10 Bollywood Directors who are also great Actors

There is a long list of actors who took to direction after having a fulfilling and successful acting career in movies. As directors, some of them went onto earn more name and fame than their acting career while others failed miserably in enticing the audience with their directorial skills. But there are a number of famed directors also who juggle between both – direction and acting – with style. Today, we bring to you those top ten Bollywood directors who are also great actors.



One of the most influential and successful filmmakers of the current generation, Karan Johar is a person who possesses many talents. He is a director, producer, fashion designer and a well-known personality on Indian television. And last, but certainly not the least, he is an actor also. Shocked? Don’t be and read further.

Though Johar has not exploited his acting skills much in Bollywood, maybe owing to his commitments to movies and television, somehow we know he has something which can pull the audience to theatres if he decides to take his acting career seriously. We all have seen him in the Aditya Chopra directorial ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ (1995). Yes, that plump, chubby guy who plays Shah Rukh Khan’s friend in the film was none but Karan. But many people don’t know that Karan had faced camera many years before DDLJ released. ‘Indradhanush’, a TV serial which aired on Doordarshan in 1989, saw Karan in a small role.

After making his acting debut in films with ‘DDJL’, Kjo took filmmaking more seriously than acting and directed his first film ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ (1998), starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukerji in principal roles. The astounding success of the film earned Karan his first Filmfare Best Director Award. ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ was followed by the ensemble dramas ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (2001), and ‘Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’ (2006). Both the films were extremely successful, especially in the overseas market. Taking a break from romantic & family dramas, Karan followed ‘KKHH’ and ‘K3G’ with the counter-terrorism drama ‘My Name Is Khan’ (2010). Though the film was not a massive success at the domestic box office, it garnered positive reviews from critics and went on to do exceptional business in the international market. Kjo walked away with his second Filmfare Award for Best Director for the film. Apart from calling the shots for many successful films before and after ‘My Name Is Khan’, Karan Johar also promoted some of his assistants to the position of directors and produced their debut movies under his production company, Dharma Productions. Some of them include ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ (2003), ‘Kaal’ (2005), ‘Dostana’ (2008), ‘Wake Up Sid’ (2009), ‘I Hate Luv Storys’ (2010), ‘Agnipath’ (2012), ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ (2013), ‘2 States’ (2014) and ‘Kapoor & Sons’ to name a few.

After ‘My Name Is Khan’, Karan returned to direction with ‘Student Of The Year’ in 2012 and launched the movie careers of three debutants, Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan. After directing and producing a string of blockbusters, Karan once again tried his hands at acting and made a full-fledged acting debut with Anurag Kashyap’s ambitious project ‘Bombay Velvet’ (2015). However, the disastrous fate of the film at the box office forced Karan to keep his acting dreams at backburner one more time and focus on direction again. In 2016, he delivered one of the most successful films of his career ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’. Over the years, Kjo has established him as one of the leading director-producers in Hindi cinema.

TRIVIA: Known for his love for the letter ‘K,’ Karan Johar finally decided against it after watching Rajkumar Hirani’s ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’ (2006).


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  1. Good one! What about the great Sohrab Modi, Manoj (Bharat) Kumar, Dev Anand, Chetan Anand, Sunny Deol, Sunil Dutt, Rishi Kapoor, Hema Malini and there are a few more.


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