Cinema perhaps would never have been half the enigma if there weren’t any terrific directors to extract the best even out of best actors. Indeed, the mind behind the camera is at least as crucial as the faces in front of it. And because direction is no mean job, it does mean hefty pays and perhaps even heftier profits. No wonder directors today are richer than ever, what with cinematic brilliance being a proposition even attractive than the mere starry presences. Here’s rounding up the 15 richest directors in India who prove acting is not always only about the actor-
Net worth: $172 million
With some of the most path breaking of Indian cinematic experiences in his kitty, Bollywood director Rajkumar Hirani is a gem of a talent. And all that finesse and hardwork reflects not just in the rave critical acclaims his films command but also in the box office numbers. His films have been regular big grossers with exemplary content and brilliant direction, and that itself helps Hirani peak the list of biggest filmmakers in India. Even when his filmography boasts of only a handful of films, Hirani has mad sure that it is quality that matters over quantity, except of course in the wealth collections.
S. S. Rajamouli
Net worth: $13 million
Best known for crafting out his magnum opus Baahubali that has been one of the highest grossing Indian movies ever, director S. S. Rajamouli no doubt can lay claim to being among the richest of his clan in the country. With his films having won laurels at numerous national and international festivals, the director who works predominantly in Telugu cinema is also one of the finest in India. Known mainly for churning out high fantasy action films, Rajamouli is also the Highest paid of Indian directors. After the stupendous success of Baahubali: The Beginning, the prolific filmmaker was reportedly paid 100 crores in Indian rupees for directing the sequel!
Net worth: $200 million
Bollywood’s favorite multitasker, Karan Johar is a name that transcends the spheres of mere acting and directing. KJo could be the quintessential Bollywood hero- multi talented and flamboyant but for all his efforts at filmmaking, he is instead the richest director of India. Also a producer and screenwriter, actor and fashion designer, chat show host and reality television judge, Johar however is most famous as one of the leading director- producers of India. As the man behind the camera of such timeless names like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to launching fresh talent time and again, Johar has kept his coffers flowing for more than two decades now and continues to be one among the successful names in the film industry.
Net worth: $18.3 million
A master of his craft and one of the most exceptional directors of India, ace filmmaker Mani Ratnam also rakes in the moolah with his talent. A leading name in Tamil cinema and also parallely in Bollywood, Mani Ratnam’s expertise and skills meant that his films received critical laurels as well as commercial success. A decorated filmmaker himself, most of Ratnam’s works have also achieved international claim, making this masterclass of a director a worthy overseer of the wealth he possesses.
Net worth: $10 million
The forever spellbinding saga of friendship as depicted in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara perhaps would not have been half as poignant if it indeed was not for director Zoya Akhtar’s brilliance. In just her second directorial venture, Akhtar set benchmarks for filmmakers out there, asserting her prowess as an exceptional cinematic mind. With a mere five films to her credit, Akhtar still is one of the richest directors in India. That itself speaks enough of her adeptness at handling superstars with authority from behind the camera.
Net worth: $40 million
For someone with a half a century foothold in the world of films, it is now wonder that the experience and expertise of Bollywood veteran Rakesh Roshan has made him one of the richest directors in India. The name behind box office hits like Khoon Bhati Maang and enduring favorites like Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai and also Koi Mil Gaya, Roshan continues to weave his magic on screen through efficient direction of his actors. Teaming with superstar son Hrithik Roshan, the senior Roshan has managed to keep his finances strong and counts among one of the richest filmmakers of Bollywood.
Net worth: $52 million
With just over half a dozen of directorial credits attributed to him, Kabir Khan might not be the most packed of Indian directors. But with a hefty net worth attached to his name, it is safe to assume that in the handful of films he has helmed, he has done it with such intensity and finesse that has earned him the big bucks. Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan are his most successful films, both of which had Khan collaborate with actor Salman Khan. With two National Awards already in his kitty, Kabir Khan proves why he is among the richest in the business even with his selective filmography.
