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Ashutosh Gowariker posters


February 15, 1964

Birth Sign




An actor who took up directing after almost a decade, Ashutosh Gowariker is one of those rare people who take the path less taken and, although it was a rough going, he is now one of India's elite directors. He began his film career modeling in commercials by Govind Nihalani and Jenny Pinto. He entered Hindi cinema with Ketan Mehta's Holi (1985), as Ranjeet Prakash, one of the main protagonists. His acting career continued with Mahesh Bhatt's Naam (1986), David Rathod's West Is West (1987), Saeed Akhtar Mirza's Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989), Jalal Agha's Goonj (1989), Anant Balani's Gawaahi (1989), and Kundan Shah's Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (1994). He also acted in award-winning Marathi-language films such as the Ujwal Thengdi creation Vazir (1994) and Shrabani Deodhar's Sarkarnama (1998). Alongside these features, TV serials like Amol Palekar's Kachchi Dhoop (1987), the Saeed Akhtar Mirza & Aziz Mirza-Kundan Shah collaboration Circus (1989), and Pradeep Uppoor and B.P. Singh's C.I.D. (1998) also found him in front of the camera and, incidentally, brought him into contact with the finest minds in contemporary Indian cinema. read more

All the exposure gave Gowariker a desire to helm the camera and in 1993 he made his directorial debut with Pehla Nasha (1993), a whodunit about a struggling actor who gets drawn into a murder surrounding the death of a millionaire heiress. It didn't do well at the box office, but his next venture, Baazi (1995), enjoyed average success. It told the story of the nexus between politicians, gunrunners and terrorists and a righteous cop (Aamir Khan) who is hell-bent on breaking this ring. Then came what is still considered his greatest success: Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001). The film veered away from most norms used in the making of a commercial Hindi film--it was a period drama set in rural India; its language was a dialect; a British cast was included; it is a musical; and, above all, it's a film about sports. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign-language Film and earned worldwide raves for its direction. In the meantime, Gowariker directed a series of five commercials for Coca-Cola. These too became hits and won accolades at every advertising function in India. Currently, he is basking in the glory of his third film, Swades (2004), which, although not as great a hit as Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001), is being praised by critics. His next film is Jodhaa Akbar (2008), which the international film community waits for with bated breath.

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