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Ranking the Top 10 Highest-Paid Directors in the Film Industry

In the glamorous world of filmmaking, where creativity meets commerce, directors play a pivotal role in bringing stories to life on the silver screen. Beyond their artistic vision, these directors command significant paychecks, reflecting not only their talent but also the commercial success they bring to studios. As we delve into the realm of Hollywood and beyond, we embark on a journey to uncover the top 10 highest-paid directors in the film industry, exploring their achievements, earnings, and the impact they've made on cinema.

Let’s have a look at the list of Top 10 highest paid Directors in Movie industry.


S.S. Rajamouli 

200cr per movie


Sandeep Reddy Vanga

100cr per movie


Prashanth Neel

100cr per movie


Rajkumar Hirani

80cr per movie



75cr per movie


Sanjay Leela Bhansali

55cr to 65cr per movie/series



60cr per movie


Lokesh Kanagaraj

60cr per movie


S. Shankar

40cr to 50cr per movie


Siddharth Anand

30cr to 50cr per movie

1. S.S. Rajamouli 

S.S. Rajamouli stands as a luminary within Indian cinema, particularly renowned for his contributions to Telugu filmmaking. Widely celebrated as one of the most influential directors in the history of the Indian film industry, Rajamouli has spearheaded the Pan-Indian films movement. His upbringing within a Telugu family, born to V. Vijayendra Prasad and Raja Nandini, roots him deeply in the cultural fabric of Andhra Pradesh. With a prolific career spanning 12 feature films, Rajamouli's directorial prowess has birthed mega blockbusters such as "Baahubali: The Beginning," "Baahubali: The Conclusion," and the upcoming "RRR." Notably, it was through the groundbreaking success of the "Baahubali" series that Rajamouli propelled the Pan-Indian films movement to unprecedented heights. Anticipation mounts for his next venture, tentatively titled "SSMB29," marking his maiden collaboration with the esteemed "Superstar" Mahesh Babu. Set to embark on a globetrotting action adventure, the film is slated to commence production in 2024, promising yet another milestone in Rajamouli's illustrious career.

2. Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Sandeep Reddy Vanga's journey to becoming a prominent filmmaker is rooted in his formative years and educational pursuits. Raised in Warangal, he attended Platinum Jubilee High School before relocating to Hyderabad to complete his schooling. His academic path led him to pursue a bachelor's degree in physiotherapy from SDM College in Dharwad, Karnataka.

Despite his early interest in filmmaking, it was during his college tenure that Vanga solidified his aspiration to pursue it professionally. Following a stint as an apprentice in Visakhapatnam for the film "Manasu Mata Vinadu" (2005), he ventured into the world of cinema. He honed his craft at the Academy of Film, Theatre, and Television (AFTT) in Sydney, Australia.

His entry into the film industry saw him collaborating with seasoned professionals, including working as an assistant director with Kiran Kumar for the Tollywood film "Kedi" (2006) and as an associate director alongside Kranthi Madhav for "Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju" (2015). While initially planning his directorial debut with "Sugar Factory," Vanga deferred the project to focus on "Arjun Reddy" (2017). This decision proved pivotal, as "Arjun Reddy," produced on a modest budget of Rs. 4-5 crores, emerged as a sensational success, grossing over Rs. 50 crores ($8 million) at the box office.

3. Prashanth Neel

In an interview, Prashant Neel disclosed that his film draws profound inspiration from the timeless epic, Mahabharata. The gangster dynasty portrayed in the Kolar Gold Fields finds its roots in the illustrious Kuru lineage, with the venerable Suryavardhan embodying shades of Dhritrashtra and Bhishma. Central to the narrative is Rocky, whose character is intricately woven with that of Karna, the legendary figure from Mahabharata. Much like Karna's pivotal role in the ancient saga, Rocky emerges as the central figure amidst the familial strife, catalyzing a transformative journey for the Kuru family. His ascent from humble beginnings mirrors Karna's trajectory, as he navigates the treacherous terrain of the Gold Fields, altering the fate of the entire underworld clan and its leaders. Through his charismatic persona and unwavering resolve, Rocky transcends from obscurity to wield unparalleled influence, emerging as a beacon of hope and justice for the downtrodden. Resolute in his convictions, he epitomizes the virtues of benevolence and integrity, embodying the essence of a true hero.

4. Rajkumar Hirani

Rajkumar Hirani stands as a prominent figure in Indian cinema, renowned for his multifaceted roles as a film director and editor. With a directorial portfolio boasting five Hindi films, including iconic titles such as "Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.," "Lage Raho Munna Bhai," "3 Idiots," "PK," and "Sanju," Hirani has consistently delivered both commercial blockbusters and critically acclaimed works. His cinematic endeavors have garnered widespread acclaim, earning numerous awards, including prestigious national accolades. Notably, Hirani's contributions to Indian cinema have been recognized with a staggering 11 Filmfare Awards, cementing his status as a trailblazer in the industry. As a testament to his creative vision and entrepreneurial spirit, he is the founder and proprietor of Rajkumar Hirani Films, a production house dedicated to crafting compelling narratives that resonate with audiences across the globe.

5. Sukumar

Bandreddi Sukumar, affectionately known as Sukumar, is a prominent figure in the Telugu film industry, recognized for his multifaceted roles as a screenwriter, film director, and producer.

Sukumar's journey into the world of cinema is rooted in his upbringing. Born to Tirupathi Rao Naidu, a rice trader, and Veera Veni, a homemaker, Sukumar spent his formative years in Razole, Andhra Pradesh, where he attended a Zilla Parishad High School. His academic pursuits led him to attain a master's degree in Mathematics.

