These directors took risks that paid off handsomely. They defied convention, broke away from formula and delivered films that were anything but conventional.
Anurag’s heart-warming film, Barfi, about a deaf-and-mute boy (played by Ranbir Kapoor) and his relationship with two girls, Shruti (Ileana D’Cruz) and 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 an 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,” says Shoojit.
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 the all guns blazing hinterland with 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 high-octane 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.
“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,” says Karan.
With Kahaani, the director produced a slick thriller with a pregnant woman as his protagonist. With Vidya Balan and an array of established Bengali actors, he shot the film in 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) flopped. People told me not to do Kahaani, as it wasn’t a conventional film, but I’m glad I went ahead,” says Sujoy.
Best directorial debuts
The ad-filmmaker turned director with a touching film, English Vinglish. The film also marked Sridevi’s comeback. “I had complete conviction and belief in the emotional trajectory of this film,” says Gauri.
The director debuted with OMG! Oh My God, a film adaptation of the Gujarati play, Krishan Vs Kanhaiya. “The corruption in the
system and in religion evolved into my film OMG,” says Umesh.
Arbaaz turned director with Dabangg2, sequel to the 2010 hit, Dabangg. “I got into production with the mindset that one day, I would direct. After Abhinav (Kashyap) opted out, I took over the reins,” he says.
Ashish R Mohan
Ashish started off as an assistant director in the Golmaal series. This year, he debuted as a director with the Akshay Kumar-starrer Khiladi 786. “I wanted to make a family entertainer,” says Ashish.