Top 10 Indian Music Directors Of All Time In 2021

Ar Rahaman

India has produced some of the finest actors over decades. After all, the Indian film industry is the largest content creators in the world and many films release every year. More films mean, more actors, musicians, character artists and many more at the same time diverse choices to the audience to choose from. We agree to the fact that everyone has their own choices of movies, musician's as well as actors for various reasons. So, here we listed down the top 10 Indian music directors of all time till 2021.



The legendary music director was born and brought up in a small village in Southern state of Tamil Nadu. His love for music is clearly noticed in the work he does, as he is born in a musical family. At his growing up times, Ilayaraja learnt to play harmonium which was viewed to be an absolute instrument for street music and toured across Tamil Nadu by keeping theater's artist's company. That's when he slowly understood and observed audience taste in music. 

There are a lot of music directors who create good music, but Ilayaraja's music is eternal. Approximately he composed music to 7000+ songs till date across languages be it Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. Throughout his career he received many awards and rewards for his hard work. His work was also recognized by the Indian Government and felicitated with Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan. He also received international awards, National awards and 3 Doctorates. And there is no count to South Indian state awards. 

AR Rahman 

Ar Rahaman

This ace Music director doesn’t require any introduction, as he is considered as the largest crowd getter and crowd favorite on this list by a landslide. Allah-Rakha Rahman or ‘The Mozart of Madras’ is in a league of his own amongst today’s composers. Rahman has stuck with his classical roots while managing to maintain relevance through a contemporary vibe and ever long need for strenuous experimentation. AR Rahaman has bagged two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe, four National Film Awards and fifteen Filmfare Awards. In a remarkable two-decade career, he has had a lion’s share in taking Indian music to a global level, becoming one of world’s best-selling recording artists in the process. Aptly named Isai Puyal.  

S.D. Burman  

Sd burman

Belonging to the royal family of Tripura, the paan-loving prince composed music for over 100 films in his entire career span of three decades, which were a meagre compared to his contemporaries, but he eclipses all of them (almost!) in stature and on this list, as his numbered soundtracks were some of the greatest and most original works of their time. Rafi and Kishore Kumar – arguably two of India’s most celebrated male vocalists – in almost equal measure, he forged the latter’s career along with that of Asha Bhosale (although O.P Nayyar had a lot to do with Asha’s rise to fame too). S.D. Burman’s emphasis on rhythm instead of excessive instrumentation and composition of songs sensitive to the mood of the film is immortal. This is perhaps underlined by the fact that he is the first music director to have won the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. 

M.S. Viswanathan 

Ms vishwanath

In terms of longevity, no one in the world can hold a candle in the Thirai Isai Chakravarthy (Tamil “The Emperor of Cine Music”) M.S. Viswanathan. Composing music for more than 1,200 films and created more than 15,000 songs, he is a major figure in the history of Tamil music. Also known as Melissai Mannar (Tamil, for "The King of Light Music"), introducing new music, style and orchestra to contemporary music that featured Carnatic Tamil Film music. He first worked with T.Ramamoorthy as part of the Viswanathan-Ramamoorthy duo, but they split more after their hundred films. Viswanathan emerged from a very humble beginning, so much so that his mother tried to kill him and herself, when he was a child. He worked as a hawker outside a movie theatre and began performing as a singer at a young age of 13. A rags-to-riches story of sheer will. 

C. Ramchandra 

S ramchandra

India's first international music director, C. Ramchandra is a bag of surprises. He began his film career as an actor, and sang many memorable duets with Lata Mangeshkar. Influenced by Benny Goodman, Ramachandra introduced in his songs the alto sax mixed with guitar and harmonica, and used a combination of bongo, oboe, trumpet, clarinet and sax for the evergreen track "Shola Jo Bhadke" in 'Albela '. And the biggest surprise was that the uplifting, inspiring patriotic heart song "Ae Mere Vatan Ke Logon", unleashed by Lata Mangeshkar in memory of soldiers killed in the Sin-Indian war, was composed by this often-influential music director! 

Raichand Boral 


The seeds of Indian music were sown even before India gained soverneity, at the New Theaters, Kolkata, by Raichand Bral and his associate Pankaj Mulick. After directing backgrounds in many silent Hindi and Bengali films, he broke new ground by opening up music in the first talkie films, and introduced the country-wide hits in the film 'Dhoop Chhaon', marking a musical direction that was followed for the next two decades. He is therefore aptly named the 'Father of Indian Cinema Music'. 

K.V Mahadevan 


More than six hundred films. More than fifty years. In four languages and a two times national awardee. Do I even need to say more? KVM, as he is mostly known for his love, was one of the flag bearers of sensible music, with songs in southern films, as he collaborated with directors such as K. Viswanath for many blockbusters. He was known for giving vocalists the liberty to improvise and innovate. Also known for mythologicals such as Sampoorna Ramayanam and Thiruvilayadal, KVM is said to have been a path-breaker in blending classical and filmi styles and being a `guru’ to many music directors. Mainstream, but far from stereotypical. 

G. Devarajan


He is considered as one of the finest music director's to have worked in Kerala. In the initial stages of his career, Devarajan piled his trade in musical theatre, working for the famous theater troupe Kerala People's Arts Club. It is with this club that he teamed up with lyricist Vayalar Rama Varma ( from then on the duo worked for countless hits in what known is exailed as the 'Golden Era of Malayali Music' till the latter's death in 1970s. Devarajan was once the doyen of South Indian music.

Madan Mohan 

Madan Mohan

Madan Mohan’s legacy, which would’ve been legendary in any other time, is perhaps overshadowed by the immense success of his peers in the era when Bollywood music was at its zenith. Christened Ghazal ka Shehzadaa (The Prince Of Ghazals) by Lata Mangeshkar, he formed an enviable partnership with her and is behind some of the nightingale’s most revered tunes (including the hauntingly beautiful “Lag Jaa Gale”). As opposed to the more mainstream, global sounds of his contemporaries such as the Burmans or Shankar-Jaikishan, Mohan was a purist who laid emphasis on classical instruments, and ghazal compositions, creating a niche for himself despite a less bulging repertoire. An out-of-favour legend.

Vijaya Bhaskar 

Vijaya Bhaskar

Vijaya Bhaskar's contribution to south Indian music is immense and very well liked by the audience. In addition to his love and contribution to Kannada music, he also worked in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Tulu and Konkani language films as well. He was once an assistant to musicians like Naushad and Madan Mohan, wherein he was spotted by the Kannada famous director BRK, who gave him a break in Kannada cinema. The director scored music for more than 600 feature films, he is known for having introduced ‘theme music’ in Kannada cinema. The director is acclaimed as a game-changer in Sandalwood.

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