Super Five Directors of Bollywood

By Priyaankaa Mathur

Indian cinema happens to be one of the most flourishing industries in the world which has come a long way. Films files takes you to a journey through the lens to explore the works of some most sought after films directors and cinematographers of Bollywood.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee

His simplicity and warmth resounded in his work making him one of the most popular and loved film directors of the Indian cinema. He crafted magic with his characters in the film, who outshined with their simplicity creating such a vibe and an impression, which even large budgeted, star studied, glamorous films fail to achieve.

Hrishida as he was lovingly known in the industry began his journey in the Tinseltown in 1951 while he assisted another genius of his tribe Director Bimal Toy. Although his first directorial debut Musafir (1957) did not work that well, but it happened to impress Raj Kapoor who suggested his name for Directing Anari (1959)featuring Rajkapoor and Nutan. The film received critical acclaim and was eventually a box office success.

His next film Anuradha got him the presidents medal for directing the heart wrenching story of a medical professional who focusses on his work, neglects his family and wife. The film was indeed worth this recognition, which payed a tribute to medical professionals who sacrifice their own families to serve the humanity, which even makes it so relevant in these times of the Covid 19 pandemic.

In the next decade of 60s and 70s Hrishida made many films Asli-Naqli (1962), Anupama (1966), Aashirwad(1968),and Satyakam (1969) and Anand (1971) which turned out to be a masterpiece after a series of not so distinguished films. Anand was a classic which delivered a sense of compassion towards various situations in life giving an insight on how to live life with a balance and give hope to people inspite of one’s own fear of life and dealth. Rajesh Khanna received critical acclaim for playing a terminally ill man, who was full of life, before he finally rests to peace. The film brought indeed a Ray of hope and good beginning of the new decade as the film bagged 5 film fare awards.

There after Hrishida gave a series of excellent films like Guddi staring Amitabh Bacchan and Jaya Bahaduri as a debutant, which eventually ended up teaming up the duo for life, after Abhimaan in (1973), that being the Bacchan’s greatest performance together. Hrishida directed the hilarious comedy Chupke chupke (1975) which showed his extremely skilled depiction of a middle class family depicting a hilarious chaos in the life of a newlywed couple and the people around them. He won several awards for his real life portrays which touching the right chords of his audiences, which makes him one of the most remembered film directors till today.

Guru Dutt

The song ‘Ye duniya agar mil bhi Jaye to Kya hai’ from Pyaasa, clouds your mind thinking about the enigmatic genius with dreamy eyes and intense looks, who was non other than the legendary actor director, Guru Dutt the known as the king of tragedy in Indian cinema.

His excellence in cinematography is evident from his lighting techniques in the films like Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool and Sahib and Bibi Aur Ghulam.
Born with an eye for excellence Guru Dutt was a perfectionist known for his exotic visuals especially, close ups and beautiful use of light and shade.One can never forget one such beautiful effect he created with the beam of light in the song ‘Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam’.It was once he was shooting for pyaasa that he saw a beam of light coming through the ventilator of Natraj studio. He became obsessed with the effect and persisted to have the same effect unless his team succeed to create that effect with smoke and mirrors to reflect a beam of sunlight. Finally, the song was shot, which is considered one of the most classic shots in the celluloid history.

While his film Kaagaz Ke Phool was India’s first Cinemascope film wherein he crafted some of the finest visuals for the Indian cinema. Again, it just happened that the 20th Century Fox left their Cinemascope after the shoot in India and their manager offered Guru Dutt to try the equipment, so after trying some shots and rushes he decided to shoot the full film.

Guru Dutta produced art cinema in the commercial cinema framework using melodrama aesthtically, being the the pioneer of tragedy. But, also had a mastery on the genres of crime as he created many crime thrillers with the films like Baazi, CID, Aar-Paar having introduced the first villain as an anti-hero in the film Jaal (1952).

Guru Dutt was a restless genius with a volatile combination of creative zeal and deep sentimentalism, who was childlike in nature haunted by the futility of being alone. Inspite of his struggles he created some unforgettable gems which will always be remembered in the history of India cinema.

Bimal Roy

Inspired by Italian neo realistic cinema Bimal Roy was known for is realistic films like Do Bigha Zameen (1953), Bandini (1963), Biraj Bahu (1954), Madhumati (1958). His films bought light to the social conditions and human emotions, bringing forth an aesthetic, moral, and political sensibility in the lending a food for thought to the audiences.

