As a director he helmed critically acclaimed movies like Arth, Saraansh and Zakhm among others. As a producer, he churned out erotic thrillers like Jism, Murder and Raaz, which of course were clear box office winners.
As an author, he turned a different page altogether and wrote on spirituality. His non-film writings (U.G. Krishnamurti, A Life, A Taste of Life: The Last Days of U.G. Krishnamurti) reflected his inner quest for meaning in life.
As Mahesh Bhatt debuts as an actor, he lands himself a dream role of sorts. Playing a lama in Mukul Mishra's debut film came naturally to him because he was always drawn to the spiritual side of life.
"Mukul has been making trailers for our films under Trigger Happy banner and is an ardent admirer of my non-film writing, my pursuit for spiritual space, disenchantment with the world and then coming back. He knew I could portray the character, when he approached me with the story," Mahesh Bhatt tells Hindustan Times.
A contemporary take on Buddha
Speaking about the movie, the filmmaker says it's a contemporary take on Buddha's life. "The story draws a parallel to the life of Buddha, though it's set in the 21st century. The protagonist is found on the roads of Manali and is taken to a monastery. I play a lama who guides him as a friend," says Bhatt.
"The film is about this boy and his love story. The twist in the tale comes when he comes in touch with a lama, played by me," the Zakhm director elaborates on his role.
'Imtiaz told me Alia is way better than you as an actor '
Bhatt has no illusions about his acting capabilities and says he would not have done the film had it not been for the apt casting.
"A lot of film's credibility and its triumph depend on the right casting. Acting is not my cup of tea. It requires another physique and description. The attire and the nuances that I have been given by the director make the character work," says Bhatt.
Imtiaz Ali concurs with Mahesh Bhatt that he has been aptly cast in Siddharth.
"When Imtiaz Ali saw my picture in the lama get-up, he said 'you have been brilliantly cast in the film. You don't have even half or maybe quarter of the talent that your daughter has'," laughs the maverick filmmaker before signing off the interview.