Shahrukh Summer: Discussion Post for Director’s Week, Rank Shahrukh’s Directors

This is the kind of thing that fans can talk about long into the night and no one else cares about. Which of Shahrukh’s directors is his best collaborator?

(I am arbitrarily deciding which directors to put in my list, but you can add others if you want)

Aziz Mehra

One of the people who “discovered” Shahrukh, he helped bring him from Delhi to Bombay. And then became his business partner in his first production house, Dreamz Unlimited. There is a kind of sweetness and silliness to the Shahrukh-Aziz movies.

Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman

Yes Boss

Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

Chalte Chalte

Rakesh Roshan

The only director to see Shahrukh primarily as an action star! If you want to see a rough tough horse riding kind of SRK, go to Rakesh

King Uncle



Yash Chopra

Yashji! He is the one who brought out Shahrukh the romantic, Shahrukh the dangerous fast talker, Shahrukh the charmer.


Dil To Pagal Hai


Jab Tak Hain Jaan

Aditya Chopra

The one who really made Shahrukh. Directed two really great films with him, and one kind of boring one-off.

Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayange


Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Mahesh Bhatt

For those of you who are Duplicate Superfans (really, just my friend who nags me every time I ignore it), I will include Mahesh.



Karan Johar

Shahrukh’s best friend, the artist with which he has the closest understanding and connection. But does that necessarily bring out his best performances?

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

My Name is Khan

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Santosh Sivan

Only one movie, but it was a very different kind of movie and a different kind of role, so I am including it. Shahrukh as a vicious ruler Asoka.


Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Again, only one movie, but a big important one. And Bhansali is such a distinctive director, I thought it was worth including.


Farah Khan

Wow, it was really late in his career that Farah showed up! Although in another way, she had been there all along doing his songs and dances.

Main Hoon Na

Om Shanti Om

Happy New Year

Farhan Akhtar

Only 2 movies, but important different movies and an important different kind of role. And Farhan, like Bhansali, is a really distinctive director.

Don 1

Don 2

Rohit Shetty

On that’s right, Rohit did two movies with him! I always forget because they feel like such different movies to me, and came in such different points in his career.

Chennai Express


Gauri Shinde

I just love her so much, and what she did with Shahrukh. She deserves to be on this list, looking at Shahrukh with such a different eye from other directors.

Dear Zindagi

Imtiaz Ali

Only one movie but, again, such a different eye for Shahrukh from other directors, I really respect that.

Jab Harry Met Sejal

Okay, you ready for my rankings?

Aditya Chopra (almost dropped him for Mohabbatein, but the other two films are just so good)

Karan Johar (love him or hate him, he really does bring out something special in SRK)

Imtiaz Ali (TWIST! I almost put Yashji here, but his last two SRK films were just so disappointing)

Gauri Shinde (Only one movie, but it was the kind of performance we have never seen before)

Rohit Shetty (So sue me, I like Chennai Express and Dilwale)

Yash Chopra (Okay, now he gets to be on the list)

Aziz Mirza (there really is a special sweetness to his SRK films)

Farhan Akhtar (brought out the darker side of SRK)

Farah Khan (brought out the silly side)

Rakesh Roshan (I do love a little bit of rough tough stable boy SRK)

Mahesh Bhatt (They aren’t great movies, but they are definitely different movies)

Santosh Sivan (Interesting performance and all that, but ruined for me by the wig)

Sanjay Leela Bhansali (I just hate Devdas, and I think the way he prettied it up ended up weakening Shahrukh’s performance)

Okay, what’s your ranking? You don’t have to do all of them, just top and bottom or top 3 or whatever.


50 thoughts on “Shahrukh Summer: Discussion Post for Director’s Week, Rank Shahrukh’s Directors

  1. Sorry to butt in early without even having looked at your post properly! Just informing you that your friend has great taste. I’m a fan of Duplicate as well and will post a fan video of it later today. So there! Also will be getting back to this magnificent post once I got through all of it!


  2. Being a south indian, i have watched very few shah rukh movies

    But based on plot and songs, these are my top 3 srk movies:

    3. Karan Arjun
    2. Baazigar
    1. Ashoka

    I have watched none of those 3 movies, but maybe I should buy a cd of Ashoka and watch it !?


