore, Punjab, British India. He was a director and writer, known for Kudrat (1981), Haqeeqat (1964) and Neecha Nagar (1946). He died on July 10, 1997 in Delhi, India.

59. Kalpana Lajmi

Director | Ek Pal

Kalpana Lajmi was an important figure in Indian feminist filmmaking who unfortunately had to cut short her career as a director after twenty years (1986-2006)to take care of her husband, the Assamese poet, singer and composer Bhupen Hazarika with whom she had partnered in production ..Daughter of ...

60. Kamal Swaroop

Director | Om Dar-B-Dar

Kamal Swaroop is a director and writer, known for Om Dar-B-Dar (1988), Rangbhoomi (2013) and The Battle of Banaras (2015).

61. Kantilal Rathod

Director | Kanku

Father of director David Rathod.

62. Khwaja Ahmad Abbas

Writer | Shehar Aur Sapna

Educated at Aligarh Muslim University. Formerly a journalist and film critic for Bombay Chronicle.

63. Kishore Sahu

Actor | Mayurpankh

Kishore Sahu was born on November 22, 1915 in Raigarh, Madhya Pradesh, India. He was an actor and director, known for Mayurpankh (1954), Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960) and Hare Kanch Ki Chooriyan (1967). He died on August 22, 1980 in Bangkok, Thailand.

64. Kumar Shahani

Director | Maya Darpan

Kumar Shahani was born on December 7, 1940 in Larkana, British India. He is a director and writer, known for Maya Darpan (1972), Kasba (1991) and Khayal Gatha (1989).

65. M.S. Sathyu

Director | Garm Hava

M.S. Sathyu was born on July 3, 1930 in Mysore, Karnataka, India as Mysore Shrivinas Sathyu. He is a director and art director, known for Garm Hava (1974), The Famine (1980) and Ijjodu (2010).

66. Mahesh Bhatt

Producer | Raaz

Mahesh Bhatt was born on September 20, 1948 in Bombay, State of Bombay, India. He is a producer and director, known for Raaz (2002), Saaransh (1984) and Zakhm (1998). He is married to Soni Razdan.

67. Mani Kaul

Director | Duvidha

Mani Kaul was born on December 25, 1944 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. He was a director and writer, known for Duvidha (1973), Naukar Ki Kameez (1999) and Uski Roti (1970). He died on July 6, 2011 in New Delhi, India.

68. Rajinder Singh Bedi

Writer | Madhumati

RSBedi was born in sialkot district. He was mainly known as a prolific writer of stories in Urdu, his most well known work being Ek Chadar maili Si. He entered films as a scenarist and dialogue writer. Briefly became director of jammu and Kashmir Broadcasting Service, directorial debut in 1970 with...

69. Saeed Akhtar Mirza

Director | Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai

Saeed Akhtar Mirza was born on June 30, 1943 in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India. He is a director and writer, known for Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai (1980), Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan (1978) and Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989).

70. Shantaram Rajaram Vankudre

Director | Do Ankhen Barah Haath

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 ...

72. 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 ...

73. Manmohan Desai

Director | Naseeb

Manmohan Desai was born on February 26, 1937 in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India. He was a director and producer, known for Naseeb (1981), Kismat (1969) and Mard (1985). He died on March 1, 1994 in Bombay, Maharashtra, India.

74. Homi Wadia

Actor | Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela

Homi Wadia is an actor and producer, known for Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (2013), Jung (2000) and Saathi (1991).

75. Prakash Mehra

Director | Zanjeer

Born on 13 July 1939 in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, Mehra started in the late 1950s as a production controller. In 1968, he directed Shashi Kapoor who played a double role in Haseena Maan Jayegi in 1973, he produced and directed Zanjeer. This hit with Amitabh Bachchan started a long term and successful ...

76. Madhur Bhandarkar

Writer | Chandni Bar

Madhur Bhandarkar was born on August 26, 1966 in Bombay, Maharashtra, India. He is a writer and director, known for Chandni Bar (2001), Page 3 (2005) and Traffic Signal (2007). He has been married to Renu Namboodiri since December 15, 2003. They have one child.

77. Vishal Bhardwaj

Composer | Haider

Vishal Bhardwaj is an Indian film director, writer, composer, singer and producer. He has directed ten feature films, produced five and composed music for more than forty. His directorial work includes Makdee, The Blue Umbrella, Kaminey, 7 Khoon Maaf, Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola, Rangoon, Pataakha as...

78. 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 ...

79. Rajkumar Hirani

Writer | Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.

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

80. 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 '...

81. Pawan Kumar

Writer | Lucia

Pawan Kumar is a writer and actor, known for Lucia (2013), U Turn (2016) and Lifeu Ishtene (2011). He has been married to Sowmya Jaganmurthy since June 6, 2010. They have one child.

82. Bhaskar Hazarika

Writer | Kothanodi

Received his MA in Film & Drama from the University of Reading (UK).

83. Nagraj Manjule

Actor | Sairat

Nagraj Manjule is an actor and writer, known for Sairat (2016), An Essay of the Rain (2017) and Fandry (2013).

84. 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 ...



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