These directors took risks that paid off handsomely; they defied convention, broke away from formula and delivered films you didn’t expect from them
With Kahaani, the director produced a slick thriller with a woman as his protagonist. With Vidya Balan and an array of established Bengali actors, he shot within a tight budget and had a festive Kolkata as the backdrop. “I always wanted to do this story. Things were difficult for me after Alladin (his previous film) turned out to be a flop. People told me me not to do Kahaani, as it wasn’t a conventional film,” says Sujoy.
Anurag’s heart-warming story of a deaf and mute boy (the title character, Barfi, played by Ranbir Kapoor) and his relationship with two girls, Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz) and the autistic Jhilmil (Priyanka Chopra), became India’s official entry to the Oscars. “I had written this film thinking it would allow me to flex my directorial muscles and make a true entertainer. It was a simple decision,” says Anurag.
With Vicky Donor, the director picked the urban but offbeat subject (of sperm donation and its social perception) and a fresh lead pair, Ayushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam. “It was a spontaneous idea to make this film. When I started writing the script, I slowly grew more confident about it. I thought men with such a problem or doctors and clinics would not like it, but I was surprised to be flooded with appreciation from everyone,” Shoojit says.
The screenplay writer who made his directorial debut in 2010 with the family drama Do Dooni Chaar, starring veteran actors Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, ventured, all guns blazing, hinterland into Ishaqzaade. This time, his cast comprised newcomers Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra. “I wanted to create a world which is fresh. If I took an established star, then the essence of the small town would have been lost,” says Faisal.
The director is known for delivering dramatic family dramas with all-star ensemble casts. He kept the drama, but took a big risk by casting only newcomers in Student Of The Year. Karan says, “I have reached a position where I can justify a decision like this. I’ve worked with established stars, and it was time to promote new talent.”
The hottest debutant directors of 2012
The ad-filmmaker turned director with a touching film. English Vinglish also marked a remarkable comeback for the yesteryear star Sridevi. “It was my conviction and sheer belief in the emotional trajectory of this film. I didn’t have any other idea that would have competed with it,” Gauri says.
The director made his debut with OMG: Oh My God, a film adaptation of the Gujarati play, Krishan Vs Kanhaiya. The plot is straightforward and endearing. The film worked critically and at the box office. “The corruption in the system and in religion evolved into OMG,” Umesh says.
The actor-turned-producer took on the responsibility of directing the sequel to the 2010 blockbuster, Dabangg. “I got into production with the mindset that one day, I would direct. After Abhinav opted out, everyone wondered who would make the sequel. Then I took over the reins,” Arbaaz says.
Ashish R Mohan
Ashish started off as an assistant director in the hit Golmaal series. This year, he entered the industry as a director with his debut film, the Akshay Kumar-starrer Khiladi 786 “I set out with the thought of making a complete family entertainer,” Ashish says.
The Rs 100 cr club
Sajid Khan: Known to make comic capers, with Housefull 2, Sajid proved that senseless comedy makes big money.
Kabir Khan: His Ek Tha Tiger was the year’s biggest hit, almost touching R200cr.
Rohit Shetty: He delivered one of the first R100cr films of 2012 with Bol Bachchan.
Prabhudheva: He successfully mixed Akshay Kumar’s trademark action with south Indian masala. Thus, Rowdy Rathore was born.
Karan Malhotra: Everyone was sceptical about the idea of remaking Agneepath. Karan’s Hrithik Roshan-starrer shut up the detractors.
Yash Chopra: The late director’s larger-than-life films and romance was seen for the last time with the superhit Jab Tak Hai Jaan.