    • If you liked Urumi, you should check out Asoka. Same director and very similar feel.

      On Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 10:55 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. I know! I must say, after having watched HNY and Dilwale, Duplicate doesn’t feel quite as weird anymore on the weird-o-meter scale. Hahahahaha!


  4. I’ve watched all of the really good Mahesh Bhatt films so I have a really favorable impression of him as a director but I am staying far far away from Duplicate. I think my favorite two are Aditya Chopra and Imtiaz Ali (because I love JHMS so much). I want to say Yash Chopra but…I really do not like his latter day films which unfortunately mainly feature SRK. I still think he should have retired after Darr


    • That was my journey with Yashji too! I wanted to put him right at the top of the list just for Darr and inventing the whole “Shahrukh” persona. But DTPH isn’t great, and it just goes down from there.

      On Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 11:21 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • I considered Nikhil Advani! But then I went down a mental rabbit hole if debating whether KHNH is more his movie or Karan’s movie and so on and so forth. I like Nikhil as a director in other films, but KHNH is his only film with SRK, and Karan wrote the script, and I just don’t know.

      On Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 3:07 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  5. My 3 personal favorites, in no particular order:

    Imtiaz Ali – I was dreading JHMS because prior to this movie, I really didn’t like his work. I liked Jab We Met but I figured it must have been a fluke plus it was a simple type of romcom. But man.. the kind of performance he got out of SRK is amazing. You don’t get to see such internalized acting in BW most of the time because those types of roles are few and far between. It wasn’t that SRK just clamped himself down like I felt he did in something like Swades. He became this other person. It’s very difficult to bring different expressions after 30 years but here it definitely felt different. Even a normal smile seemed slightly different from normal, like it wasn’t SRK. This is the performance Ranbir wishes he could have given in all those previous dreary movies Imtiaz made.

    Santosh Sivan – Extremely underrated. Asoka is an uneven movie but the parts that work really really work. I haven’t seen it in years but I still remember a scene in the water where SRK kills someone. It is so evil and so eerily beautiful. I love this movie and wish it could be remade somehow with SRK again but with more authenticity and no weird modern hair.

    Farhan Akhtar – For the coolness factor. Don is just so cool and whip smart and SRK gets such good one-liners. Just that “boom” he says before an explosion should be in a highlights reel one day when doing a career tribute. Farhan deserves to be on there for remembering that SRK can do a lot more than romance.

    The director that should be in the Hall of Shame: Anand Rai. For making THE worst movie of SRK’s career. This movie has no explanation. So much money and so much talent wasted on a shockingly bad absurd movie. For all the hype about the dwarfness – we regressed back to the same old charming SRK impressing women and looking ridiculous with his blond-ish hair and annoying star cameos and bad music. I would like to delete that Salman song from my memory forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m very iffy about Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra. I understand their importance in SRK’s career and stardom but it’s a double edged sword. On one hand, they helped make him a big star. On the other hand, their consistent and laser focus on love and romance really burdened SRK and diminished his capabilities in the long run.


    • Good way to put it. MNIK did open Shahrukh up a bit, and so did Rab Ne in a different way, but they are still definitely in the romance genre, or more accurately “relationship based storytelling” genre. If you look at his pre-DDLJ career, there was just so much more variety to it.


      • I have to put Karan high on the list, maybe at the top, for MNIK, plus as I’ve gone back to KKHH and K3G (and KHNH if you count that as a Karan film) after a few years since I first watched them, his performances really are very good. Even though I totally agree that they probably defined him in a way that was limiting. KANK on the other hand knocks Karan down a peg.

        What about two of his other best performances, Chak De India (Shimit Amin) and Fan (Maneet Sharma)? One offs but if Imtiaz gets counted for JHMS and Santosh Sivan for Asoka then shouldn’t they get counted too?


