Making A-list actors follow their every instruction is clearly not enough for Bollywood directors — they want a share of the acting pie, too. This year, four directors will get a taste of their own medicine — getting the dialogues and expressions right et al — as they make their appearance on the big screen.
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap will star in Onir’s film I am Abhimanyu and Sudhir Mishra’s Tera Kya Hoga Johnny. Anurag Basu, currently busy promoting Kites plays the lead in Onir’s I am Afia. Mumbai Meri Jaan director Nishikant Kamat plays the lead in Room No 404, opposite actress Tisca Chopra, while Madhur Bhandarkar who’s previously done walk-in parts in Fashion and Rangeela, now has a role in Rahul Dholakia’s Society.
“It was scary being on the other side. I think I’m a bad actor. But it was a great experience working with Om Puri, Dimple Kapadia and Seema Biswas,” says Bhandarkar.
Kamat, who plays a professor suffering from a bipolar disorder in the film, has said, “I needed a break from writing and preparing for my next direction.”
Actors aren’t lagging behind when it comes to switching turfs. While Nandita Das turned director with Firaaq, actors Arshad Warsi and Rajpal Yadav have announced plans to direct films.
Filmmakers see this as a healthy exchange. “Directors understand, give advise and there are no problems,” says Onir. “I called Anurag for advise on who to cast, and he said, ‘I will do it for you.’ He fit the bill.” Kashyap, who played a cameo on Luck by Chance, says, “If a good script comes along, why not? It is a good idea.”
The practice of filmmakers considering each other for roles seems to be picking up. Vishal Bhardwaj offered a role to Imtiaz Ali in Saat Khoon Maaf, but the latter refused.