Bollywood is a great place for multi-talented artistes - actors sing songs, producers turn directors, and pretty much everyone tries their hand at acting. Musicians are the latest bunch to face the camera, with many veterans starring in films. Shaan, Mika, Yo Yo Honey Singh and Himesh Reshammiya already have starring credits, with Kumar Sanu and Adnan Sami-starrers hitting theatres soon. Recently, it was also reported that AR Rahman will co-produce a film with Shekhar Kapur, while Ismail Darbar is directing another project.
Change in pitch
So what draws musicians to the big screen with its many risks involved? "Every good singer is a good actor. Singers put emotions into songs which the actors later replicate on screen. When I know that I can also present myself well on-screen, why not do that? I've done Bengali cinema and will make my Bollywood debut next year with a film produced by Aditya Chopra," says Sanu.
Himesh Reshammiya, with seven acting credits to his name, hasn't received praise for any of them, yet, he says, "I strongly believe that if one has the knowledge and experience, there is no harm in multi-tasking. But if it's only for the sake of it, then it could prove dangerous. With my experience as a composer in 115 films and 650 hit songs, and also having a film background as my father is a producer, I've produced two successful films - Khiladi 786 (2012) and The Xpose."
Singing new tunes?
Himesh is working on a sequel to The Xpose, but not many musicians consider acting as an alternate career. Sami says, "It's all about interest. I can't reveal much about my film's status right now, but my role is not even close to my real personality. So I felt doing it will give me creative satisfaction and also try something new. I didn't take the step thinking about a new career option."
Sanu says that singing is his first love and doesn't plan on giving up any time soon. "I can never stop singing… it has given me recognition and fame. Acting in not a new career option," he says.
Interestingly, these musicians also do not consider films for the moolah. "Money has never been the criteria; the interest to explore acting is the only reason," says Sami. Sanu echoes the sentiment, saying, "I do a lot of shows worldwide and don't have to depend on acting to make money. I've been part of this industry for too long to consider that option."
Ramesh Taurani, producer of the music for the Mika- and Shaan-starrer Balwinder Singh... Famous Ho Gaya, welcomes this trend. "These musicians are already stars and their fans come to watch them on screen. When they announce projects, it catches audiences' attention. As a producer, I'd want to cast them if there is are interesting parts for them"