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Top 10 Indian Movie Directors Of All Time

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Indian cinema has seen many great directors from different regions, from different backgrounds, from different milieu. But when one thinks of Indian cinema, it is the Hindi cinema (“Bollywood“) that first comes to mind. Therefore, when preparing this list we were cognizant of the fact that Indian cinema is so much more than just Bollywood.

So, here are the list of top 10 Indian movie directors whom we all admire the most.

Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray

Satyajit Ray

This would come as no surprise to the fans of Indian cinema, especially since no filmmaker has ever close to achieving the artistic magnificence of Satyajit Ray. Who would have thought that the young 28-year old who assisted Jean Renoir with his shooting of the ‘The River’ in India would go to become the one of the greatest auteurs in the history of cinema. With a debut that jolted Western critics into putting Indian cinema on the map, Ray’s ‘Pather Panchali’ is one of the most profoundly humane movies we have ever seen.

Guru Dutt

Guru Dutt

Guru Dutt

Guru Dutt directed arguably the greatest Hindi film of all time: ‘Pyaasa’. But he didn’t just stop with ‘Pyaasa’; he went on to make other eternal classics like ‘Saheb Biwi Aur Ghulam’ and ‘Kagaz ke Phool’. Dense with ideas of social change, and scathing commentary on the incumbent malice and stigmas of society, his films not only epitomized the golden age of Indian cinema but also was a reflection of Indian bourgeois itself.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Hrishikesh Mukherjee has made several great films, but if he had made just ‘Anand’, he would have still been counted as one of the all-time greats. The real genius of Hrishikesh Mukherjee lied in his simplicity. That’s why his films don’t shock you; they touch you in a way that only real life stories do. There have been many filmmakers who have got inspired by his story-telling style, but no one has ever been able replicate Mukherjee’s effortlessness.

 K Balachander

K Balachander

K Balachander

Arguably one of the finest filmmakers in the history of Tamil cinema, K Balachander was instrumental in bringing back strong subject matter to mainstream cinema at a time when cheap action thrillers were ruling the roost. A prolific filmmaker/screenwriter with more than 100 movies across four languages to his name, what made Balachander stand out from the rest was his undivided focus on complex interpersonal relationships and their fickle nature.

G Aravindan

G Aravindan

G Aravindan

It would be wrong to call someone as multifaceted and skilled as G Aravindan just a filmmaker. A trained Hindustani classical musician and a professional cartoonist for over a decade, Aravindan was a complete artist in the truest sense of the word. And his work across various platforms depicts his artistic philosophy, a certain poignancy and individuality in his ideals and principles.

Mani Ratnam

Mani Ratnam

Mani Ratnam

Mani Ratnam is often credited to revolutionizing the way Tamil films are made. He has been making films since 1983, so he does know how Indian cinema has evolved over the decades. Although he primarily works in the Tamil film industry, he has given us some really iconic films in Hindi as well. These include films like Yuva, Raavan & Guru, all of which turned out to be cult classics despite their box office shortcomings. He also has his own production company called Madras Talkies.

Rajkummar Hirani

Rajkummar Hirani

Rajkummar Hirani

Admit it, you saw this one coming. The director who cracked the code of making films that would rake in Rs 100 Crores & even Rs 200 Crores had to be on the list. The confidence that producers and filmmakers have on this man is more than enough for him to charge what he charges. Apart from his fees, he takes a minuscule cut from the profits too, if some reports are to be believed.

Mrinal Sen

Mrinal Sen

Mrinal Sen

The life and work of Mrinal Sen cannot be quantified in a few hundred words; in fact, nothing can. One of the most contemplative auteurs cinema has ever seen, he along with his contemporaries Satyajith Ray and Ritwik Ghatak revolutionized the face of parallel cinema in India. Despite being heavily inspired by Western cinematic ideas like surrealism, German expressionism and Italian neorealism, Sen’s cinema was always undeniable Indian in its execution.

Shyam Benegal

Shyam Benegal

Shyam Benegal

The poster boy of art filmmaking in Hindi cinema, Shyam Benegal inspired a generation with his immaculate exploration of the human condition. Benegal’s films are the kind which takes time to grow on you. But ones they do, you will realize the complex existential themes beneath the simple premises.

Rituporno Ghosh

Rituporno Ghosh

Rituporno Ghosh

Probably the most underrated filmmaker in this list, Rituporno Ghosh is arguably one of the greatest Bengali filmmakers ever, and that is no mean feat considering the contribution of Bengal to Indian cinema in general. Ghosh’s films, whether it is the emotionally wrangled ‘Raincoat’ or the Miss Marple (the famed fictitious character created by Agatha Christie) inspired ‘Shubho Mahurat’; have always managed to end up being a subtle examination of complex human relationships.

Now, here are the top 10 most popular and evergreen Indian movie directors whom you shouldn’t miss watching!

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