12 Movies That Were Accused Of Being Ghost Directed By Its Stars

12 Movies That Were Accused Of Being Ghost Directed By Its Stars View All Articles

Posted On: 15 Oct 2021 | Last Updated: 04 Nov 2021


Differences of opinion between individuals often lead to rifts, compromises, and changes of plan and Bollywood is no different. We often get to hear of spats, rifts, and creative differences between actors and directors who disagree on points while making a film. At times, Bollywood stars have faced allegations of ghost directing their films and interfering with the script and the director’s execution. Though many actors deny being involved in directing their films but the truth is that they do have their say while shooting for they feel that the film is not shaping as expected. Some stars have gone to the extent to have taken up the mantle of direction midway through the film while retaining the official director’s name in the credits. Of course, at times audiences do or do not realize the difference in the style of narration and direction while watching a film but in the end, what matters to them is whether they liked the film or not. There have been a few instances where some popular Bollywood films were accused of being reportedly ghost-directed by their lead actors or others while not claiming credit for it.


1. Eight Days (1946) - Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar and Veera starrer Eight Days (8 Days) that released in 1946 was a family comedy-drama that officially was directed by Dattaram Pai but the buzz was that it was ghost-directed by Ashok Kumar. Produced by Ashok Kumar under the Filmistan banner, the film was a success but according to sources, the actor had directed the majority of the film as he wasn’t too happy with the way Dattaram Pai had directed it initially. But it was Dattaram Pai’s name that officially appears solely in the direction credits while the film remaining the only uncredited direction by Ashok Kumar.

Ashok Kumar

2. Gunga Jumna (1961) / Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966) - Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar who was known for being one of the most dedicated method actors of Indian cinema was accused of ghost-directing two films Gunga Jumna and Dil Diya Dard Liya. The actor was known for being a perfectionist and would associate himself with every phase of filmmaking. It’s believed that he ghost-directed Gunga Jumna for he had produced it and written the script as well while he didn’t want anyone to mess it up. Nitin Bose was given credit for directing the blockbuster. The other instance where the actor was uncredited for direction was Dil Diya Dard Liya which was officially directed by A.R. Kardar. The film flopped but stories of the actor directing it continued to pop up now and then.

Dilip Kumar

3. Gumnaam (1965) / Shaheed (1965) - Manoj Kumar

If one talks about Bollywood movies directed by its lead actor unofficially, how can one forget Manoj Kumar? Manoj Kumar who was already an established star by the early 60s had two hits in 1965 in the form of Gumnaam and Shaheed. In one of his interviews, the actor had confessed that he had directed the suspense murder mystery drama Gumnaam as well as Shaheed which was a biopic on the legendary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. Though the credit for direction for Gumnaam and Shaheed was given to Raja Nawathe and S. Ram Sharma, respectively but it was evident that it could’ve been possibly directed by the actor.

Manoj Kumar

4. Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960) - Raj Kapoor

Raj Kapoor’s Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai features among Bollywood movies directed by its lead stars. This dacoit drama which starred himself along with Padmini and Pran officially was directed by his loyal cinematographer Radhu Karmakar. It was years later that Raj Kapoor’s son Rishi Kapoor revealed in an interview that the film was ghost-directed by his father for the movie wasn’t being directed the way Raj Kapoor wanted it to be. It was also reported that Jagte Raho (1956) was directed by Raj Kapoor which officially was credited to directors Amit Mitra and Sombhu Mitra.

Raj Kapoor

5. Ra.One (2011) - Shah Rukh Khan

Shah Rukh Khan also figures in the list of Hindi movies directed by its lead stars. King Khan’s dream sci-fi production flick Ra.One which he planned to make on the behest of his son wasn’t shaping as expected after looking at the rushes. The film which was officially directed by Anubhav Sinha was made on a massive budget with special VFX starring SRK himself, Kareena Kapoor, and Arjun Rampal. Though SRK did seek help from other directors including Karan Johar to better the film but finally thought of taking up the mantle and calling the shots while giving credit to Anubhav Sinha for directing it.

