Rajkumar Santoshi

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Rajkumar Santoshi
Rajkumar Santoshi in 2015
Santoshi in 2015
Born (1956-07-17) 17 July 1956 (age 67)
NationalityIndian
Other namesRaj Santoshi
Occupation(s)Film director, producer, screenwriter
Years active1982–present
Notable work

Rajkumar Santoshi is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter of Hindi films. A recipient of several accolades including three National Film Awards and six Filmfare Awards, he made his directorial debut with the action drama Ghayal (1990), starring Sunny Deol, Meenakshi Sheshadri and Amrish Puri. The film emerged as a major critical and commercial success, making Santoshi a household name in Hindi cinema. The film won also him the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment as well as his first Filmfare Award for Best Director.

He also directed the crime drama thriller Damini (1993), again starring Sheshadri, Deol and Puri. It also emerged as a major critical and commercial success, garnering Santoshi the Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay and his second consecutive Filmfare Award for Best Director. During this period, Santoshi also received praise for directing the comedy Andaz Apna Apna (1994) starring Aamir Khan and Salman Khan together, which despite being a box-office flop has attained cult status. He next directed the action romance Barsaat (1995), which marked the film debut of Bobby Deol and Twinkle Khanna. His next action drama Ghatak: Lethal (1996), also emerged as a commercial success. Andaz Apna Apna and Ghatak: Lethal earning him nominations for the Filmfare Award for Best Director.

In 2000, he wrote dialogues of the action thriller Pukar which earned him the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration. He followed it by directing two moderate commercial successes—the biopic The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002) and the action thriller Khakee (2004)—both of which earned him nominations for the Filmfare Award for Best Director. His highest-grossing film came in 2009 with the romantic comedy Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, which grossed 1.2 billion (US$15 million) worldwide.

Personal life[edit]

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

Career[edit]

Career beginnings, directorial breakthrough and success (1982-1999)[edit]

Santoshi started his career in 1982 as an assistant director on Govind Nihalani on the coming-of-age film Vijeta (1982) and the crime drama Ardh Satya (1983).

Santoshi made his directorial debut with the action drama Ghayal (1990), starring Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Seshadri in lead roles. The film tells the story of a person in search of his missing brother and the events that follow. It emerged as a critical and commercial success, ranking as the second highest-grossing Hindi film of the year. Ghayal earned Santoshi his first Filmfare Award for Best Director, the Filmfare Award for Best Story, and the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.[2]

Santoshi followed it up with was the crime drama thriller Damini (1993), which dealt with themes considered bold at the time, such as the status of women in our society and the perspective of people towards women. The film starred Seshadri in the lead role, alongside Deol, Rishi Kapoor and Amrish Puri. It opened to universal critical acclaim, with widespread praise for its storyline, execution and themes; moreover, It also emerged as a major commercial success at the box-office, ranking as the fifth highest-grossing Hindi film of the year. Damini earned Santoshi his second consecutive Filmfare Award for Best Director, thus becoming the only director to have won the award for his first two films.[3] The film is now considered a cult feminist film and important for portraying women empowerment in cinema.[4] The pathbreaking film was praised for breaking social taboos and handling the subject of rape with sensitivity; a rarity in Bollywood at the time.[5]

After making two back-to-back serious films, Santoshi decided to make a light film. He then wrote and directed the comedy Andaz Apna Apna (1994), starring an ensemble cast of Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Raveena Tandon, Karisma Kapoor, Paresh Rawal (in a dual role) and Shakti Kapoor in lead roles. The film received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics upon release, but emerged as a commercial failure at the box-office. It earned Santoshi his third nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Director.[6] However over the years, it is considered a cult classic comedy, with its lexicon having become a part of everyday and ordinary language.[7]

Santoshi then went on to make the action romance Barsaat (1995), which marked the debut of actors Bobby Deol and Twinkle Khanna. The film received mixed reviews from critics upon release, but emerged as a commercial success at the box-office, ranking as the fourth highest-grossing Hindi film of the year.

The following year, Santoshi wrote and directed the action drama Ghatak: Lethal (1996), marking his third collaboration with Deol and Sheshadri. The film received positive reviews from critics upon release, and emerged as a major commercial success at the box-office, ranking as the fourth highest-grossing Hindi film of the year. It earned Santoshi the Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay, in addition to his fourth nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Director.

His next venture was the action film China Gate (1998), inspired from Akira Kurosawa's epic drama Seven Samurai (1954).[8] It follows the story of a village that hire a group of veterans to combat bandits who terrorise them. The film received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics upon release, with criticism for its story, screenplay and execution, and emerged as an average commercial success at the box-office, ranking as the tenth highest-grossing Hindi film of the year. However, it won Santoshi the Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue.

