Indian cinema, in its glorious 100 years, has churned out some of the finest and best directors who have revolutionized the craft of filmmaking.
They have made path-breaking films, established several stars and have paved way for Bollywood’s success, not just here, but also globally.
MensXP looks at 10 such remarkable directors who changed the face of Indian celluloid and how!
1) Raj Kapoor
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Fondly nicknamed as the ‘showman’, Raj Kapoor belongs to what is considered the first family of Bollywood. Starting his career as a clapper boy, Raj directed his first film Aag, at the age of 24. He was multitalented - an actor, producer and director, however, his biggest strength lay in his ability to gauge the public’s sensibilities and box-office trends. He went on to direct/produce many blockbusters such as Barsaat, Awaara, Shree 420, Sangam and Mera Naam Joker, in which he impersonated the famous Charlie Chaplin that later established his screen image. He also reinforced careers of many film actresses who rose to stardom under his wings. Long gone, he still continues to be an inspiration for many a filmmaker.
2) Bimal Roy
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His flair to blend realism, art and cinema together to produce something magnificent, was extraordinary. His films always had a social element and were heavily inspired from Italian neo-realistic cinema. His highly acclaimed Do Bigha Zameen won the prestigious International Prize of the Cannes Film Festival. Besides, he also won numerous National and International awards throughout his career. However, his cinema was beyond awards. His films were always backed with strong content, soulful music and powerful actors. That makes him legendary and his contribution to the cinematic world par excellence.
3) Hrishikesh Mukherjee
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You don’t have to be an avid watcher of Bollywood films to know Hrishikesh Mukherjee. And we can’t sum up his films in a few words for they were epic! Anand, Bawarchi, Chupke Chupke, Abhimaan, Namak Haraam, Gol Maal, Anari and Mili are some of his blockbusters that not only enthralled the masses but also established many well-known stars. Especially known to cater to the ‘aam addmi’, Hrishi da captured the essence of middle-class ethos vis-a-vis his social films, for which, he is also known as the pioneer of the ‘middle cinema’ of India. He continues to inspire film-makers even today.
4) Guru Dutt
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Considered to be the ‘Orson Welles’ of Bollywood, Guru Dutt is a director to reckon with. He brought in the golden period of Hindi cinema with films like Kaagaz Ke Phool, Mr. & Mrs. ’55, Sailaab and Jaal. His films are considered to be the finest works of art that Indian cinema has ever witnessed. In fact, Pyaasa was rated as one of the best 100 films of all time by the TIME magazine. He is also credited for introducing Waheeda Rahman to Hindi cinema. Although, he moved beyond direction and took to acting and choreographing, his legacy, however, is still unmistakable.
5) Manmohan Desai
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At a time when Hindi cinema was going through a dry period in terms of box-office collections and creativity, Manmohan Desai introduced the concept of ‘Masala’ movies. His family-oriented films were filled with action-song-and-dance sequences that catered to the tastes of the Indian masses. He also witnessed a string of hits with actor Amitabh Bachchan in his films like Amar Akbar Anthony, Coolie, Parvarish, Suhaag, Desh Premee, Mard and Ganga. He also worked with other actors such as Shashi Kapoor, Statrughan Sinha and Jeetendra. Out of the 20 films that he made in his career span of 29 years, as many as 13 were stupendous hits.