Directors who have moved out of their comfort zones

When it comes to filmmaking, drifting from one’s comfort zone is never easy. After all, a film is a cumulative effort of so many people and a lot is riding on it. While a few filmmakers stick to making a certain kind of films, there are many who have left their comfort zones and dared to experiment regardless of the outcome.

In a recent interview, Rajkumar Hirani confessed that everyone has branded him as ‘bhala manas’ or a simpleton and if he ever has to break free from that image, he’ll have to make a sex comedy.

© Provided by MiD-DAYRajkumar Hirani

The director who has given us films like Munnabhai MMBS, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, 3 Idiots and PK claims that he makes movies for himself and takes on subjects he is close to. Nonetheless, over the years, several directors have taken a break from their trademark styles to try and experiment with a different genre. hitlist gives you a low down on such filmmakers.

© Provided by MiD-DAYAshutosh Gowariker

His love for history and rural India is seen in all his films. Gowariker started showcasing his love for the period drama with Lagaan (2001) which was a huge success and even made it to the Oscars. He followed that up with Swades (2004) and Jodhaa Akbar (2008). The director was having a dream run at the box-office when he made Priyanka Chopra and Harman Baweja-starrer What’s your Raashee (2009). The film proved to be a dud. Post it, Gowariker went back to dabbling in period drama with Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (2010) and five years later, he is working on Mohenjo Daro with Hrithik Roshan. Gowariker definitely learnt a lesson from his experiment.

© Provided by MiD-DAYSubhash Ghai

Musical love stories have Ghai’s patent. From Ram Lakhan (1989) and Pardes (1997) to Taal (1999) and Aitraaz (2001), they have all made an impact. The filmmaker then directed Black & White (2008), which was laced with terrorism and Hindu-Muslim friction. The movie tanked at the box office but it was the first time the director went off script and tried something that was not musical or romantic.

© Provided by MiD-DAYKaran Johar

The filmmaker is known for his grand productions, so when he made My Name Is Khan (2010), it took many by surprise. The story of an Indian Muslim man suffering from Asperger’s syndrome intertwined with the fiasco post 9/11 was an interesting blend. Barring a few flaws, Johar was lauded for his attempt to shed his trademark style and try something new. The film was a box-office hit.

© Provided by MiD-DAYAnurag Kashyap

The name is synonymous with gun trotting and expletives. When Anurag began his career as a writer with Satya (1998) the industry stood up and took notice. He hasn’t kept his pen down since. He turned director with Paanch, which is yet to see the light of the day. After making several movies on hard-hitting and dark subjects, it came as a surprise when Anurag decided to direct Bombay Velvet (2015). While the film tanked at the box office, it was the first time the filmmaker not only worked with A-list actors but also showcased Mumbai of the ’60s against the backdrop of love, greed, violence and jazz music.

© Provided by MiD-DAYAbbas Mustan

The men in white are known for the thrillers. For decades they’ve been twisting and turning plots to take the audiences by surprise, and successfully so. Be it Akshay Kumar-starrer Khiladi (1992), Shah Rukh Khan’s Baazigar (1993) or the Race franchise, the director duo has always managed to get it right. However, this year, they decided to do something different and directed an out-and-out comedy, Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon. The film, which stars comedian Kapil Sharma in the lead, has proved to be a hit at the box-office. Clearly, Abbas-Mustan’s gamble paid off.

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Directors who have moved out of their comfort zones

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