Career fluctuations (2000-present)[edit]

Santoshi began the new millennium with writing and directing the action thriller Pukar (2000) starring Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit in lead roles. The film tells the story of a notorious terrorist who manipulates an Indian army major's jilted lover into helping him obtain a classified military code. The film received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics upon release, but emerged as an average grosser at the box-office.[9] It won Santoshi the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration.[10]

He followed it up with the social drama Lajja (2001), which told the story of 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.[11] The film starred an ensemble cast of Rekha, Manisha Koirala, Dixit, Mahima Chaudhary, Anil Kapoor, Ajay Devgn and Jackie Shroff in lead roles. Lajja opened to mixed reviews from critics upon release, with criticism for Santoshi's story and screenplay. It emerged as a commercial failure at the Indian box-office, but was successful in overseas markets.[12][13][14]

His next venture was The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002), a biopic on the freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, portrayed by Devgn. The film opened to mixed-to-positive reviews upon release, with praise for its direction, story and screenplay. It released alongside another film based on Bhagat, 23rd March 1931: Shaheed, which featured Bobby Deol as the revolutionary. Despite hype prior to release, the film emerged as a commercial failure at the box-office.[15] The film's failure was attributed to its release on the same day as 23rd March 1931: Shaheed, with "the two Bhagats eating into each other's business". It, however, won Santoshi the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.[16] Since its release, The Legend of Bhagat Singh has been considered one of Santoshi's best works.[17] In 2016, the film was included in Hindustan Times's list of "Bollywood's Top 5 Biopics".[18]

Santoshi wrote and directed the ensemble neo-noir crime thriller Khakee (2004), starring Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Devgn, Aishwarya Rai and Tusshar Kapoor in lead roles. The film told the story of a group of cops who get embroiled in a mystery surrounding a terrorist attack. It opened to high critical acclaim upon release, with Derek Elley of Variety writing: "Powerhouse casting, and equally powerhouse direction by Rajkumar Santoshi, makes this an above-average example of mainstream Bollywood thrillers."[19] The film emerged as a major commercial success at the box-office, ranking as the fifth highest-grossing Hindi film of the year. Khakee's success reiterated Santoshi as one of Bollywood's most sought-after directors, and earned him his fifth nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Director.[20]

His next venture was the action thriller family drama Family – Ties of Blood (2006) starring Bachchan, Kumar and Bhumika Chawla in lead roles. The film opened to negative reviews from critics upon release, and emerged as a commercial disaster at the box-office.[21][22]

He next wrote and directed the social action drama Halla Bol (2008) starring Devgn, Vidya Balan and Pankaj Kapur in lead roles. The film was based on the life of activist Safdar Hashmi, who was killed by political rivals while performing in a street play (by the name of Halla Bol) in 1989.[23] It was shot in 75 days in over 65 locations.[23] Halla Bol was panned by critics, with Khalid Mohamed calling it "downright awful" [..] "packed with mind-benders galore."[24] The film emerged as his second consecutive commercial disaster at the box-office.[25]

Santoshi's career prospects improved when he wrote and directed the romantic comedy Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (2009) starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif in lead roles. The film opened to positive reviews from critics upon release, with particular praise for its direction, story, screenplay, dialogues. It emerged as a major commercial success at the box-office, grossing ₹103.21 crore (US$12.4 million) worldwide, ranking as the third highest-grossing Hindi film of the year, and is currently the highest-grossing film of Santoshi's career.[26][27]

After a 4-year hiatus, Santoshi made a comeback with the action comedy Phata Poster Nikhla Hero (2013) starring Shahid Kapoor and Ileana D'Cruz in lead roles. The film received mixed reviews from critics upon release and emerged as a commercial failure at the box-office.[28][29][30]

After a 10-year hiatus, Santoshi made a comeback with three diverse ventures – the historical Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh, the social comedy-drama Aalay Mazya Rashila and the romantic comedy Bad Boy. All the three films opened to mixed-to-negative reviews upon release, and emerged as commercial disasters at the box-office.

Filmography[edit]

Key
Denotes films that have not yet been released
List of film credits
Year Title Director Credit Notes
1982 Ardh Satya Assistant director
Vijeta
1990 Ghayal Yes Writer
1993 Damini Yes Writer (Story & Screenplay)
Producer
1994 Andaz Apna Apna Yes Writer
1995 Barsaat Yes
1996 Ghatak: Lethal Yes
Halo Actor
1998 China Gate Yes Writer
Vinashak Writer (screenplay)
Doli Saja Ke Rakhna Co-producer
1999 Jaanam Samjha Karo Writer (screenplay)
Co-producer
2000 Pukar Yes Writer
2001 Lajja Yes
2002 The Legend of Bhagat Singh Yes
Dil Hai Tumhaara Writer (screenplay)
2004 Khakee Yes Writer
2006 Family: Ties of Blood Yes
2008 Halla Bol Yes
2009 Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani Yes
2013 Phata Poster Nikhla Hero Yes
2023 Aalay Mazya Rashila Yes Marathi film[31]
Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh Yes Writer [32]
Bad Boy Yes Only director

Battle of Saragarhi is the working title of a currently shelved project, a historical war film about the Battle of Saragarhi.[33][34][35][36][37]

Awards and nominations[edit]

