Ashutosh broke into the Hindi film industry as an actor with Ketan Mehta’s movie Holi, in 1984. He then appeared in various films like Woh, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Goonj, Chamatkar, and Bharat Ki Khoj. He also acted in TV shows like C.I.D and Circus. Alongside, he featured in award-winning Marathi films like Vazir and Sarkarnama.
Ashutosh Gowariker turned director with the romantic drama Pehla Nasha, starring Deepak Tijori, Pooja Bhatt, and Raveena Tandon. The movie received negative reviews and failed at the box office.His second film Baazi, starring Aamir Khan and Mamta Kulkarni in the lead, was declared a hit.
In 2001, Ashutosh directed the cult movie Lagaan. This Victorian period film, which starred Aamir Khan and Gracy Singh in the lead roles, was a mega blockbuster both domestically and internationally. It tells the tale about how a small village whose dwellers are bowed down by high taxes, find themselves in an extraordinary situation when a proud officer challenges them to a game of cricket as a bait to avoid taxes. The movie went on to become one of the biggest hits of 2001 and was ranked No. 55 in Empire magazine’s “The 100 Best Films of World Cinema”. In 2011, it was listed in Time magazine’s special The All-TIME 25 Best Sports Movies. Produced by Aamir Khan, Lagaan went on to win eight National Film Awards and nine Filmfare Awards.
His next directorial venture, which was also written and produced by him, was the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer drama film Swades: We The People. The movie received widespread critical success and was later dubbed in Tamil and released under the title Desam. In 2008 came his historical romantic drama Jodha Akbar, starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. He then directed and produced box office failures like What’s Your Rashee? and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey.
Ashutosh’s 2016 release includes another period romance Mohenjo Daro. Produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur and Sunita Gowariker, the movie stars Hrithik Roshan and Pooja Hegde in the lead roles.