Top 16 Bollywood Directors Who Edited Their Own Films

Top 16 Bollywood Directors Who Edited Their Own Films View All Articles

Posted On: 11 May 2021 | Last Updated: 20 Aug 2021

Ever since Bollywood came into existence and filmmaking became a specialized form of creative skill, every department began to get its due recognition over a period of time. Talking about film editing, it has always been regarded as a specialized skill where the editor decides what part of the film has to be left out and what will go on-screen. Earlier a well-edited film was often credited to the director but not anymore as editing is more than just the art of selecting and integrating a sequence of shots that contribute to the final execution of making a film narrative impactful and interesting. The thumbnail set by film pundits has been that directors should not edit their own films as more than often they end up retaining most of what they have shot in the final cut. Though many directors assign editing tasks to experts some prominent Bollywood directors helmed both of them successfully. Check out the list of Bollywood’s top 16 directors who edited their own films and walked away with all the applause and accolades.

(Note: We have considered only those famous Bollywood directors who have edited a minimum of three of their own films.)

1. Raj Kapoor

Rated among the top 10 Bollywood directors of all time, showman Raj Kapoor who started off as an apprentice in Bollywood production studios in the 1940's, went on to direct his first film Aag in 1948 at the age of 24. Born in a filmy family, they say Raj Kapoor was born for films and often talked about making films that had strong storylines with a social message attached to them. Though he acted in more than 70 films Raj Kapoor was more into production, direction, editing, music and writing. In all, the showman produced 17 films and directed 10 of them of which six were edited by him that included Sangam, Mera Naam Joker, Bobby, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Prem Rog and Ram Teri Ganga Maili. He won the Filmfare Award for Best Editing three times for Sangam in 1965, Prem Rog in 1983 and Ram Teri Ganga Maili in 1986.

Raj Kapoor

2. Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Hrishikesh Mukherjee was one of Bollywood’s iconic writer-producer-editor-director of the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Hrishida was known to have worked with most of the leading actors and actresses of their times including Ashok Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. He started as an apprentice in Bimal Roy’s production company where he wrote and edited Do Bigha Zamin (1953). After editing a bunch of movies Hrishida made his directorial debut with Musafir in 1957 and thereafter directed over 45 films including hits like Guddi, Anand, Bawarchi, Abhimaan, Chupke-Chupke, Gol Maal, Khubsoorat, etc. and edited most of them which included Anari, Aashiq, Aashirwad, Anand & Mili to name a few. He won the Filmfare award for Best Editing three times for Naukari in 1956, Madhumati in 1959 and Anand in 1972, respectively.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee

3. Vijay Anand

Fondly known as Goldie, the younger brother of Chetan Anand and Dev Anand, Vijay Anand was born to make films. At the age of 20, he wrote the script of Taxi Driver (1954) which starred his brother Dev Anand and directed by elder brother Chetan Anand.  At the age of 23, he made his directorial debut with Nau Do Gyarah (1957) and went on to direct thrillers like Kala Bazar, Tere Ghar Ke Samne, Guide, Teesri Manzil, Johny Mera Naam, Blackmail, Ram Balram and Rajput. As an editor, his first film was Kala Bazar (1960) starring all the three Anand brothers which were later followed by films like Guide, Teesri Manzil, Jewel Thief, Johny Mera Naam, Tere Mere Sapne, Chhupa Rustam, Blackmail, Bullet, Ram Balram, etc. He made his acting debut in Joru Ka Bhai (1955) and later went on to win the Filmfare Award for Best Director & Dialogue for Guide in 1966 and Best Editing & Screenplay for Johny Mera Naam in 1971.

Vijay Anand

4. Manoj Kumar

Another multi-talented Bollywood personality has been Manoj Kumar or Mr. Bharat for many of us. A veteran actor of more than 50 films, Manoj Kumar was also a producer, writer, lyricist, editor and director. Making his acting debut in 1957 with a cameo in Fashion, Manoj made it big as an actor with films like Hariyali Aur Rasta, Nakli Nawab, Dr. Vidya, Grahasti and Woh Kaun Thi? Despite ghost-directing films like Shaheed and Gumnaam, he made his official directorial debut with Upkar in 1967 which starred himself along with Asha Parekh, Prem Chopra and Pran. Movies that later followed like Shor, Roti Kapada Aur Makaan, Kranti, Clerk and Jai Hind were edited as well as directed by him. Besides winning Filmfare Award for Best Director for Upkar and Roti Kapada Aur Makaan, Shor helped him bag his first Filmfare Award for Best Editing in 1973.

