Most Successful Directors

– by Abhishek Sharma (Indicine Guest Author) – He has also written Top 10 Most Awaited movies of 2012 and Is Akshay Kumar a threat to the top spot

If you wish to contribute to Indicine -> Click here

The director is the captain of the ship, someone who is responsible for guiding his cast and crew. Directors are also responsible for the camera angles, lighting, set design and various other aspects of film-making, of course with the help of various other specialists like cinematographer, set designers, music composer etc.

Since a director is the most important person behind any films, his skills are critical to a film’s success. So, here is my list of the 10 most successful directors today. List is purely based on what impact their movies have had at the box office and the hype surrounding their next release. But since there are so many ‘talented’ directors in the industry, this list is purely based on their commercial success. I am not judging their talent or creativity here.

Most successful directors

Rajkumar Hirani1. Rajkumar Hirani: He has directed just 3 movies but each one of them is a masterpiece in itself. Be it MunnaBhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munna Bhai or 3 Idiots, all films are arguably the most entertaining movies of the current era. His simple and perfect execution of the script makes him my top and most looked upon director at this time. Even Aamir Khan, who doesn’t repeat directors, has decided to work with him again. Waiting eagerly for Peekay.


Aditya Chopra2. Aditya Chopra: Although he is the one of the most powerful personalities in the industry today, the only reason why Chopra is at No 2 is because he very rarely directs. From 1995 to now, he has directed only 3 movies; Diwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Mohabbatein and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. DDLJ is the mother of all modern day romantic movies. It’s the Titanic of Bollywood. Mohabbatein and RNDBJ were the 2nd biggest hits of 2000 and 2008 respectively, only behind Kaho Na Pyaar Hai and Ghajini.


Rakesh Roshan3. Rakesh Roshan: One of the most successful commercial directors in history, Roshan tasted success with his directorial debut in Khudgarz (1987). Khoon Bhari Maang and Karan Arjun were hugely successful, after which Koyla failed at the box-office. Since then every Rakesh Roshan directed film has done well at box-office; Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, Koi Mil Gaya, Krrish not only made him one of the biggest directors of recent times but were also the turning points in Hrithik Roshan’s career. Krrish 3, no doubt, has success written all over it.


Karan Johar4. Karan Johar: His very first movie, Kuch Kuch Hota hai, established him as a prominent director. With Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, he managed to pull off a casting coup with biggest superstars from the past, present and future. He changed his track successfully with My Name is Khan and is now is set to direct his first non-SRK movie with Student of the Year. Looking forward to it. Can he recreate the magic of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai?


Imtiaz Ali5. Imtiaz Ali: This man knows the pulse of the audience and has proved it with Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal and Rockstar. Each movie is unique and special. Ali is also one of the very few directors today who has achieved both commercial as well as critical success. Waiting to see what he has in store with his adaptation of 2 States.


Farhan Akhtar6. Farhan Akhtar: His movies speak for themselves. Dil Chahta Hai was a revelation, a game-changer. And while Lakshya failed to make a mark at the box-office, it’s one of Farhan’s best. With the success of the Don series starring Shahrukh Khan, he has shown his skills in all types of genres. Tweaking the Don climax, to take the series forward, was a great idea that worked. Farhan has also achieved huge success as a script / dialogue writer, actor and singer.


Anees Bazmee7. Anees Bazmee: Anees Bazmee started his career with Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha or Deewaangee. But the reason why he is one of the most successful directors today are films like No Entry, Welcome, Singh is King and Ready. These movies have been watched by crores of people in theatres and they have such huge repeat value that they are aired almost every week on Television. Sequel to No Entry is eagerly awaited.


Rohit Shetty8. Rohit Shetty: Over a period of time, Rohit Shetty has become a force to be reckoned with. With the success of Golmaal series and All the Best, he proved that he has the skills to tickle the funny bone. But the surprising part was the mega success of Singham which proved him to be an all rounder. Bol Bachchan is looking good and Chennai Express with SRK will be huge.


