The late Yash Chopra|Malhotra with Hrithik Roshan on sets of 'Agneepath'|Ghosh with Vidya Balan on sets of 'Kahaani'|Shinde with Sridevi on sets of 'English Vinglish'

They are often referred to as captains of the ship. They are the ones with the vision, the ones who really get into the skins of all the characters and evoke feelings from their actors. They are artistic and also steer the technical and dramatic aspects of any given film. In Bollywood, directors are sometimes the ones people overlook when a film becomes successful. However, overlooked by BizAsia they are not as we bring to you our top five directors of the year – in no particular order.

Gauri Shinde – ‘English Vinglish’

Shinde with Sridevi on sets of 'English Vinglish'
Shinde with Sridevi on sets of 'English Vinglish'

In her debut, Gauri Shinde did nothing but impress with a story minus any glitz and glam but with buckletloads of simplicity. It is rare, when one looks back at the year, to have a debutante director who directs a movie which remained in the news due to it being the comeback vehicle of Sridevi, an actress taking to the big screen again after a long 14 years. The story of ‘English Vinglish’ surrounded a lady who set out to learn English so that her family involve her in their activities, don’t get embarrassed by her lack of the language and so that she can converse with them fully without becoming a laughing stock. What remained at the forefront was the very easy and beautiful way the story unfolded and credit to this can only be given to Shinde.

Reema Kagti – ‘Talaash’

Kagti with Aamir Khan on sets of 'Talaash'
Kagti with Aamir Khan on sets of 'Talaash'

When one thinks back to ‘Talaash’ and the dark suspense that the film was dripping with, it’s easy to forget that what is put on the screen to create such a feel is the work of a director. Reema Kagti gave an atmosphere what the viewer is instantly absorbed by and the added safety that Aamir Khan always brings only adds to the equation. Kagti did very well at creating layers and giving the right dose of seediness to a story that had as much soul as it had emptiness. Kagti was also co-writer for the movie and then went on, as director, to give the appropriate treatment to wow her audience.

Sujoy Ghosh – ‘Kahaani’

Ghosh with Vidya Balan on sets of 'Kahaani'
Ghosh with Vidya Balan on sets of 'Kahaani'

Tense is perhaps the one word that fully describes ‘Kahaani’ and the tension is strengthened by the way Sujoy Ghosh chooses to tell the story. The success of ‘Kahaani’ can be given to the way Ghosh derives compassion from the viewer. Vidya Balan, who plays a pregnant woman, instantly provokes sympathy and this is played on cleverly throughout the movie. Mystery and surprise are in their element in ‘Kahaani’ and Ghosh deserves a pat on the back for it all, also having co-written the story.

Karan Malhotra – ‘Agneepath’

Malhotra with Hrithik Roshan on sets of 'Agneepath'
Malhotra with Hrithik Roshan on sets of 'Agneepath'

Although a movie which could be easily forgotten because it came so early on in 2012, ‘Agneepath’ remains on our radar. Having been billed as the remake of all remakes, producer Karan Johar had quite a task at hand at giving a new life to his father, Yash’s, classic which starred Amitabh Bachchan. However, with debutante director Karan Malhotra’s very capable vision, it achieved perhaps a little more than it set out to. With Hrithik Roshan playing protagonist, a new character in Rauf Lala (Rishi Kapoor) as well as a evil-to-the-core Sunjay Dutt as Kancha, Malhotra gives audiences a fresher than fresh take on a classic.

Yash Chopra – ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’

The last Yash Chopra
The last Yash Chopra

The late and great Yash Chopra makes our list in a leaving-the-best-til-last fashion. There is no doubt in his directing ability – of course – but in ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, it’s almost as if every scene, every take takes on a new value which perhaps wasn’t present beforehand. With Chopra’s untimely demise weeks before the film released, he makes our best directors list as we all mourn his loss and know in our hearts that his unmatchable directing style will never be seen again in cinema. A salute goes out from BizAsia and Bollywood lovers worldwide to Chopra and his legacy.

There was particular director this year that received much flak due to his heavily inspired scenes and that was Anurag Basu and the film was ‘Barfi!’. Whilst many compiled lists of how many scenes Basu had ‘taken’ from world cinema, others hailed the film as one of the best of the year. Our special mention goes to him for writing and telling a beautiful story through exquisitely heart-warming characters, unforgettable moments and a whole lot of love. The journey of ‘Barfi!’ requires much patience but it is a journey well worth taking. Hat off to Basu.

Although losing one of the most love captains of cinema’s ships in 2012, BizAsia are confident and hopeful that the year has given birth to many who will take the industry, its films and its talents far.