List of award and nominations received by Rajkumar Santoshi
Year Title Ceremony Category Result Ref.
1991 Ghayal National Film Awards Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment Won
Filmfare Awards Best Director Won
Best Story
1994 Damini Filmfare Awards Best Director Won
Best Film Nominated
1995 Andaz Apna Apna Filmfare Awards Best Director Nominated
1997 Ghatak Filmfare Awards Best Director Nominated
Best Screenplay Won
1999 China Gate Filmfare Awards Best Dialogue Won
2001 Pukar National Film Awards Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration Won
2003 The Legend of Bhagat Singh National Film Awards Best Feature Film in Hindi Won
Filmfare Awards Best Film (Critics) Won
Best Film Nominated
Best Director
2005 Khakee Filmfare Awards Best Director Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "I was not able to give my father even one meal with my money: Rajkumar Santoshi". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 23 September 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  2. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
  4. ^ *"#90sMoviesIn2018: Here's Why Meenakshi Seshadri-Rishi Kapoor's 'Damini' is a Cult Feminist Film". news18.com. 7 December 2018. Archived from the original on 13 December 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Evolution of the rape scene". Daily News and Analysis. 5 August 2017. Archived from the original on 11 April 2019. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ Chintamani, Gautam (12 April 2014). "From flop to cult film: The journey of Andaz Apna Apna". Firstpost. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  8. ^ Leon Hunt; Leung Wing-Fai (2010). East Asian Cinemas: Exploring Transnational Connections on Film. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857736369.
  9. ^ "Pukar - Movie - Box Office India". www.boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  10. ^ "48th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  11. ^ Bora, Anita (31 August 2001). "Not just a slick chick flick!". Rediff.com. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Lajja - Movie - Box Office India". www.boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  13. ^ "Box Office 2001". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  14. ^ Pais, Arthur J (8 September 2001). "Lajja: a hit overseas". Rediff.com. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
  15. ^ "The Legend Of Bhagat Singh - Movie - Box Office India". www.boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  16. ^ "Devgan bags National Award for Bhagat Singh". The Tribune. 27 July 2003. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
  17. ^ Varma, Sukanya (20 January 2004). "What makes Rajkumar Santoshi versatile?". Rediff.com. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
    Dedhia, Sonil (20 July 2018). "Sunny Deol and Rajkumar Santoshi bury the hatchet". Mid-Day. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
    Kher, Ruchika (3 November 2009). "I'm the trendsetter: Raj Kumar Santoshi". Hindustan Times. Indo-Asian News Service. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  18. ^ "Ready for Dhoni? We list Bollywood's top 5 biopics, from Bose to Shahid". Hindustan Times. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  19. ^ Elley, Derek (31 January 2004). "Review: 'Khakee'". Variety. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  20. ^ Gangadhar, V. (27 February 2004). "Bollywood's favourite filmmaker". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 28 June 2004. Retrieved 27 February 2004.
  21. ^ "Family - Ties of Blood - Movie - Box Office India". www.boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  22. ^ "Box Office 2006". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
  23. ^ a b "Halla Bol based on Safdar Hashmi: Rajkumar Santoshi". Hindustan Times. 12 July 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  24. ^ Mohamed, Khalid (11 January 2008). "Review: Halla Bol". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  25. ^ "Halla Bol - Movie - Box Office India". www.boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  26. ^ "Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani - Movie - Box Office India". www.boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  27. ^ "Box Office 2009". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  28. ^ "Critics' review: Phata Poster Nikla Hero disappoints, Shahid shines". Hindustan Times. 20 September 2013. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  29. ^ "Phata Poster Nikla Hero flops, is Shahid Kapoor to be blamed?". The Indian Express. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  30. ^ "Phata Poster Nikhla Hero - Movie - Box Office India". www.boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  31. ^ Borade, Aarti Vilas. "Alka Kubal: 'आलंय माझ्या राशीला'मध्ये अल्का कुबल-चिन्मय मांडलेकर दिसणार एकत्र, टीझर प्रदर्शित". Hindustan Times Marathi (in Marathi). Retrieved 18 May 2023.
  32. ^ Sumit Rajguru (15 December 2022). "Rajkumar Santoshi announces comeback project Gandhi Godse Ek Yudh after 9 years. Details inside". Times Now. Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  33. ^ "Rajkumar Santoshi: I shot for 'Battle of Saragarhi' with Randeep for 20 days; film got shelved later".
  34. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Kesari did no justice to Battle of Saragarhi- Rajkumar Santoshi, reveals not getting enough support". 20 January 2023.
  35. ^ "Rajkumar Santoshi to make film on Battle of Saragarhi again; claims he is unhappy with Akshay Kumar's Kesari : Bollywood News - Bollywood Hungama". Bollywood Hungama. 19 January 2023.
  36. ^ "Battle of Saragarhi is true to history: Rajkumar Santoshi".
  37. ^ "Rajkumar Santoshi calls Bollywood's star obsession 'ridiculous', wants to restart film on Battle of Saragarhi: Akshay's film didn't do 'justice to subject'". 19 January 2023.

External links[edit]

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