Before embarking on his cinematic endeavors, Sukumar found himself teaching mathematics at a junior college in Bhimavaram. However, he soon realized that his passion lay elsewhere, prompting him to make the transition into the film industry.

Upon relocating to Hyderabad to pursue his newfound passion, Sukumar initially delved into writing for television serials and films. Subsequently, he gained hands-on experience as an assistant director, contributing to projects such as "Manasichi Choodu" (1999), among others.

6. Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Sanjay Leela Bhansali stands as an illustrious figure in Bollywood, revered for his cinematic prowess and acclaimed directorial ventures. Having collaborated with the industry's luminaries, Bhansali has earned a distinguished reputation as one of Bollywood's most sought-after directors.

Commencing his journey as an assistant director under the tutelage of Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Bhansali's directorial oeuvre is characterized by his distinctive penchant for crafting grandiose mega-musicals. From the opulent saga of "Devdas" to the historical splendor of "Bajirao Mastani," Bhansali's films resonate with a profound love for both cinema and music, evident in every frame he meticulously crafts.

His 1999 romantic drama "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam," featuring the charismatic duo of Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai, garnered critical acclaim, solidifying Bhansali's standing as a master storyteller. Similarly, his magnum opus "Devdas," adapted from the Hindi literary masterpiece, captivated audiences with its poignant portrayal of unrequited love, earning him a nomination for Best Foreign Film at the BAFTA Awards.

Drawing inspiration from timeless tales of passion and longing, Bhansali's cinematic repertoire often echoes the themes of intense love and tragic destiny, reminiscent of Shakespeare's iconic "Romeo and Juliet." With a deft touch, he skillfully translates these classic narratives into the rich tapestry of Indian folklore, weaving together a cinematic experience that resonates deeply with audiences across the globe.

7. Atlee

Arun Kumar, born on September 21, 1986, better known by his moniker Atlee, is a versatile filmmaker active in Tamil cinema. With a diverse skill set encompassing directing, screenwriting, and producing, he has left an indelible mark on the industry.

Atlee's directorial debut, "Raja Rani," proved to be a resounding success, featuring a stellar cast including Nayanthara, Nazriya, Arya, and Jai. Produced by Fox Star Studios, the film earned Atlee accolades such as the Best Debut Director at the Vijay Awards and the Tamil Nadu State Award for Best Dialogue Writer.

Following the triumph of "Raja Rani," Atlee continued his winning streak with the blockbuster hit "Theri" in 2016, starring the acclaimed actor Vijay in the lead role. Building on this success, he went on to helm two more blockbuster films, "Mersal" (2017) and "Bigil" (2019), both featuring Vijay in pivotal roles.

Atlee's upcoming project, "Jawan," is highly anticipated, boasting a star-studded cast including Shah Rukh Khan, Vijay Sethupathy, and Nayanthara. Produced by Red Chillies Entertainment, the film is slated for release in June 2023 and is expected to captivate audiences across five languages.

8. Lokesh Kanagaraj

Lokesh Kanagaraj is a renowned Indian filmmaker, predominantly active in the Tamil film industry. Hailing from Kinathukadavu, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India, Kanagaraj embarked on his cinematic journey with the 2016 anthology film "Aviyal."

Before delving into the world of filmmaking, Kanagaraj pursued academic interests, majoring in fashion technology and later obtaining an MBA. His professional career initially led him to the banking sector. However, his true passion for filmmaking began to take shape when he participated in a corporate short film competition.

It was during this competition that Kanagaraj's talent caught the attention of director Karthick Subbaraj, who served as a judge. Impressed by Kanagaraj's work, Subbaraj offered encouragement and mentorship, urging him to pursue his passion for filmmaking further. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of Kanagaraj's journey as a filmmaker, setting him on a path towards success in the Tamil film industry.

9. Shankar

Shankar is a prominent figure in Indian cinema, renowned for his contributions as a director and producer, primarily within the realm of Tamil cinema. Initially beginning his career as an assistant director to SA Chandrasekhar, Shankar has since ascended to become one of the most highly compensated directors in the nation.

His directorial debut came with the film "Gentleman" in 1993, marking the commencement of a prolific career that has spanned over two decades. Since 2015 alone, Shankar has helmed the direction of an impressive roster of 12 films, showcasing his versatility and creative vision.

Shankar's remarkable achievements have garnered widespread recognition, including prestigious accolades such as the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year award in 2010, bestowed upon him in the Entertainment category. His influence and impact on the Indian film industry continue to resonate, solidifying his status as a trailblazer in Tamil cinema.

10. Siddharth Anand

Siddharth Anand stands tall as one of India's most accomplished film directors, particularly renowned for his mastery in the action entertainer genre. His directorial ventures, including "War," "Bang Bang," and the monumental Hindi film "Pathaan," have solidified his position as a leading force in Hindi cinema.

Anand's directorial prowess shines through in his ability to craft compelling narratives within the realm of Indian espionage, featuring larger-than-life action sequences and adrenaline-pumping thrills. His latest blockbuster release, "Pathaan," part of the YRF Spy Universe, boasts an ensemble cast including superstar Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and John Abraham. This cinematic extravaganza has shattered records globally, emerging as an unprecedented all-time blockbuster and igniting the box office with its sheer brilliance.

Empowered by the visionary Aditya Chopra, Anand has been entrusted with the directorial helm of two of Indian cinema's most significant intellectual properties - "War" and now "Pathaan." This endorsement underscores Anand's stature as a director of immense talent and vision, poised to continue shaping the landscape of Hindi cinema for years to come.