PeepingMoon 2022: From SS Rajamouli, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ayan Mukerji, Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri to Anees Bazmee- Top Directors who ruled the year with their entertaining films


The year 2022 furnished us with some really great films after two years of pandemic lockdown. Although there was no dearth of entertainment thanks to OTT but our film directors ensured that the audience get to enjoy the films on the big screen with one stellar movie after another.

This year we had several blockbusters such as RRR, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Kantara, KGF: Chapter 2, Brahmastra, Ponniyin Selvan 1, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, The Kashmir Files, Drishyam 2, Jalsa etc keeping the audiences happy and entertained. Here’s a look at the top directors of 2022.

SS Rajamouli – RRR

SS Rajamouli broke all records with his magnum opus RRR. The film grossed a whopping Rs 1200 crore at the box office worldwide. Boasting of a stellar star cast that includes Ram Charan, Jr.NTR, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Shriya Saran and others, RRR got fans and the industry singing its praise. The film is on the verge of creating history as it is speculated to bag Golden Globes nomination and has been submitted under For Your Consideration category in Oscars 2023 in all 14 categories.

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Rishab Shetty – Kantara

Rishab Shetty got everyone to applaud him for not only directing a well-crafted film in Kantara but acting as the lead in it as well. The film proved to be a blockbuster at the box office and even impressed the critics with its taut storyline, direction and narrative.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali – Gangubai Kathiawadi

Sanjay Leela Bhansali proved once again why he is the most sought-after director in Bollywood with Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi. The film earned accolades as well as kept the cash registers ringing becoming one of the first blockbuster films after the theatres opened post the pandemic.

Ayan Mukerji –Brahmastra Part One: Shiva

Ayan Mukerji did the unthinkable with Brahmastra Part One: Shiva. The director successfully created an Astraverse based on Hindu mythology on similar lines of Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film after several delays released in theatres and lit up the box office with its commendable VFX. It became probably the first Indian film to employ special effects at par with Hollywood flicks. The film also had a stellar star cast that included Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Nagarjuna Akkineni, Mouni Roy and Dimple Kapadia. Brahmastra is the first film in Ayan’s trilogy and the film has already given rise to several fan theories of what the sequels will entail along with a spinoff on SRK’s character. It is probably the first time that the Indian audience started propagating their own canon and theories for an Indian film the way they do with MCU and DCEU films and other Hollywood movies.

Mani Ratnam- Ponniyin Selvan 1

Mani Ratnam got his dream come true with the release of his ambitious project Ponniyin Selvan 1. The film brought to life Kalki’s famous book depicting the power struggles during the Chola kingdom. The film had an ensemble star cast of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Vikram, Trisha Aishwarya Lekshmi, Sobhita Dhulipala, Jayaram, Sarathkumar, Prakash Raj, Prabhu amongst others. The film was a visual spectacle with special attention given to the costume, jewelry and look of each character.

Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri – The Kashmir Files

Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri managed to bring the painful history of India’s genocide of Kashmiri Pandits and their exodus from the Kashmir valley in his film. The Kashmir Files struck a chord with not only the people who became refugees in their own country after being terrorized and forced to flee from their home state but also managed to get the rest of the Indians identify and feel their pain. The director deserves accolade for the fact that he brought to fore India’s own sordid past which is not actually eons old but happened in 1990 and was carefully and diligently buried due to political reasons; after all the Indian public knew more about Nazi Germany and the persecution of Jews during the World War II but was happily oblivious of the torture, trauma and genocide of Kashmiri Hindus in the valley.

Anees Bazmee – Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2

Anees Bazmee had the last laugh when his film Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 became the year’s first blockbuster. The film starring Kartik Aaryan, Tabu and Kiara Advani in the lead was one of the most anticipated films of the year and managed to live up to the expectations. A perfect blend of horror, comedy and romance, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 not only took the franchise one step further but also managed to make Kartik the new-age superstar in his own right. The film appealed to everyone including kids.

Prashanth Neel- KGF: Chapter 2

Prashanth Neel lit up the box office with his blockbuster sequel KGF:Chapter 2 starring Yash , Srinidhi Shetty, Sanjay Dutt and Raveena Tandon. The film broke several box office records and emerged as one of the most watched films of the year.

Anvita Dutt - Qala

Anvita Dutt directed Qala, one of the most highly-acclaimed films of the year. The critics gave it thumbs up for its direction, aesthetic appeal and performance. Starring Triptii Dimri, Babil I Khan, Amit Sial and Swastika Mukherje, Qala establishes Anvita as a director par excellence.

Abhishek Pathak – Drishyam 2

Abhishek Pathak took on the directing reins from Nishikant Kamat after his demise for Drishyam 2 and managed to deliver a winner at the box office. The murder mystery starring Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Akshaye Khanna, Shriya Saran, Rajat Kapoor, Ishita Dutta and Mrunal Jadhav is the sequel to Drishyam which was a remake of Mohanlal’s Malayalam hit of the same name. However, Abhishek managed to spin a suspenseful film with new twists and turns which resulted in a whopping box office number. The film continues its golden run at the box office.

Suresh Triveni – Jalsa

Suresh Triveni scored a winner with Jalsa and with his lead star cast of Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah. The film debuted on OTT but managed to become the talk-of-the-town with its direction and performance. Triveni scored with his taut narrative that proved an interesting and intriguing watch.

Revathy – Salaam Venky

Revathy’s Salaam Venky is based on the true story of Venkatesh who went to court to demand passive euthanasia for himself. Bringing to screen a real-life inspiring story that hinges on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a rare genetic disorder, Revathy gets her actors – Kajol and Vishal Jethwa to emote perfectly on screen.

Rohit Shetty – Cirkus

Rohit Shetty was back with a bang with his mad comic caper Cirkus, that stars Ranveer Singh and Varun Sharma in dual roles. The film also stars Jacqueline Fernandez and Pooja Hegde along with Shetty’s regulars Ashwini Kalsekar, Sanjay Mishra, Johny Lever and Vrajesh Hirjee. The film did not create a big impact on the box office as compared to his other directorials. Nevertheless, this was just an off film for him and he will definitely roar back with added gusto in the days to come. 

Anirudh Iyer 

An intriguing narrative of the toxic relationship of film stars with media and fans, T-Series & Colour Yellow Productions’ An Action Hero was one of the many tales scribbled in Aniruddh Iyer’s notebook. Interestingly, while crafting the narrative, the director who earlier worked as an AD on Zero and Tanu Weds Manu ensured he didn’t pick any sides in An Action Hero, leaving it to the audience to introspect in this David vs Goliath battle between Ayushmann Khurrana and Jaideep Ahlawat. Aniruddh handled the complex narrative with much aplomb and gave one of the best action comedy thriller which wowed the critics. If his first film, is anything to go by then this director is here to stay.

Jasmeet K Reen

Who better than a female director to understand and beautifully capture the plight of domestic abuse and that’s exactly what Jasmeet K Reen did like a pro in her dark-comedy Darlings produced by Red Chillies Entertainment and Alia Bhatt’s debut production venture Eternal Sunshine Productions. The director stayed true to her vision, undaunted by the enormity attached to the project with the names headlining it. Jasmeet made a confident debut by getting career best performances from Alia Bhatt, Shefali Shah, Vijay Verma & Roshan Matthews.

Special Mentions

Sudhir Mishra directed action thriller series Tanaav which was a remake of Israeli TV series Fauda. It premiered on SonyLIV. Subhash Kapoor directed web series Maharani 2 that was headlined by Huma Qureshi, Amit Sial and Sohum Shah.