        • I’ll throw in two more for you, Ashutosh Gowarikar (Swades) and Kundun Shah (Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa). I just don’t know what to do with the one-offs! I couldn’t resist Asoka and Dear Zindagi because they were such different performances, clearly about the actor-director creating something new. Chak De, I’m not as sure about because the director hasn’t made anything else, so I don’t know if that was the director and actor or just Shahrukh. And Fan, I mean, where does that belong? It’s a script and a role only he could play, written for him, that’s like beyond directing, right?

          On Thu, Sep 5, 2019 at 10:46 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • I like Shimit Amin’s other movies – Ab Tak Chappan – a must watch for Nana Patekar and Revati; and Rocket Singh – probably one of the few movies where I liked Ranbir


          • I rate Swades and KHKN in my SRK’s top 5. If you’re including one-offs, Dil Se should be included. BTW, have you watched the movie Hey Ram! of Kamal Hassan? SRK has a Sikh costume in that! Both these movies gave SRK some visibility in the South.


  7. I vehemently agree with what yjbasu writes…

    I think I would go with my feeling about whom of his directors I would like ShahRukh working with again…and there would neither be an Aditya nor a Karan any more, but there would definitely be Amit, Imtiaz, Maneesh, Abbas-Mustan, Santosh, Ashutosh, Rohit, Mani Ratman, Rahul Dholakia and Kamal Hussain. They had given to ShahRukh the possibility to show the range of his abilities as an actor – beyond the story told. A special mention to Kundan Shah who has died in 2917.

    Strangely, I would also like another movie with Aanand Rai and Anubhav Sinha as directors under the premiss that there is less money /VFX involved (and that ShahRukh may follow more their ideas and not his own imagination/wishes).


      • Just to state…please no Farah anymore, no Bhansali and no Roshan either…Aziz won’t direct any movie anymore and Yashji is dead.
        I think that all those I don’t want ShahRukh to work with anymore, did good jobs in establishing him as the mega star he has become, but I like to look forward, so they’ll fall behind in my mind.


        • I agree with no Bhansali, but I would be okay with him working again with the other two, depending on the film. I would love to see Farah and Shahrukh do a small film. She brings out such silliness in him, if that was used in a human level comedy, it could be really interesting. Like, Shahrukh is a small store keeper who wants to win the neighborhood talent contest. And with Roshan, it has been so long since they worked together, I’d love to see how their action films felt different now. But that probably won’t happen, I think Roshan is dying.

          On Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 7:02 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  8. Okay, this is going to be a useless comment simply because, after going through your extensive list, I cannot rank these directors. I’ve seen quite a few of these films now and cannot even make out my favorites without thinking, “oh, but this one should be up there, too”. This is tough.

    Oh, I can make a distinction, somewhat. While I truly enjoyed Dilwale and half of Chennai Express (simply because I’ve only watched half so far), I am not sure whether the character development of the characters is that strong. I think Dilwale is great, but in a very odd way. I constantly had question marks on my head. The same holds true for Chennai Express. I found myself highly entertained but it felt more like a “show” of skills than a story with character growth, which I didn’t mind at all in CE, but would have loved more of in Dilwale because the potential to flesh out the main characters more was there.

    So, because I love strong character development in films, I will rank Rohit Shetty’s movies slightly under the other ones for that. He does get full marks for the entertainment level and magnificent and exciting, super colorful cinematography as well as creativity.


    • Have you watched Happy New Year yet? It might drop Farah down with Rohit for you. Fun movie, very weak characters I think.

      On Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 10:38 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Yes, I have and I loved it! Farah can’t fall anyway as she did Om Shanti Om. Haven’t seen the other one by her yet.

        HNY, to me, is so ridiculous from the get go, that I had no other expectations other than to be highly entertained. And the movie didn’t disappoint at all. I mean, wanting to rob a bank and having to do a dance competition? Who thinks up such a whacky plot in the first place?

        I found myself cracking up a lot just because everything is just so over top and silly and it kinda “just works” for me. And I didn’t mind that they threw away the potential romance storyline either. I wasn’t that interested in it to begin with. I did find that, out of all the characters, perhaps Deepika and Abhishek had the most “fleshed out” character development of them all. I loved her getting weak in the knees whenever someone would speak English. That really was hilarious.

        There were many little quirky details that were just fun to watch.