Milan Luthria9. Milan Luthria: Milan has also been a part of the industry for a long time now. He tasted success early with movies like Kachche Dhaage and Taxi No. 9211. But recently he has peaked with the success of Once Upon A Time In Mumbai and The Dirty Picture. The sequel to OUATIM with Akshay Kumar looks like a sure-shot winner.


Sajid Khan10. Sajid Khan: All 3 movies directed by Sajid – Heyy Babby, Housefull and Housefull 2 – have been hugely successful.  Housefull came at a time when Akshay movies weren’t faring too well and same was the case with Housefull 2. He is now trying his hands in a different genre with Himmatwala. What makes Sajid special is his (over) confidence.. It takes guts to call your film a super-hit before release. Infact, he promised the entire cast of Housefull 2 their biggest career hits and delivered!



I have excluded some great directors from the list because of the fate of their recent movies. Be it Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Saawariya & Guzaarish), Ashutosh Gowariker (Whats Your Rashee, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se), Prakash Jha (Aarakshan), Farah Khan (Tees Maar Khan) , Ram Gopal Varma (too many to list) and Rajkumar Santoshi. Also I am not considering veteran film makers like Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, David Dhawan, Priyadarshan, Sooraj Barjatya or Mani Rathnam.

Please let me know if I am missing someone more deserving here. Also note, that this list is about the ‘most successful’ directors today and not ‘Top 10 directors’.



  • I think in Today’s date after Raju hirani rohit shetty is best direcor n after bol bachchan n chennai express he would be certainly on the top spot

  • Where are the Bhatt’s,they have given sum superb movies like
    Murder series,Jannat series,Aashiqui,Zakhm!!!!

  • my list
    1.yash chpra
    2.aditya chopra
    3.karan johar
    4.raj kumar hirani
    5.sanjai lila bhansali
    6.suraj barjatya
    7.raj kumar santosi
    8.prakash jha
    9.farhan akhtar
    10.asutosh govarikar.

  • that’s unfair! where is Madhur Bhandarkar? I think he at least deserves in the top 10 list.. you joking! Sajid is there :P

  • Rakesh roshan is most underrated director he should be top in your list he has most hits compare to others in your list his record speaks for himself and he has adapted or changed according to time eg krissh

  • Guys,

    There have been so many queries regarding Sooraj Barjatya. There is no doubting the fact that he is a legendary director but somehow in the current race i feel he is little out of place. His first 2 movies were extraordinary and Hum Saath Saath Hain was also superhit but that was 13 years ago.

    Then Main Prem Ki Deewaani Hoon was a disaster and Vivah also worked mainly because of low budget and small release. And on top of that there is no movie directed by him in the past 6 years and nothing seems to be in pipeline also. Thats the sole reason.

    Abhishek Sharma

  • @Abhishek.. Nice list and your replies does make a lot of sense. Sooraj Barjatya was a great director, but in the last decade he has only directed two movies and one flopped. The other was a blockbuster in smaller cities only and made just 30 crores I think.

    Prabhu Deva you just cant include that loser in the list. Both his movies were scene to scene rips of South Indian movies. How does that make him the director? How can he take credit as a director the original was directed by someone else? Lets see how he does when he directs a original.

    I would put Aditya Chopra below Rakesh Roshan as he is only successful because of SRK. His only good movie was DDLJ, the other two were craps. Ditto for Karan Johar who has fallen to new lows with each film. His best film was Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Most of the others dont come close.

  • @ indicine perpact rajkumar hirani no 1 direct in bollywood just 3 movie and 3 idiots present no 1 movie in hindi cinema

  • @ Indicine: This is perfect …… The list would have been same if u would have got legends or others ….. because its for the recent time.
    Yash Chopra, y u want him for trash like Veer Zaara, which hardly one can tolerate today. In that case i feel i would keep Gulzar sahab at spot 1

    Subash Ghai, he should have taken retirement by Saudagar, as that was the last movie which had repetitive element. Pardes and Taal are intolerable as per his standard.

    Ashutosh, well he doent know the how to direct a feature film, he makes them docu drama.

    Mani Ratnam: Critically i love more than any other person from that list, but the list was for most successful directors not the most SKILLED ones….. so accepted

    Do let me know indicine what u think about this ?


