Ketan Mehta was born at Navsari, Gujarat in 1952. He completed his education in Delhi and graduated with a diploma in film direction from FTII, Pune. Ketan started with directing few documentaries notable among them were Coolies At Bombay Central, Experience India and Fair Folk, Folk Fair. He also directed a Gujarati TV serial Wat Tamari (1977).
Ketan made his feature film debut as a director with the Gujarati film Bhavni Bhavai (1980) based on the menace of untouchability in India. The movie won critical acclaim especially for the format of story telling employed. The movie gave him international recognition in festivals like Nantes and Moscow.
Ketan explored the youth genre and based his next film Holi (1984) in a college. The movie tackling the college based issues like ragging, bunking etc sank without a trace. But the film is well known amongst the audience as it marks the debut of Aamir Khan in an adult role after he appeared as a child artiste in Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973) and Madhosh (1974). The movie also brought together Aamir and Ashutosh Gowariker who would collaborate 17 years later to make the landmark film Lagaan (2001). But the movie which really made Ketan a director to reckon with was Mirch Masala(1985). The movie has superlative performances by Smita Patil and Naseeruddin Shah and won the Best Film Award at the Hawaii Film Festival.
Ketan continued to make films which would appeal both the commercial as well as critical audiences but was unable to make an impact like Mirch Masala. His subsequent films like Hero Hiralal (1988), Maya Memsaab (1992), Sardar (1993), O Darling Yeh Hai India (1995) and Aar Ya Paar (1997) met with a lukewarm response at the box-office. He took a 8 year break from directing films and set up a company called Maya Entertainment, a digital animation and SFX studio. He returned to direction with Mangal Pandey : The Rising (2005). The film starring Aamir Khan was one of the biggest movies of that year but met with a below expectation response from the audience. It was also mired in controversies questioning the authenticity of the facts in the film. Aamir Khan was nominated for the Best Actor at the Filmfare Awards for his roile in the film.
Ketan is currently directing a bilingual film Rang Rasiya/Colours Of Passion based on the life of 18th Century painter Raja Ravi Varma starring Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen.
Ketan won the Best Film Award at the Hawaii Film Festival for Mirch Masala. He won the Neptac Special Jury Award at the Locarno Film Festival for Mangal Pandey : The Rising.Ketan met his wife Deepa Sahi when he was shooting for Hero Hiralal. They fell in love and got married later. Deepa has acted in Ketan’s films like Maya Memsaab, O Darling Yeh Hai India and Aar Ya Paar and has produced films like Rules : Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula (2003) and Mangal Pandey : The Rising.