Rajkumar Hirani-Sanjay Dutt, Ajay Devgn-Rohit Shetty: Successful actor-director duos in Bollywood

Updated: 13 March, 2020 14:15 IST | Nikita Wagh
  • Ajay Devgn-Rohit Shetty: The director owes his success to Devgn in a big way. The actor has played central roles in Shetty's action-packed blockbusters 'Singham' and 'Bol Bachchan', apart from being part of all four 'Golmaal' films and the cop-universe films - 'Simmba' and 'Sooryavanshi'. Even the relatively silly 'All The Best' was a hit.

  • Sanjay Dutt-Rajkumar Hirani: The duo has collaborated in only two films, but the impact has been so significant that they ought to be included in the list. 'Munna Bhai M.B.B.S' was a brilliant comedy with a poignant message while 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai' was an incredibly heart-rending tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.

  • Salman Khan-Sajid Nadiadwala: Sajid Nadiadwala and Salman Khan have been the best of friends for over 20 years. So it isn't surprising that when Sajid donned the director's hat for the first time in 'Kick', he chose Salman to play the lead. The film went on to be a blockbuster and broke all box-office records in 2014. Their professional association dates back to 1996 when they first worked together in 'Jeet'. From there on, Sajid has produced several films starring Salman like 'Judwaa', 'Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega', 'Mujhse Shaadi Karogi' and 'Jaan-E-Mann' and most recently 'Kick'. The duo is said to reunite with the second instalment of Kick series.

  • Govinda-David Dhawan: The 'no. 1' actor-director jodi of Bollywood, Chi Chi and Dhawan gave innumerable comic super hits in the 90's - 'Aankhen', 'Raja Babu', 'Coolie No. 1', 'Hero No. 1', 'Deewana Mastana', the list goes on. Critics may have panned some of the films, but the audiences lapped up the same without much contemplation.

  • Akshay Kumar-Priyadarshan: Akki and Priyadarshan are a potent force in the Hindi film industry. Starting with the all-time favourite 'Hera Pheri', they have collaborated in 'Garam Masala', 'Bhagam Bhag', 'Bhool Bhulaiyaa' and 'De Dana Dan', most of which did well at the box office.

  • Shah Rukh Khan-Yash Chopra: The legendary director eked out three of SRK's best ever performances - the dangerously obsessed lover in 'Darr', the eternal romantic in 'Dil To Pagal Hai' and the unconditional lover in 'Veer-Zaara.' Not only this, the director made his last film Jab Tak Hai Jaan starring Shah Rukh Khan, and the credits shared the montage of the director. 

  • Shah Rukh Khan-Karan Johar: SRK and KJo gave mush a new meaning in Bollywood. Their romantic and closely-knit family films became the trend of the 2000s. 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham' and 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' all won audience appreciation. In contrast, the much more serious 'My Name Is Khan' got mixed reviews, but was still a major success.

  • Salman Khan-Sooraj Barjatya: The alliance that gave birth to one of Bollywood's most lovable characters ' aptly titled Prem ' Barjatya and Salman gave us all-time classics like 'Maine Pyar Kiya' and 'Hum Aapke Hain Koun', with an amalgamation of romance and family bonding. Even though 'Hum Saath-Saath Hain' paled in comparison, it was a big hit in itself. The team reunited for 'Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo' which saw Sonam Kapoor as the female lead.

  • Sunny Deol-Rajkumar Santoshi: Some of Sunny's best works came under Santoshi's direction. Action flicks like 'Ghayal' and 'Ghatak' firmly established Sunny as the macho man of Bollywood while his power-packed performance as the lawyer in 'Damini' brought his numerous accolades.

  • Anil Kapoor-Subhash Ghai: They teamed together for a number of power-packed films in the mid and late '80s. 'Meri Jung', the multi-starrer 'Karma' and 'Ram Lakhan', all were big hits. In the late '90s, they did 'Taal' again. Although this time Kapoor was in a supporting role, that fact was that the film was a big hit.

  • Ajay Devgn-Prakash Jha: The actor-director duo was part of hard-hitting dramas like 'Gangajaal' and 'Apaharan' before both went their separate ways due to differences that cropped up during 'Raajneeti'.

  • Sanjeev Kumar-Gulzar: Their intense combination delivered classics like Koshish, Aandhi, 'Mausam' and 'Namkeen'. To prove their versatility, their joined hands for 'Angoor' and the result was Bollywood's best ever comedy.

  • Amitabh Bachchan-Prakash Mehra: If not for Mehra, Big B wouldn't be what he is today. If 'Zanjeer' gave birth to the angry young man, 'Muqaddar Ka Sikander', 'Laawaris' and 'Sharaabi' consolidated his position as a superstar. Mehra exploited Amitabh's comic talent to the hilt as well in the evergreen 'Namak Halaal'.

  • Amitabh Bachchan-Manmohan Desai: If Mehra made Big B the angry young man, Desai turned him into the funny young man, retaining his serious tone wherever needed. Desai's typical masala movies like Amar Akbar Anthony, Suhaag and Naseeb complemented Big Bs hard-hitting roles, turning him into a versatile superstar.

  • Rajesh Khanna-Hrishikesh Mukherjee: Take out 'Anand', 'Bawarchi' and 'Namak Haraam', and Kaka's work as an actor loses significant weight. It was thanks to Hrishida's sensitive films with social messages that Khanna is today remembered amongst India's finest actors in spite of a career that went awry after a bright start.

  • Rajesh Khanna-Shakti Samanta: The credit for giving birth to India's first superstar must go to Samanta among others. With a mix of romance, melodrama and unforgettable songs in 'Aradhana', 'Kati Patang' and 'Amar Prem', Khanna became a never-before-seen (and never-after-seen) phenomenon in Hindi cinema.

  • Shatrughan Sinha-Subhash Ghai: At a time when both were struggling, Sinha and Ghai proved to be equally lucky for each other. The two combined to deliver action-packed blockbusters like 'Kalicharan' and 'Vishwanath' and went on to become big names in Bollywood.

  • Dev Anand-Vijay Anand: The brothers forged a formidable alliance in a number of films. 'Guide' was undoubtedly their best work together, but 'Jewel Thief' and 'Johny Mera Naam' were highly successful ventures as well.

  • Sunil Dutt-B.R. Chopra: B.R. Films is noted for making socially relevant films, and Dutt was the face of Chopra's best movies. Be it 'Sadhna', where a prostitute and professor fall in love, 'Gumrah', which deals with the woes of a married woman entangled between her feelings for her lover and her duty towards her family or the murder mystery 'Hamraaz', the Dutt-Chopra combo hit bullseye each time.

  • Shammi Kapoor-Shakti Samanta: Films like 'Kashmir Ki Kali', 'An Evening in Paris', and 'Pagla Kahin Ka' gave a major fillip to Shammi's romantic hero image. Undoubtedly, their alliance was among the more memorable ones in Indian cinema.

  • Amol Palekar-Hrishikesh Mukherjee: This feature will be incomplete without this combo even though Palekar never became a 'Superstar'. Clean comedies like 'Gol Maal', 'Naram Garam' and 'Rang Birangi' continue to entertain us every time we watch them. They don't make it like that anymore.

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About The Gallery

Over the years, Bollywood has witnessed several examples of filmmakers working with select actors to bring out their best. On director Rohit Shetty's birthday on March 14, here's a look at successful actor-director duos!

First Published: 18 August, 2019 15:30 IST