  • Sahil, the article is written by Abhishek Sharma, so he’d probably be the right person to answer.

    If your still keen on my list.. then here it is

    1) Rajkumar Hirani (critical acclaim and commercial success)
    2) Rakesh Roshan (critic response has been mixed toward his films, but unmatched success at BO)

    After those two, it’s Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar and Sajid Khan (all of them have 100% success ratio).

  • Hi Sahil,

    I completely agree with you. If it would be not of recent times, then i would have definitely included David Dhawan and Priyadarshan above than Rathnam, Ghai or Chopra.

    Abhishek Sharma

  • 1. Anuraag Kashyap
    2. Dibakar Banerjee
    3. Zoya Akhtar
    4. Tigmanshu Dhuliya
    5. Imtiaz Ali
    6. Madhur Bhandarkar
    7. Rajkumar Hirani
    8. Abhinay Deo

  • You missed the great Yash ji n said u excluded veterans n ters RR in t list
    You should rate a director according to his talent wit different genres
    n U missd Zoya Akthar (Farhans Siz)

  • @shah. u r absolutely right. the list shld be
    1. karan johar
    2. rakesh roshan
    3. aditya chopra
    4. rajkumar hirani
    5. imitiaz ali
    and others.
    pls we are talking about quality directors that hv directed quality, original and meaningful movies regardless of their box office returns not meaningless, unoriginal n stupid ‘masala’ movies like ready, om shaanti om, rowdy rathore, bodyguard, housefull series and even dabangg dt only depend on superstars to sell dr movies. the above top directors hv made movies that will be remembered time after time like DDLJ, KKHH, KKKG, KHNH, KNPH, KRRISH SERIES, DHOOM SERIES, 3 IDIOTS, ROCKSTAR/LOVE AAJ KAAL, etc

  • Raju hirani and Rakesh roshan most tallented directors
    Where is priyadarshan’s name in top 10? he proudly deserve in top 10 his movies more than good for
    Milan luthria and sajid khan

  • @Indecine team aditya chopra, karan johar Why not them 100% success they are directed only romantic movies not trying to difference like action, comedy and sajid khan trying only comedy but rakesh roshan trying always diffrence.. Then who is great director?

  • Hahaha aditya chopra, directed only three movies DDLJ, Mohabbatein And Rab ne banai jobi all of romantic movies not difference then why gave him 2nd no. Rakesh roshan is perfect 2nd no.

  • rakesh roshan and aditya chopra truely my favourites they are successfull and also making good movies :) and that not every director does for example sajid khan ;) or even more anees bazmee

  • @salman, u r damn ryt buddy ! rakesh roshan deserves to b on top, d bst thing abt him is he is a director frm d past bt he has adapted himself frm tym to tym acc to d audience’s taste n dats d mst appreciable thing fr any director, hats off to him , he changed d face of romantic films wid kaho naa pyaar hai n gav us a gem lyk hrithik, tuk bollywood to new heights wid introduction of science fiction n superhero genres wich wud hav nvr been possible widout him ! while directors lyk yash chopra, aditya chopra, karan johar, rohit shetty etc hav always stick to their comfort genres n nvr showed versatility

  • hey guys …….plz leave yash chopra ,,, as he is really beyond hit or flop …he is really the best director india has ever produced……. and yes suraj barjatya deserves to be in this list for sure…….but whether you believe it or not vivah was flop… acc to this list aditya chopra should be on top ….becoz of 1 ATBB and 2BB as in DDLJ and MOHOBBATEIN&RNBDJ and no flop………

  • My fav Directors list (Note: Not given in serial vise)

    1) Raj Kumar Santoshi
    2) Priyadarshan
    3) Abbas-Mastan
    4) David Dhawan
    5) Prakash Jha
    6) Raj Kumar Hirani
    7) Imtiaz Ali
    8) Dibarkar Banerjee
    9) Sooraj R. Barjatya
    10) Madhur Bhandarkar

    The others r Anurag Basu, Anurag Kashyap, Anees Bazmee, Rohit Shetty, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Milan Luthria etc

Leave a Comment