Directors are the backbone of any film industry, be it Hollywood or Bollywood. Just as Wine becomes tastes better with aging, the directors too gain experience and form their reputation in the industry. But, only a handful of directors consistently portray the initial spark which made them famous in the first place. M. Night Shyamalan, a promising Hollywood director with supernatural plot movies like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable etc. lost his touch and alienated even his most ardent fans.
Such directors squander all their fame, goodwill and fortune on projects which are wildly experimental in nature. The fans justify and pretend to like these experimental ventures for some time as they are blindsided by the initial success of the director.
So, instead of talking about best directors of Bollywood, the article has taken an alternate route to mention directors who have faltered or gone flat out after their initial promise.
1. Ketan Mehta
Mr. Mehta has a prolonged career in film direction. An Alumnus of, now in controversy FTII, Ketan directed films like Maya Memsaab, Mirch Masala and Mangal Pandey. He also directed TV serials like an all-time hit series on Doordarshan, Captain Vyom. After delivering hits initially, Ketan couldn’t live up to his own standards and his movies bombed at Box-Office one after another.
Though, he may have lost his touch for some time but we can’t write him off. He may bounce back with his latest flick “Manjhi: The mountain man” which has shown great promise through its theatrical trailer and is slated to be released this year.
2. Subhash Ghai
Once commended for his work, Subhash Ghai, the Show man of Bollywood had an exceptional time at Box Office in 80’s and 90’s with dozens of blockbusters. His work in movies like Taal, Trimurti, Khalnayak etc. is treasured even today. With the advent of a new century and rapid change in audience likes and dislikes, Ghai couldn’t break his mold.
His charm faded with time and the audience shied away from his productions. His latest movies like 36 China Town, Paying Guests, Kisna etc. fell flat without any success.
3. David Dhawan
David Dhawan was once regarded as the King of Comedy in Bollywood. He teamed up with Govinda and in unison they became the one of the most successful Actor-Director combination Bollywood has ever witnessed. Most of the 16 movies that they did in collaboration were box office hits. David started off the No. 1 series where he directed Coolie No. 1, Hero No. 1 and Jodi No. 1.
In recent years though, David hasn’t been able to create the same magic. The failure could be attributed to the fall off between him and Govinda.
4. Indra Kumar
The actor/producer/director Indra Kumar delighted us with his romantic movies in 90s. He made many hits with Madhuri Dixit being the female lead actor in majority of his movies. The director shifted gears and tried his hand in other genres in the new millennium. He tasted initial success with Masti (2004) but soon his star started waning.
5. Ram Gopal Varma
He transformed the way movies were made in Bollywood. His exemplary movies like Satya and Company encouraged numerous others to venture into subjects unexplored till now. His style of movies had loud but energizing background score (Remember the “Sab Ganda hai par Dhandha hai ye” from Company or “Govinda!!!Govinda” from Sarkar).
RGV’s experimentation with horror movies became horrific and too much to digest. He plundered and gave flop after flop without caring for his reputation which took so many years to build. His production Ram Gopal Varma’s Aag was the final nail to his coffin. The movie received bad reviews from critics and audiences alike.
6. Prakash Jha
Jha is known for his socio-political movies inspired from real life situations. He too joined FTII in Pune for a course in Film Editing but dropped in between and started working in Mumbai. Over the years, Jha directed several documentaries raising burning social issues. In mainstream cinema, his movies like Mrityudand (1997), Gangajal (2003), Apahran (2005) etc. did considerably well on Box office.
But, over the years, Jha got stuck in a groove. Due to analogous scripts and lack of wow factors, his recent productions have failed on Box Office. This is undoubtedly an indication that audience wants something rather off beat.