Net worth: $22 million
With some of the most memorable names in Indian cinema to his credit, there is no doubt about the talented film personality that Farhan Akhar is. Be it in his directorial debut Dil Chahta Hai or also through the cult war film Lakshya, Akhtar proved his cinematic sensibilities early on in his career. Lauded as one of the finest directors of Bollywood courtesy Lakshya, Akhtar might not have taken the directorial route more frequently but that does not in any way dislodge him from being one of India’s richest filmmakers.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Net worth: $122 million
A highly decorated filmmaker, known for his extravagant sets and his larger than life visulaisations on screen, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a directorial talent of a different dimension. Most of his works revolve around epic historical sagas, be it Padmaavat or Bajirao Mastani, Bhansali’s extravagance is a prominent marker of his craft. Beginning with Khamoshi: The Musical to continuing with Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Black, Guzaarish, Sawaariya et al, Bhansali has shown his preference for the tragic and intense in almost all his directorial dealings. It is this pensive mood intermingled with the dreamy flamboyance that makes Bhansali’s work such visual masterpieces. Needless to say, with such an alluring cinematic disposition, Bhansali has it all to enthrall a houseful of audience who are forever willing to shell out their money to witness grand translations of this genius at work.
Net worth: $110 million
He is a man known for the realistic brand of cinema he creates. And ace director Anurag Kashyap, in his every endeavor has wowed critics and audience alike with his unconventional approach to filmmaking. As someone who is credited for pioneering India’s indie scene in the early 2000s, it is only apt that Kashyap’s 2012 film Gangs of Wasseypur has been also the only Indian mention in The Guardian’s list of the 100 best films of the 21st century. And while Kashyap’s cinema might be more focussed on the art rather than the finances, he still has managed to deliver enough of his cinematic brilliance through his many works to emerge as one of the richest in the film making business.
Net worth: $43 million
Be it Life in a Metro or Barfi!, Anurag Basu’s choice of films are definitively different, to say the least. His films hold an appeal not commonly encountered in the real world, even when his subjects are often drawn from the many facets of existence itself. It is this lure of the transient charm in the relatable that makes Basu’s films a different breed of their kind. With less than ten films attributed to his directorial abilities, it’s commendable that Basu still is one of the richest directors around in India.
Net worth: $48 million
One of the most recognized directors of the Indian film industry, Mahesh Bhatt is a legacy in himself. With close to half a decade long span in direction, Bhatt’s cinematic credibilities remain unchallenged. Though he last directed a film in 1999, he is in course for a reboot as director with Sadak 2, a sequel to his 1991 hit Sadak. Nevertheless, Bhatt continues to remain a wealthy presence among the list of Bollywood directors with his extensive filmography.
Net worth: $108 million
Another director who has managed to make it matter with just a few films attributing her as the director is Meghna Gulzar. Her last three releases namely Talvar, Raazi and Chhapak have all been based on real life incidents, which she has brought on screen with such realistic ease that has earned her all the accolades. Gulzar’s intuitive research into each of her projects has reaped rich rewards for her, not just in the praise she has been showered with but also by making her bank account a lucrative proposition.
Net worth: $38 million
Known for his action packed cinematic range is Bollywood director Rohit Shetty who is also one among the richest in India. His films are a dose of full on entertainment, with also humour and action packed to the brim, even as he conjures up charismatic images of heroes and heroines on screen. The Golmaal franchisee of comedy films and the Singham series are some of his instantly recognisable works, which makes him a popular filmmaker of the Hindi film industry. With a slew of back to back superhits that are among some of the highest grossing names from India, the star director indeed has made it his trade to rake in the money.
Net worth: $75 million
The quintessential romantic romeo of Bollywood, Mohit Suri has managed to churn out love lorn winners like Aashiqui 2 and Hamari Adhuri Kahaani, while also exploring the thrill of suspense in movies Murder 2 and Ek Villain. Kalyug is one of the most unexpected movies that can be attributed to Suri who made his debut as independent director in 2005 after assisting the veteran Mahesh Bhatt for some couple of years. His films are most notable for the tantalising romance and the soothing songs, both of which have ensured that Suri can indeed laugh his way to the bank with some amazing box office collections.