“After my first film, Luck By Chance, numbers began to interest me (smiles). It is true that till then you don’t really think about them as you are so busy wanting to make the film. After you make the film you get into the business of it. I believe only the trade guys have to be interested in the numbers. Nobody else should be interested in the numbers except the business people. I’m very happy with the film doing really well. I want as many people to watch it as possible.”

This is what director and all-round superstar Zoya Akhtar had told us earlier this year. Naturally, like any canny businesswoman, Akhtar cares about the numbers. She does appear to have the Midas touch, though. Her film, Gully Boy performed astoundingly well this year. It made an estimated Rs 240 crore at the box office and received some crazy good reviews from film critics. Gully Boy is definitely Akhtar’s most accomplished film till date and is fascinating to boot.

According to a report in Bollywood Hungama, Gully Boy is also the year’s highest-grossing Bollywood film overseas. The film has also been selected as the country’s entry for Oscars 2020. Akhtar also found success with Made In Heaven this year. Co-written with long-time collaborator Reema Kagti and Alankrita Shrivastava, the show was an instant and massive success. It dealt with the ‘recession-proof’ Indian wedding industry with finesse and panache and brought to the fore numerous issues like the now-defunct Section 377.

It also dealt with issues of infidelity, dowry and gender-based discrimination really well. Need we say more? Akhtar has also been invited by the presenters of the Academy Awards to be a member of their Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. She’s now working on Ghost Stories which will be an anthology film. Here, she will be joining her Lust Stories co-directors, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, and Karan Johar.