        I also truly liked Dilwale. But, I wanted to see more of SRK and Kajol. I don’t know. The moments they did have, felt too intense every time, leaving me wondering what else was there that I’m supposed to imagine. I’d have preferred slightly more screen time for their story and a tiny bit less for their siblings’ storyline. But still, it’s a strangely enjoyable film for me, regardless.

        And CE, still have to watch it in full (and awake).


        • CE builds in a lot more depth of character in the second half, wait for that.

          And Farah’s first movie is so fun! It’s wild and wacky and funny and just great, you will love it.

          On Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 10:56 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  9. I am going to add Maneesh Sharma and thus Fan to the list. I just finished watching it for the first time and I’m super depressed now. That was terrifying. Sigh. Not sure what else to say eight but he has to be on my list and quite at the top.


    • So happy you watched it! Yes, sad dark movie, but oh my gosh Shahrukh’s performance is so brilliant!

      On Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 7:46 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Yes. It’s gut-wrenching. A nightmare. For both. I couldn’t stop crying. And I’m still saddened after two hours. That was a tour de force in every which way. I’d give him two Screen Actors Guilds Awards (just because I rate them higher than the Oscars); one for Aryan and one for Gaurav.


        • Honestly I feel like Fan is just a perfect showcase of Shahrukh of an actor both past in present. Gaurav is very early 90s srk and Aryan is like present day srk. Now that I think about it I think my favorite srk performances (Dil Se, JHMS, KHKN, Fan) seem to be from movies where he collaborated with the director only once. Maybe they pushed him to new boundaries or something.


          • Yes. That’s so spot on! And thank you for holding Dil Se and JHMS in such high regard. I love, love, LOVE them. The intensity of his performance in Dil Se and the theme of the film make it difficult to watch it as frequently as I would like just because I cannot get enough of his acting in that movie. His character is so very complex and multi-faceted, it’s mesmerizing and awe-inducing. It’s that good. And he completely aces JHMS but Fan… wow. Fan is just out of this world good in terms of performance.


          • JHMS is one of those films I’ve grown to be very supportive/protective of because everyone kept on bashing it when it came out and I’ve grown to love it. Been on a Mani Ratnam watching spree recently so I rewatched Dil Se a few weeks ago. I remember the first time I watched it I felt like I got hit by a truck and my brain just kind of shut down and I avoided thinking about it. Also the only Mani Ratnam films I’ve seen before that were Roja and Bombay so the more abstract style of Dil Se threw me in for a loop. But the during my revisit I absolutely loved all of it and was with it every step of the way. I admit that out of the two characters I was invested in Manisha (she’s really become one of my favorite 90s actresses) the most but Shahrukh is also really really good in it. I’ve always liked him best as a sort of anti-hero figure and the crazy passionate lover thing is where he really shines

            Liked by 1 person

          • I think you are on to something about the directors and SRK. It’s the same with some of his heroines. He’s got a great rapport with Juhi and Rani and Kajol and his other frequent flyers, but there’s something special with his one-offs, Karisma and Priyanka (counting Don 1 and 2 as one film) and Preity (not counting Dil Se since she wasn’t the heroine) and Sushmita and Mahima and Mahira and Raveena.

            On Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 8:13 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

          • Wait he did two films with Sushmita though? That’s I pairing I really enjoy! The two actresses I really wished he did more work with are Karisma and Urmilla. Especially Urmilla. I feel like the two of them have similar acting styles and are able to generate a lot of intensity.


          • Oh right, although Dulha Mil Gaya was really more of an extended cameo. It wasn’t really about them co-leading a film.

            Agree about Karisma and Urmila! Especially because their films were so young, I’d love to see them come together again for a more mature kind of story.

            On Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 9:01 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



        • Fan was brilliant. If they had cut down those chase scenes a little bit, it would have been a perfect movie.

          I’ve realized that I like SRK’s flops so much more than his hits. Right from the time of Dil Se to Paheli to Fan to Jab Harry Met Sejal. And there’s even more with films like Swades and Asoka. When it comes to silly and fun movies, even Badshah or something like Yes Boss is so much better than other actors’ frivolous movies.

