Ashutosh Gowariker: Ashutosh Gowariker started his Bollywood career as an actor, making his debut in Holi (1984) starring Aamir Khan. Gowariker also acted in TV shows like Circus (1989) and CID (1998) and several films including Naam (1986), Chamatkar (1992) and Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1993). He made his directorial debut in 1993 with Pehla Nasha starring Deepak Tijori, Raveena Tandon and Pooja Bhatt, and went on to direct Baazi, Lagaan, Swades, Jodhaa Akbar, What's Your Raashee? and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. 2016 saw the release of his directorial Mohenjo Daro with Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde. As of now, Ashutosh is busy shooting his next period drama, Panipat, starring Arjun Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Kriti Sanon.
Satish Kaushik: He is popularly known for playing 'Calendar' in the hit film Mr. India alongside Anil Kapoor and Sridevi. In fact, he's acted in over 30 films portraying a variety of supporting roles. He started his acting career in Shekhar Kapoor's Masoom (1983), which also marked his debut as an assistant director. His first film as a director was Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja in 1993. He went on to direct several films including Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain, Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai and Tere Naam. His next directorial venture is titled Kaagaz and will feature Pankaj Tripathi in the lead role.
Karan Johar: Karan Johar made his on-screen debut in the superhit film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge as Raj's (Shah Rukh Khan's) friend. He not only acted in the movie, but also assisted director Aditya Chopra. Since then, he has made cameo appearances playing himself in films like Om Shanti Om (2007), Fashion (2008), and Luck By Chance (2009). He made his full-fledged acting debut alongside Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma in Anurag Kashyap's Bombay Velvet (2015), in which he played the main antagonist. Karan made his directorial debut with the blockbuster romance Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in 1998. He went on to direct several hit films including Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, My Name Is Khan and Student of The Year. He is currently busy with his next directorial project Takht, a period drama that features an ensemble cast including Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Janhvi Kapoor and Anil Kapoor.
Subhash Ghai: Subhash Ghai started his career in Bollywood as an actor with small roles in films including Taqdeer (1967) and Aradhana (1971). His directorial debut was the film Kalicharan in 1976. The director's notable films include Karz (1980), Hero (1983), Meri Jung (1985), Karma (1986), Ram Lakhan (1989), Saudagar (1991), Khalnayak (1993), Pardes (1997) and Taal (1999).
Abhishek Kapoor: Not many know that Rock On!! and Fitoor director Abhishek Kapoor actually entered Bollywood as an actor. He made his acting debut opposite Twinkle Khanna in Uff! Yeh Mohabbat in 1996. He later went on to direct a sequel to Rock On!! titled Rock On ll, and Kedarnath that launched Sara Ali Khan in 2018.
Amole Gupte: Amole Gupte, who shot to fame as the creative director and screenwriter of Taare Zameen Par in 2007, had earlier acted in films like Holi and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. He donned the hats of a director and a writer in Stanley Ka Dabba and Hawaa Hawaai, but continued acting in films like Singham Returns (2014), Stanley Ka Dabba (2011), Phas Gaye Re Obama (2010) and Kaminey (2009). In 2017, Gupte directed a kid's film, Sniff, about a boy who can't smell, but later gets the superpower of being able to smell for up to 2 km.
Rajat Kapoor: Rajat Kapoor made his acting debut in the 1989 film Khayal Gatha. He got his big Bollywood break in Dil Chahta Hai (2001) by playing the uncle of Preity Zinta's character. He received international recognition in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding (2001) in which he played an abusive uncle. Since then, he has written, directed and appeared in many critically acclaimed films including Bheja Fry. In 2003, Kapoor wrote and directed Raghu Romeo which failed at the box office, but won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. He has also directed films like Mixed Doubles, Mithya and Ankhon Dekhi.
Did you know, filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker was an actor before he turned director? As he turns 55 today, we look back at prolific directors who started off as actors in Bollywood
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