Not a full circle
Bollywood has a rich history of great actors and great directors There is, however, a very interesting twist here Historically speaking great actors...
Bollywood has a rich history of great actors and great directors. There is, however, a very interesting twist here. Historically speaking great actors have been failed directors and failed actors have been great directors. To take the story even further most failed actors become great directors because they had a point to prove to the world.
Subhash Ghai once famously said that he became a director to showcase actors the way some other directors failed to showcase him. Sample some of these bits here.
Subhash Ghai was a struggling actor when he walked into the office of NN Sippy with a script. The story was of a man, who looked like a dead cop. The father of the dead cop replaces this goon to find out those who were responsible for his son’s death. The movie was part drama, part thriller. NN Sippy loved the script and quickly wanted to make a movie which is when Ghai told him that this movie will be a hit only if he directed it. Sippy asked him if he has ever done direction before or has he ever done any camera work, or does he even understand how shot lighting works.
To each of his question, Ghai answered in negative. Baffled NN Sippy asked him then why should you direct this?
Ghai replied that no one else had the vision for the movie which he had. NN Sippy noted the passion in the voice. The result was the epic smash hit ‘Kalicharan’. Ghai never looked back from there. The movie is noted for turning Shatrughan Sinha who till then was a popular villain into a 70s icon. From then on Subhash Ghai created movies and stars at the drop of a hat. Ironic because he himself failed at becoming one.
Another noted name in this category was Rakesh Roshan. A failed actor despite being amazingly talented and charming Roshan never really tasted success. He turned to production and his first ‘Aap Ke Deewane’ was a colossal flop. His second venture ‘Kaamchor’ was a rocking hit but unfortunately, Jaya Prada, music and Kishore Kumar in that order ran away with all the credit. Roshan’s another production ‘Bhagwan Dada’ was a massive flop.
Completely on the brink, Rakesh Roshan played his famous gamble and he mortgaged his house and placed all the bets on this movie for which he turned to direction. The movie was an adaptation of Kane and Able and had shades of ‘Trishul’ too in it. The story of two friends one a simple at heart millionaire and the other a flamboyant Bihari created a super explosion at the box office.
The movie was ‘Khudgarz’, Shatrughan Sinha’s epic act as Bihari ran away with box office glory. The movie's success also gave rise to the now famous Rakesh Roshan obsession with K worded titles. A failed actor again found his calling in direction and thank you god for that.
The converse is also interesting. Great actors have made completely failed directors. Sunny Deol has belted out one box office blockbuster after another. When you look at his track record as a director it is pathetic. Both ‘Dillagi’ and ‘Ghayal 2’ were box office duds. Good actors somehow do not understand the nuances of editing and compelling drama.
Rishi Kapoor, who is literally worth his weight in gold when it comes to acting, was worse than a Jalandhar Doordarshan serial director when he made this dud called ‘Aa Ab Laut Chalen’.
The third and most glaring example of this is Hema Malini. As an actor she was the first recognised lady superstar, movies ran on her box office prowess like ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’. She was also amigo pathetico when it came to direction. ‘Dil Aashna Hai’ and ‘Mohini’ the two movies she directed were box office duds. She moved into the safety of making TV series with little success there too.
Then in recent years, we have two examples of both categories again Abhishek Kapoor who for a large part of his life was known as the rejected boyfriend of Twinkle Khanna found his calling as a director with epic hits like ‘Rock On’ and ‘Kai Po Che’.
Pankaj Kapoor the textbook case of proper acting gave us ‘Mausam’ as a director and don’t even ask me what that movie was probably Kapoor himself does not know.