2018 has taught Bollywood many lessons. It has made impossible possible! The year made the industry understand why stardom no longer makes any difference to the audience. They are hungry for content and whoever manages to deliver that deserve riches. So, while the Khans tanked, content soared and soared. That's why when I thought of putting together a list of best directors of this year who have left an indelible mark on Indian cinema history, I was surprised at the names. All these filmmakers have understood the audience's demands and their supply capacity so well, that it simply blows! And to think there are young two-three film old directors on the list says a lot.
Now, it might make you a bit wary here because I didn't include the likes of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rajkumar Hirani and others on the list. Your reaction is fair but my reasons are sensible. Bhansali's Padmaavat was grand but not great. It's a story of Jauhar... something women did in historic times to save themselves from the hands of the evil conquerors. I don't think there is any bravery in that act. Also, SLB has directed much better movies. Check out Khamoshi... you will forever be in love with it. As for Rajkumar Hirani, well, Sanju was good to watch as a standalone film but was highly dishonest as a biopic. Thus, I didn't include them on the list. You can agree to disagree here.
Here's our list of best directors of 2018...
Rahi Anil Barve, Anand Gandhi, Adesh Prasad - Tumbadd
There was a time when niche films were watched only by select few. 2018 has broken that stereotype. Tumbbad doesn't even have Rajkummar Rao in it and yet, this is one film everyone swears by this year. A thriller, Tumbbad is made by these gems of directors who have together done a superb job. Guess to make the best film of the year, you need as much help as you can get. It's researched well and executed so beautifully that I have yet to find someone who hasn't liked the film.
Amit Sharma - Badhaai Ho
Amit's claim to fame (pun intended) was Tevar. Yes, the pungent remake of Mahesh Babu's Okkudu starring Arjun Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha. This year he directed Badhaai Ho. Difficult to accept, right? Badhaai Ho's triumph was in the relevancy of the story, apart from the performances of course. Amit has managed to present the concept of middle-aged pregnancy and the young generation's denial in accepting that their parents can have a sex life really well. They thus clicked tremendously with the audience. Deft casting only helped!
Sriram Raghavan - AndhaDhun
Sriram Raghavan is a fantastic director. In Badlapur, he made an actor out of a star called Varun Dhawan. And with AndhaDhun, he has made one of best thrillers Bollywood has ever seen. Ayushmann Khurrana all this while was doing light-hearted urban movies and then suddenly, he went dark as a blind pianist. A director needs to have extreme faith in an actor for him to switch between such extreme genres and it is his calibre that he got the best performance out of Aayushmann.
Luv Ranjan - Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety
Surprised by this selection? You shouldn't be. When was the last time you saw a director make a film on the bro-code? You can't remember, right? Exactly my point! You must have seen your best friend dispising your boyfriend or girlfriend. But for you, they play along and then comes the bro-code. SKTKS is exactly that. Perhaps for the first time, a director has not only understood this but also projected the rivalry between the BFF and the bride perfectly. Just think about it...
Meghna Gulzar - Raazi
I knew Meghna Gulzar was making something amazing when she announced the cast and the names were Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal. I wasn't wrong at all. Without these two, that film would have done a disservice to Gulzar's talent as a director. If you have watched Gulzar's Talvar, you would know that she has this unique ability to stick to facts positively. Talvar panned more as a docudrama than as a film and Raazi was a biopic. Never did she stray from the idea just to make it more commercial. We need more such directors who can stay loyal to their story at any cost.
Amar Kaushik - Stree
Amar Kaushik deserves all the award for one reason only - he proved to Bollywood filmmakers that they don't have to include sex in their narrative to make horror sell. The latter is one of the most watched genres across the world. Kaushik added the perfect amount of horror to it and voila! you have one of the best-made films of this year. Also, he got the cast right to the T... so much to learn from this one person