Rajkumar Santoshi
Rajkumar Santoshi in 2015
Santoshi in 2015
Born (1956-07-17) 17 July 1956 (age 66)
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. Having received several accolades including three National Film Awards and six Filmfare Awards, he made his directorial debut with the crime film Ghayal (1990), starring Sunny Deol, Meenakshi Sheshadri and Amrish Puri. Which was a huge critical and commercial success, it made Santoshi a household name in Hindi cinema. The film won him the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment as well as the Filmfare Award for Best Director.

He also directed the thriller Damini (1993) with Deol, Sheshadri and Puri. Besides being critically acclaimed, the film became commercial success. It garnered him a second Filmfare Best Director Award and Filmfare Best Screenplay Award. During this period, Santoshi also received praise for directing the comedy Andaz Apna Apna (1994) starring Aamir Khan and Salman Khan together, which though a box office flop has attained cult status. His next action drama Ghatak: Lethal (1996) was also a huge commercial success and he earned a Filmfare Best Director Award nomination. The major success Barsaat (1995), that marked the film debut of Bobby Deol and Twinkle Khanna. In 2000, he wrote dialogues of the film 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 Best Director nominations at Filmfare. His highest-grossing film came in 2009 with over 1.2 billion (US$15 million)-earning romantic comedy Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif.

Personal life

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]


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

Santoshi made his directorial debut in 1990, with the action flick Ghayal, starring Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Sheshadri. The film tells the story of a person in search of his missing brother and the events that follow. It was critically and commercially very 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 the universally acclaimed film Damini (1993), which dealt with issues like the status of women in our society and the perspective of people towards women. He won his second 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 did not do too well 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 successful romantic action drama film, which marked the debut of actors Bobby Deol and Twinkle Khanna. The following year he made Ghatak: Lethal (1996), an action film, marking his third collaboration with Sunny Deol and Meenakshi Sheshadri. It also turned out to be a commercially successful and highly acclaimed film.

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 featuring music by A. R. Rahman. The film focused on the Indian Army and court martial. 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 Awards.[11] It also marked Santoshi's second collaboration with composer A. R. Rahman. In 2004, Santoshi wrote and directed Khakee, a multi-starrer action thriller about a group of cops who get embroiled in a mystery surrounding a terrorist attack. The film was a commercial success and reiterated Santoshi as one of Bollywood's most sought-after directors.[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 "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 in 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 this period, his films were poorly received.

In 2009, he wrote and directed Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, which emerged as the fourth highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2009.[18] The film starring Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif and 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 back after a three-year hiatus with the action comedy Phata Poster Nikla Hero, (2013) starring Shahid Kapoor and Ileana D'Cruz. The film was a critical and commercial failure.[20][21]


Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
checkY Denotes Yes
Year Film Director Credit Notes
1982 Ardh Satya Assistant director
Vijeta Assistant director
1990 Ghayal
1993 Damini
Writer (Story & Screenplay)
1994 Andaz Apna Apna
1995 Barsaat
1996 Ghatak
Halo Actor
1998 China Gate
Vinashak – Destroyer Writer (screenplay)
Doli Saja Ke Rakhna Co-producer
1999 Jaanam Samjha Karo Writer (screenplay)
2000 Pukar
2001 Lajja
2002 The Legend of Bhagat Singh
Dil Hai Tumhaara Writer (screenplay)
2004 Khakee
2006 Family: Ties of Blood
2008 Halla Bol
2009 Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani
2013 Phata Poster Nikhla Hero
2023 Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh
Writer [22]
2023 Bad Boy
2025 Khakee Returns
2026 Viruddh Family: Ties of Blood

Awards and nominations

Year Film Ceremony Category Result
1991 Ghayal National Film Awards Best Popular Film Won
Filmfare Awards Best Story
Best Director
1994 Damini
Best Film Nominated
1995 Andaz Apna Apna Best Director
1997 Ghatak Best Director
Best Screenplay Won
1999 China Gate Best Dialogue Writer
2001 Pukar National Film Awards Best Feature Film (National Integration) Won
2003 The Legend of Bhagat Singh Best Feature Film (Hindi)
Filmfare Awards Best Film (Critics)
Best Film Nominated
Best Director
2005 Khakee


  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. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. 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.((cite book)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  7. ^ "48th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 13 March 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. Archived from the original on 28 June 2004. 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. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. 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.
  22. ^ 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.


Filmfare Award for Best Story