          It’s just so sad that SRK doesn’t get acknowledged for his best work. I could be wrong because nobody can predict the future but I really do think these flops will age a lot better than stupid crap hits like Chennai Express. (I have so much hatred for Rohit Shetty – second in line only to Anand Rai)


          • Dil Se and Swades have already been redeemed. In an irritating fashion, with all the critics now being like “they are obviously good and groundbreaking”, when we can go back to the release and see those same critics just not getting them. I am trying to just hold on and wait for Fan and JHMS to be redeemed the same way.

            Liked by 1 person

          • It is a bit saddening, I agree. My hope is that maybe the results of his past few films are not encouraging but somehow liberating to just do whatever he wants, if possible on celluloid. If he no longer feels the pressure to be the leader of the pack, maybe he can do more unpopular stuff. If the last few movies are what’s to be expected from unpopular movies, then please do more!

            Regarding Dil Se… I feel with Dil Se that perhaps it’s truly too hardcore, too much to take for some. And I get that. But then, what I like about what I have seen from him so far is that he is so brilliant at being absolutely disturbing a character or totally messed up / broken as well as over the top silly and out of it. I truly enjoy that he works with such a massive spectrum of emotions, and not just that, but some of what I have seen from him is genuinely good food for thought too.


          • I have a theory that the Indian audience is so deeply attached to their onscreen heroes that they need for them to be idealized all the time. They have to be heroes all the time. That’s why there is so much fury even in real life if they say something that the general public doesn’t like. In other cultures, nobody cares. They don’t have that attachment to their actors.

            SRK is failing with the crowds lately IMO because he is choosing to play these flawed, unlikeable, and sometimes irritating characters and the general audience can’t make head or tails of what he’s doing. They want to see villains being beat up, lectures about social issues and straightforward stories about good and evil or right vs. wrong. SRK isn’t providing the easy. A dwarf should be sympathetic and make you cry about his pain but SRK’s version is an annoying egotistical little man who has as much pride as taller people do. A womanizer is supposed to be a bad guy, period, but SRK’s version is a decent person who is lost in life. Muslim characters should be the nice best friends or the evil terrorists – but again SRK’s version is a million different things put together. These characters he plays lately are so human you can almost touch them and that’s not what they want from their heroes. It’s too uncomfortable and doesn’t provide the sheer easy comfort that simple characters in simple stories do.

            Liked by 1 person

        • One of my favorite SRK stories, I went to see Fan with a friend and her girlfriend, the friend was a fellow SRKian and the girlfriend had seen maybe a half dozen Shahrukh movies. We talked about the movie all the way home, mostly how brilliant SRK was, and then at the last minute as we were almost about to say good-bye, the girlfriend said “yeah, Shahrukh was good, but the young guy was good too”. And we had to break the news to her that that was Shahrukh too. Just both such brilliant performances. And you’ve seen enough real life Shahrukh interviews now to appreciate how he played Aryan as himself, but not quite himself.

          On Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 8:03 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 2 people

          • Exactly! He plays the superstar who isn’t quite like him but then a lot like him. Gaurav looks quite like him but then not quite like him. He acts quite like his idol but then not quite as well. Everything feels so nuanced, so fine tuned and it gave me thrills to watch and observe these distinctions. Perfect example is when Aryan plays Gaurav playing Aryan. I need to watch the movie again his weekend.


          • Omg, I had the same experience with my mother!! She’s been watching SRK forever so you would not expect it from her. Now keep in mind that she is completely out of the BW space, does not watch promos and does not know any gossip. She has no connection to BW whatsoever other than occasionally watching movies.

            After the movie ended, she said she was disappointed. I was confused and asked why and she said “SRK only had a small role.” I was flabbergasted and asked what she meant and she thought someone else played Gaurav. She was completely confused and thought they had found a similar looking actor to SRK for that role.

            Liked by 1 person

  10. PS: I’m also going to add Mani Ratnam in my top ten for having given me Dil Se which is also one of my absolute favorites and easily kn my top 5.


    • Mani Ratnam is just a phenomenal director all around, if you are ever ready to branch out to non-SRK movies (you know, in a few years), you should check out everything he does.

      On Fri, Sep 6, 2019 at 7:50 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

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