Hansal Mehta, 52
Financial thrillers are hard to pull off, especially when you know how they end, like Scam 92. So are light-hearted sports movies about kabaddi like Chhalaang. Hansal Mehta managed to do both in a year that proved how the Mumbai film industry could actually be a meritocracy. His little-watched Omerta got a new life on streaming as well. Along with an array of new actors and actresses that the industry threw up in streaming series in a year where theatres were locked down, there were some filmmakers who stood out.
Newbie directors such as Anvita Dutt (Bulbbul) and Honey Trehan (Raat Akeli Hai) shone while established directors such as Mehta and Sudha Kongara (Ilamai Idho Idho in the Putham Pudhu Kaalai anthology and Thangam in the Paava Kadhaigal anthology, as well as Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru) were born anew. Mehta’s success was particularly welcome because he has been an independent voice in the industry for long, speaking up against dishonesty and hypocrisy no matter which camp or clique it emanates from. Also, Scam 92 was crafted over three years, its script written and rewritten several times, showing that persistence and pursuit of excellence do get rewarded by audiences.