Manoj Kumar

5. Feroz Khan

Actor-producer-director Feroz Khan also qualifies to the unique list of Bollywood directors who were also editors. The stylish and extravagant Feroz Khan was known for his unique way of making films which only he could have pulled off on-screen with ease. Though he acted in over 70 movies, he is most remembered for his directorial ventures like Apradh, Dharmatma, Qurbani and Janbaaz. Out of the 10 films that he directed he edited six of them which included Qurbani, Janbaaz, Dayavan, Yalgaar, Prem Aggan and Janasheen. Undoubtedly, he was one of Bollywood’s few multi-talented actor-producer-editor and directors of all time.

Feroz Khan

6. Subhash Ghai

Talk about famous Bollywood directors or movie Mughals and actor-writer-editor-producer-director Subhash Ghai’s name is up there with the very best. The showman who started off as an actor in director A. Salaam's Taqdeer in 1967 and later shifted to direction with the Shatrughan Sinha starrer Kalicharan in 1976 has so far directed and produced over 20 films of which many have been blockbusters like Karz, Vidhaata, Hero, Karma, Ram Lakhan, Khalnayak, etc. Many of us may not know that he has also edited some of his films like Taal (1999), Yaadein… (2001), Yuvvraaj (2008), and Kaanchi (2014). Though he has never won a Filmfare Award for Best Editing but has won it for Best Director for Saudagar in 1992.

Subhash Ghai

7. Rajiv Rai

Remember producer Gulshan Rai’s son Rajiv Rai who was one of Bollywood’s hot-shot directors of the 80s and 90s who made films like Yudh, Tridev, Mohra, Gupt and Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat, was also a competent writer and editor. Though Rajiv Rai started off as a writer and director but only later started editing his own movies from Vishwatma (1992) onwards. Some of the movies which he directed as well as edited were Mohra, Gupt: The Hidden Truth and Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat. If one may recall correctly, he bagged the Filmfare Award for Best Editing for Gupt: The Hidden Truth in 1998.

Rajiv Rai

8. N. Chandra

Chandrashekhar Narvekar who is better known as N. Chandra was one of Bollywood’s top-notch directors of the 80s and 90s. N. Chandra started off as an editor in the early 80s by editing famous films like Bezubaan, Woh 7 Din, Dharm Aur Qanoon and Mohabbat. He turned director with the hard-hitting Ankush in 1986 which starred Nana Patekar, Madan Joshi and Nisha Singh. Since then, he has not just edited and directed most of his films but also written and produced them which include Pratighaat, Tezaab, Narsimha, Beqabu and YMI: Yeh Mera India.

N. Chandra

9. David Dhawan

Veteran and entertainer director no.1 David Dhawan started his career as an editor with Saawan Kumar Tak’s Saajan Bina Suhagan in 1978. He was editor of more than 20 movies including Saajan Ki Saheli, Saath Saath, Lovers, Souten, Saaransh, Naam, Insaaf, etc. before turning director for Sanjay Dutt - Govinda starrer Taaqatwar in 1989. With more than 45 films under his belt, so far and most of them box-office hits, his role as an editor speaks volumes of his craft and dedication to cinema. He has been credited for directing as well as editing more than 13 of his films of which some are Swarg, Aag Ka Gola, Shola Aur Shabnam, Jodi No.1, Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge, Kyo Kii... Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta, etc.

David Dhawan

10. Rajkumar Hirani

Rajkumar Hirani is currently one of the leading directors of Hindi film industry who needs no introduction to movie lovers. A filmmaker par excellence who is yet to taste failure, Raju started his filmy career by editing director Joy Augustine’s shelved 1991 movie Jab Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya. Rajkumar’s association with director Vidhu Vinod Chopra during the shooting and editing of Mission Kashmir made the latter give the former to edit and direct the 2003 Sanjay Dutt - Arshad Warsi starrer Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., and as they say the rest is history. Besides, writing, directing, and editing all his movies which include Lage Raho Munnabhai, 3 Idiots, PK, and Sanju, all have been commercial and critical successes.

