Shekhar Kapur never went to acting school or learnt film-making.
Trained as a chartered accountant in England, Shekhar drifted to film-making in Bombay where his mother's brothers Chetan, Dev and Vijay Anand were acting and making films.
Shekhar acted in a few films which didn't set the box office on fire, before he turned director with Masoom.
Masoom revealed that Shekhar had a skill for compelling story-telling as well as a knack for handling actors, especially children who were stunning.
From the small budget Masoom, which was produced by Devi Dutt, Guru Dutt's younger brother, Shekhar's next movie was Mr India, a blockbuster, produced by Boney Kapoor, written by Javed Akhtar and featuring Sridevi and Anil Kapoor.
His gritty third film, Bandit Queen was a critical success and much lauded for its attention to detail in the badlands of north India.
After Bandit Queen, Shekhar chose to make films overseas -- the Elizabeth movies, which made Cate Blanchett a star, and The Four Feathers, which featured Heath Ledger.
Shekhar has announced movie projects since, but none have taken off.
In the 75th year of his existence, the government has decided to make him the Great Helmsman at the Film and Television Institute of India..
FTII alumnus Shatrughan Sinha applauds the choice.
"He is worthy from every angle. Bright mind, brilliant internationally celebrated film-maker, Shekhar will bring much-needed vitality and direction to the FTII," Sinha tells Subhash K Jha.
Shabana Azmi -- one of Shekhar's oldest friends and also an FTII alumnus -- says, "This is excellent news. It's a great opportunity and I'm sure Shekhar will bring new energy and enthuse the students to give off their creative best."