7 Iconic Indian Film Directors You Should Know

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K. Balachander

One of the greatest Indian filmmakers, and a pioneer of Tamil cinema, Balachander started out with theatre before turning screenwriter for Dheiva Thaai (1964), followed the next year by his directorial debut Neerkumizhi. He also helmed films in Telugu, Hindi, and Kannada, finishing with over eighty films to his credit.

Balu Mahendra

Mahendra started out as a cinematographer, working with the camera for over twenty years before venturing into direction with Kokila in 1979, following which he directed twenty-five more films till 2013 across five languages.

Girish Karnad

Karnad may be better known as an actor, playwright, and screenwriter, but he was also a prolific filmmaker, debuting in 1971 with Vamsha Vriksha, directing another twelve films in Kannada and Hindi.

Satyajit Ray

The first Indian filmmaker with a sizeable impact on world cinema was the visual artist from Calcutta who debuted with the 1955 film Pather Panchali, directing over thirty films in Bengali, English, and Hindi over the subsequent years.

Raj Kapoor

Kapoor started out young as a filmmaker, leveraging being Prithviraj Kapoor's son well. He started out with Aag in 1948, which he also produced and starred in, and then made another nine films, playing the lead in five of them, and also editing a few of them.

Ritwik Ghatak

Ghatak started out as a theatre actor, director, and playwright before appearing on screen in 1950, producing a screenplay in 1957, and then making his first film in 1958: Ajantrik, becoming better known for his Partition Trilogy. He directed a total of eight films till his premature demise.

Yash Chopra

Chopra started out as an assistant to I.S. Johar and then worked for his brother B.R. Chopra, who produced his debut film Dhool Ka Phool in 1959. After eleven years as a director under various companies, Chopra founded Yash Raj Films and created a niche for himself. He directed a total of twenty-two films, specialising in swooning romances and gritty dramas.

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