Rajkumar Hirani

11. Chandan Arora

An RGV favourite, Chandan Arora initially debuted as an editor in RGV’s Urmila Matondkar starrer Mast in 1999 and followed it up by editing other popular movies like Jungle, Company, Road, Cheeni Kum, Krrish 3, Ki & Ka, Pad Man, Kedarnath, Mission Mangal, etc. Chandan turned director in 2003 with the critically acclaimed Rajpal Yadav – Antara Mali starrer Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon! He wielded the megaphone once again for Main, Meri Patni... Aur Woh! (2005) and Striker (2010) which he also edited while the latter films he produced and wrote.

Chandan Arora

12. Shree Narayan Singh

Shree Narayan Singh made his Bollywood debut as an editor in 2008 with the Mithun Chakraborty starrer Don Muthu Swami. He later edited noted movies like A Wednesday, Special 26, Total Siyapaa, Baby, Rustom, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story and Missing. He has been credited with over 16 Bollywood movies as editor. He turned director with the light-hearted romantic drama Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai which released in 2012 and later delivered the Akshay Kumar-Bhumi Pednekar starrer Toilet: Ek Prem Katha and Shahid Kapoor-Shraddha Kapoor starrer Batti Gul Meter Chalu, all of which was also edited by him.

Shree Narayan Singh

13. Shyam Ramsay

Who can forget director - editor Shyam Ramsay who was part of the famous Ramsay brothers clan known for churning out horror films. Shyam Ramsay who formed the director-duo team along with brother Tulsi Ramsay made his directorial debut in 1975 with the horror flick Andheraa starring Sameer Khan, Vani Ganpati and Imtiaz Khan, turned editor later with Guest House in 1980. Since then, he has directed and edited most of his horror flicks which include Dahshat, Ghungroo Ki Awaaz, Purana Mandir, Telephone, Khel Mohabbat Ka, Veerana, etc.

Shyam Ramsay

14. Aruna Raje - Vikas Desai

The director - duo of Aruna Raje and Vikas Desai also make it to the list of Bollywood directors who edited their own films. The husband-wife director jodi was probably Bollywood's only husband-wife director pair who not made films but also edited them competently. Some of their well-known work together was in films like Shaque (1976), Gehrayee (1980) and Situm (1982) which were directed as well as edited by them. After their separation, Aruna Raje went solo and continued to direct and edit her own films which included Rihaee (1988), Bhairavi (1996) and Tum: A Dangerous Obsession (2004).

Aruna Raje - Vikas Desai

15. Suraj Prakash

Last but not the least, director Suraj Prakash was well-known as a producer, actor, writer, editor and director who made most of his successful films with Shashi Kapoor in the lead. Some of his notable films were Mehndi Lagi Mere Haath (1962), Phool Bane Angaare (1963), Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Aamne Saamne (1967), Seema (1971), Vachan (1974) and Jazbaat (1980), etc. Out of the sixteen-odd films he directed, five of them were also edited by him which included Mehndi Lagi Mere Haath (1962), Phool Bane Angaare (1963), Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965), Aamne Saamne (1967) and Dard-E-Dil (1983). His last directorial was Zindagi which released in 2000.

Suraj Prakash

16. S. Panju

Part of the Krishnan – Panju director duo, S. Panju was prominent in Hindi as well as Tamil and Telugu films in the 50s, 60s and 70s. S. Panju along with R. Krishnan directed some of the most memorable social family dramas like Bhabhi (1957), Barkha (1959), Man-Mauji (1962), Mera Qasoor Kya Hai (1964), Laadla (1966), Do Kaliyan (1968), Shaandaar (1974), etc. S. Panju who edited most of his own films went by the name of S. Punjabi and included films like Bhabhi, Barkha, Bindiya, Shaadi, Man-Mauji, Mera Qasoor Kya Hai, Do Kaliyan, Main Sundar Hoon, etc.

S. Panju