Bimal Roy began his careers as a cameraman for shooting documentaries in (1932-33) while his foray into films was showcased when he got hired as a publicity photographer by Promothesh Barua. Later assisted the cameraman Nitin Bose, command over lighting and composition was noticed and brought to light. He perfected his art working as a cameraman on more than ten films before he attempted his first director debut Hamarahi in 1945 which was a Hindi remake of the Bengali film Udayer Pathey.

His films like Do Bhigha Zameen, showcased the plight of the farmers in the times of famine The film received critical acclaim and won the Prix international Prize and became the first Indian film to reach the Cannes film festival. Bandini showcased the British Era love of 1930s between a prison doctor falling in love with a woman prisoner Kalyani played by Nutan who was entangled in her memories, later opens her secret about her connection with a freedom fighter. The film showed sensitive human emotions and the sufferings of the freedom fighters in the British era.

The film was a perfect commercial film in an art film genre, known for it’s excellent direction, cinematography and a melodic music score with songs like ‘Mera gora rang laile’ sung by Lataji and the soul stirring Patriotic number ‘Mat ro mata’ sung by Manna dey.

Bimalda won a number of awards throughout his career, including eleven Filmfare Awards, two National Film Awards, and the International Prize of the Cannes Film Festival. Madhumati won 9 Filmfare Awards in 1958, a record held for 37 year. While,The recent remakes of his films Parineeta ( with Vidya Balan), Devdas (with Shah Rukh Khan) and Lagaan (with Amir Khan) and testify the enduring influence of Bimal Roy’s work.

Manmohan Desai

Known as the king of masala films Manmohan Desai was indeed a trend setter in the Indian cinema who promised thorough entertainment and an absolute no brainier films. His films were known for glamorous dream sequences, larger than life portrayals of actors, high on drama emotions, challenging action sequences, and an enormous amount of suspense and miraculous endings, all of which made main stream cinema in Bollywood highly popular across the globe.

Born into the family of filmmakers his father Kekubai Desai being a film director and brother Subhash Desai who was a producer, Manmohan directed his first film Chaliya with Nutan and Raj Kapoor in 1960. Over the next two decades Manmohan Desai gave super hits teaming up with Amitabh Bacchan in Akbar Anthony(1977), Parvarish (1977), Naseeb (1981), and Coolie (1983).

His films which kept the audiences glued to the films, as they could relate to his simple characters which appeared larger than life. He knew how to show dreams to the Indian populace by creating a hero figure from a common man be it a hard-working Mazdoor in coolie. While a slum dwelling orphan in Amar Akbar Anthony played by Amitabh Bacchan, was shown growing into a handsome hunk who romances the gorgeous Parween Bobby singing ‘ My name is Anthony Gonsalvis’, who later meets his lost brothers Rishi Kapoor and Vinod Khanna. They all followed different faiths, eventually get together to fight the criminals and unite with their respective partners.

Infact, it was Manmohan Desai films who took Amitabh Bacchan to the peak of his career, as the duo went on to make some of the biggest hits of both their careers together including Naseeb, Desh Premee, Parwarish delivering back-to-back hits.

Yash Chopra

Known for creating the eternal romantic sagas, Yash Chopra was not just a filmmaker but a bonafide institution in himself who taught Indian filmmakers the art of making romantic films.

A man with a Midas touch Yash Chopra was indeed a king maker who gave Shah Rukh Khan some of the biggest hits in Bollywood. His biggest blockbuster Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge ran 25 years in Maratha mandir, while his characters Raj enacted by Shahrukh Khan and simran played by Kajol, made them global sensations overnight, taking Indian cinema to global frontiers.

Yash Chopra began his career assisting I.S Johar and his brother B R Chopra directing many successful films together like Waqt 1965 and ‘Ittefaq’ in 1969.But, It was in 1970 Yash Chopra decided to start on his own and launched his company Yash Raj Films in a small room in producer V Shantaram’s office. His self belief, hard work and his dedication towards his art made Yash Raj Films one of the biggest production companies the country has today.

He produced a series of megahits from Kabie Kabhie, Silsila, Chandni, Darr, Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Veer-Zaara,Mohabattein, Chak De India, giving the indian cinema a most romantic canvas showcasing exotic,locations, elegant costumes and heart touching melodies which became the trade marks and the most important constituents of the Yash Raj Films.

Yashji had a unique understanding of the human nature which reflected in his characters what makes him a people’s director for his real life portrayals on the reel as the magic of his films still lingers with his audiences.

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