Shah Rukh Khan

6. Ghulam (1998) - Aamir Khan

Though Aamir Khan has often been accused of ghost-directing many of his films but he has always denied them. It is a known fact that the Dangal actor closely looks into all the aspects of filmmaking which started when rumours did the rounds that his home production Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke was unofficially directed by him and not Mahesh Bhatt. Later in 1998 when director Vikram Bhatt was struggling for a hit he got to direct Ghulam which starred Aamir Khan and Rani Mukerji. People couldn’t believe the film to be directed by Vikram Bhatt as Aamir Khan did mention that he gave his inputs and ideas while making the film but never denied ghost-directing the same.

Aamir Khan

7. Lucknow Central (2017) - Farhan Akhtar

Lucknow Central was another film that was in the news for being ghost-directed by Farhan Akhtar who also played the main protagonist in it. The film which was officially directed by debutant Ranjit Tewari was about an innocent aspiring musician who is framed with murder charges and then decides to form a band with his co-prisoners to escape jail. Stories were afloat that the producers wanted to wrap up the film soon and requested Farhan to take up the mantle of direction.

Farhan Akhtar

8. Dabangg 2 (2012) - Salman Khan

During the 2000s Salman Khan had hit a purple patch in his career where all that he touched turned gold. The sequel to his much successful Dabangg had already been announced except the director. On not finding anyone suitable actor-producer Arbaaz Khan announced that he’ll be donning the director’s hat for the first time. Stories were rife that Arbaaz Khan was officially just the director while Salman Khan would be calling the shots. Though Dabangg 2 wasn’t as good as its prequel but still raked in good moolah for the Khan’s to have the last laugh.

Salman Khan

9. Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) - Guru Dutt

During the making of Kaagaz Ke Phool actor-director Guru Dutt had decided to make Chaudhvin Ka Chand with his favourite co-star Waheeda Rehman in 1959. After the debacle of his dream project Kaagaz Ke Phool in 1959 he decided never to direct any film thereafter but brought in M. Sadiq to direct Chaudhvin Ka Chand. After Guru Dutt’s demise in 1964, a few of his close associates revealed that Guru Dutt eventually did ghost-direct Chaudhvin Ka Chand as well as Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam but could never get over the debacle of Kaagaz Ke Phool.

Guru Dutt

10. Hum Dono (1961) - Vijay Anand

Hum Dono was another ambitious Navketan production that Dev Anand’s brother Vijay Anand had to direct but suddenly fell ill. Vijay Anand’s publicist, Amarjeet was called in to make his directorial debut with Hum Dono. The film’s story which was about two lookalikes, Major Manohar Lal Verma and Captain Mahesh Anand, was played by Dev Anand who somehow wasn’t too happy with Amarjeet’s direction capabilities. On Dev’s behest, Vijay Anand was called in to guide and mentor Amarjeet shot by shot during the making of the film. Going by the scenes it looks evident that Vijay Anand would’ve ghost-directed the film. It was many years later revealed by the director that Hum Dono was indeed his brainchild and Amarjeet was the official director.

Vijay Anand

11. Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) - Karan Johar

Director Nikkhil Advani who assisted Karan Johar in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham got his big break when he was given to direct Kal Ho Naa Ho in 2003. The film which had notable stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, and Preity Zinta in the lead did good business at the ticket windows but was believed to have been unofficially directed by Karan Johar. Though the film reportedly seemed to have traces of Karan Johar’s direction but for Nikkhil Advani he could never repeat the success of his official directorial debut film.

Karan Johar

12. Raabta (2017) - Homi Adajania

Last but not least Raabta (2017) starring Sushant Singh Rajput, Kriti Sanon, and Jim Sarb marked the directorial debut of producer Dinesh Vijan who had earlier produced films like Love Aaj Kal, Agent Vinod, Cocktail, Badlapur, Hindi Medium under his Maddock Films banner. It was reported that the film was directed by close friend Homi Adajania who called to reshoot the film as Dinesh Vijan couldn’t handle most of the scenes in the film. Whether these reports were true or not the fact remains that the film didn’t live up to its expectations and ended up as a disappointment for many.

Homi Adajania