Rajkumar Santoshi

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Rajkumar Santoshi
Rajkumar Santoshi at Bonny Duggal Bash
Santoshi in 2011
Born Rajkumar Santoshi
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Film director, producer, screenwriter

Rajkumar Santoshi is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter of Hindi films.

Personal life[edit]

He is the son of producer-director P.L. Santoshi and his second wife. Rajkumar was born in Chennai And currently lives with his wife Manila and children Ram and Tanisha.[1]


Santoshi started his career as an assistant director and worked with Govind Nihalani during the filming of Ardh Satya (1982).

He is known to be one of the most versatile directors as he has directed films of all genres except sci-fi.

Santoshi made his directorial debut in 1990, with the action flick Ghayal. Starring Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Sheshadri in lead roles, the film tells the story of a person in search of his missing brother and the events that follow. It was critically and commercially successful, and earned him the Filmfare Award for Best Director, Best film, and Best screenplay.[2] Ghayal also won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.[2] Santoshi's followup was Damini (1993), a film dealing with issues like status of women in our society and the perspective of people towards women. He won another Filmfare best director award for it.[3]

After making two back to back serious films like Ghayal and Damini, Santoshi wanted to make a light film.[4] He then wrote and directed the ensemble comedy, Andaz Apna Apna (1994). The film failed commercially at the time of its release, but is now considered a cult classic.[4] Santoshi received the Filmfare Award for Best Director nomination for it.[5]

Santoshi then went on to make Barsaat (1995), a romantic action drama, which marked the debut of actor Bobby Deol. Ghatak: Lethal (1996), an action film, marked his third collaboration with Sheshadri and Deol. China Gate (1998), an action film inspired from Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954), was his next release.[6] It follows the story of a village that hire a group of veterans to combat bandits who terrorise them.

In 2000, Santoshi wrote and directed Pukar, a film focusing on the Indian Army and court martials. It won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.[7] It was followed by Lajja (2001), a film about four Indian women belonging to different strata of society. The film dealt with issues like gender inequality and the status of women in our society.[8] Lajja was a box-office failure in India but was an overseas success.[9][10]The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002), his next directorial venture, was a biopic on the freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. The film won a National Film Award.[11]

In 2004, Santoshi wrote and directed Khakee, a multi-starrer action thriller about a group of cops who gets embroiled in a mystery surrounding a terrorist attack. The film was a critical and commercial success and established Santoshi as one of Bollywood's most sought after director.[12] Derek Elley of Variety wrote: "Powerhouse casting, and equally powerhouse direction by Rajkumar Santoshi, makes this an above-average example of mainstream Bollywood thrillers."[13]

Family (2006), an action crime flick, was his next release. Raja Sen called it an "utter tripe".[14] It bombed at the box office.[15] Santoshi's next directorial venture was Halla Bol (2008), a social film starring Ajay Devgan, Vidya Balan and Pankaj Kapur. The film was based on the life of activist Safdar Hashmi, who was killed by political rivals while performing on a street play (by the name of Halla Bol) in 1989.[16] It was shot in 75 days in over 65 locations.[16] Halla Bol was panned by critics, with Khalid Mohamed calling it "downright awful" [..] "packed with mind-benders galore."[17] During these period, his films were poorly received.

In 2009, he wrote and directed Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, that emerged as the fourth highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2009.[18] The film starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, was a romantic comedy. Nikhat Kazmi in her review wrote that the film "has just a few moments of tedium", but "[It] takes you on a roller-coaster ride as Raj Kumar Santoshi tries to retrack his way to his Andaz Apna Apna days".[19]

Santoshi came after a three-year hiatus with the action comedy Phata Poster Nikhla Hero (2013) starring Shahid Kapoor and Ileana D'Cruz. The film was a critical and commercial failure.[20][21]


Year Film Director Credit Notes
1982 Ardh Satya Assistant director
1982 Vijeta Assistant director
1990 Ghayal
writer Filmfare Award for Best Director
Filmfare Award for Best Story
1993 Damini – Lightning
Writer (Story & Screenplay)
Filmfare Award for Best Director
1994 Andaz Apna Apna
writer Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Director
1995 Barsaat
1996 Ghatak
writer Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Director
1996 Halo Actor
1998 China Gate
writer Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue
1998 Vinashak Writer (screenplay)
1998 Doli Saja Ke Rakhna Co-producer
1999 Jaanam Samjha Karo Writer (screenplay)
2000 Pukar
writer Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration
2001 Lajja
2002 The Legend of Bhagat Singh
writer National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi
Filmfare Critics Award for Best Film
2002 Dil Hai Tumhaara Writer (screenplay)
2004 Khakee
writer Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Director
2006 Family
2008 Halla Bol
2009 Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani
2013 Phata Poster Nikhla Hero


  1. ^ "I was not able to give my father even one meal with my money: Rajkumar Santoshi". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Rishi, Tilak (2012). Bless You Bollywood!: A tribute to Hindi Cinema on completing 100 years. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 9781466939622. 
  3. ^ "The Winners – 1993". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Chintamani, Gautam (12 April 2014). "From flop to cult film: The journey of Andaz Apna Apna". Firstpost. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "Aamir Khan still a fan of 'Andaz Apna Apna', wears t-shirt with Crime Master Gogo's face". The Indian Express. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  6. ^ Leon Hunt and Leung Wing-Fai (2010). East Asian Cinemas: Exploring Transnational Connections on Film. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857736369. 
  7. ^ "48th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved March 13, 2012. 
  8. ^ Bora, Anita (31 August 2001). "Not just a slick chick flick!". Rediff.com. Retrieved 23 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Box Office 2001". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  10. ^ Pais, Arthur J (8 September 2001). "Lajja: a hit overseas". Rediff.com. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  11. ^ "Devgan bags National Award for Bhagat Singh". The Tribune. 27 July 2003. Retrieved 9 December 2010. 
  12. ^ Gangadhar, V. (27 February 2004). "Bollywood's favourite filmmaker". The Hindu. Retrieved 27 February 2004. 
  13. ^ Elley, Derek (31 January 2004). "Review: 'Khakee'". Variety. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  14. ^ Sen, Raja (13 January 2006). "Don't visit this Family". Rediff.com. Retrieved 20 January 2016. 
  15. ^ "Box Office 2006". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2008. 
  16. ^ a b "Halla Bol based on Safdar Hashmi: Rajkumar Santoshi". Hindustan Times. 12 July 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  17. ^ Mohamed, Khalid (11 January 2008). "Review: Halla Bol". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "Box Office 2009". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  19. ^ Kazmi, Nikhat (5 November 2009). "Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani Movie Review". The Times of India. 
  20. ^ "Critics' review: Phata Poster Nikla Hero disappoints, Shahid shines". Hindustan Times. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  21. ^ "Phata Poster Nikla Hero flops, is Shahid Kapoor to be blamed?". The Indian Express. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 

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