Even though cameos don’t serve as significant additions to an actor’s body of work, most actors have no qualms about doing special appearances in films. While such insertions are not new to Bollywood, 2014 saw the trend resurfacing with several actors, especially stars, making blink-and-miss appearances in films.
The latest on the list is Ranbir Kapoor, who had a mini role in the recently released film, PK. Others, such as Kareena Kapoor Khan (in Happy Ending), and Ranveer Singh (in Finding Fanny) also took the same route. In fact, according to reports, Ranbir’s role in his next, Roy, is also an extended cameo.
Film-maker Anubhav Sinha feels that often there’s no specific reason for an actor to do a cameo. “Sometimes, it’s for good luck, and sometimes it’s just because of the relationship the director and the actor share. I don’t think these cameos are meant to promote the film because that would include other dynamics,” he says.
Interestingly, Karan Johar often says that he considers Kajol and Rani Mukerji as his lucky mascots, the reason they have made special appearances in several of his films.
However, trade expert Amod Mehra has another opinion. While he agrees that such bit roles aren’t mainly for promotion, he opines that the desire to work with a particular actor often results in such collaborations.
“Many times, when directors wish to work with a certain actor, and doing a full-fledged film isn’t feasible, a cameo comes in. But mainly, these cameos are done to build relationships,” elaborates Mehra, adding that, sometimes, cameos result in bigger collaborations in future films.
In the past, too, actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and even Amitabh Bachchan have done short-duration roles in films. Trade analyst Atul Mohan points out that even if not as a promotional tool before the release, cameos can definitely serve as a reason to pull the crowd to theatres after the film hits the marquee. “A cameo becomes a point of discussion only when a big name does it. The intention is to get people talking about the film after they watch it, and they would do so only if a big name is involved,” says Mohan.