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For Sanjoy Ghosh, a lot was riding on Kahaani. After his previous outings — Home Delivery and Aladin — flopped, he had come to realise his limitations. Had Kahaani not worked, Ghosh had made up his mind to quit Bollywood. "I was fortunate that the audience had given me enough chances. But you cannot take them for granted. Sooner or later, one has to take the decision and move on," says Ghosh. However, destiny had different plans for him. Kahaani clicked with the audience and the filmmaker smiled all the way to the bank. This also meant that Ghosh had reaffirmed his place in the industry, just the way he did with his first film Jhankaar Beats.
Directorial comebacks were cheered this year with directors, who were long forgotten or whose careers looked down and out, making their mark. A case in point is Anurag Basu. After Kites tanked, not many gave Basu a chance again. He came back with Barfi! and it became the only unconventional film to earn Rs 100 crore at the box office. Similarly, after Yahaan, Shoojit Sircar had vanished into oblivion. His second feature, Shoebite, hadn't found a distributor, when John Abraham came to his rescue and decided to produce Vicky Donor. The movie became one of this year's biggest sleeper hits. Ditto was the case of Umesh Shukla. His OMG: Oh My God! marked his glorious return after his first film, Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge, sank without a trace.
Tigmanshu Dhulia was in the reckoning after 2011's average hit, Saheb, Biwi aur Gangster. But his next release, Shagird, saw a poor fate at the box office. However, Paan Singh Tomar, a biopic of the athlete-turned-dacoit, put him on the list of the most sought-after directors in the industry. "Such is Bollywood," exclaims Dhulia, who has seen the ups and downs more often than anyone else. "You are as good as your last film. So when a film does well, all of a sudden, your standing in the industry changes and there are more and more people wanting to work with you. So it feels good when one makes a comeback," he says.