Can good playback singers be great at acting too? In the 1950s, stars like Suraiyya and KL Sehgal were actors who were also singers who did their own playback singing. Then came an era of playback singing in all its glory. Today, there is an entire generation of singers who are keen on taking to acting, in addition to their singing career.
When Bollywood singers like Sonu Nigam, Lucky Ali and Himesh Reshammiya decided to give a new direction to their careers by taking the plunge into acting, most of them got their fingers burnt. However, names like Shekhar Ravjiani and Zubeen Garg are now looking at exploring the world of lights, camera and action.
The latest one to join the league is Shekhar of popular composer duo Vishal-Shekhar. While Vishal Dadlani did a 'bizarre' cameo in Farah Khan-directed Happy New Year (2014), Shekhar will make his acting debut in Neerja, a biopic on Neerja Bhanot, a flight attendant who sacrificed her life to save a group of American children aboard a Pan Am plane that had been hijacked on the ground at Karachi.
He will reportedly play the on-screen love interest of Bhanot, essayed by Sonam Kapoor.
Taking a step ahead, Ya Ali fame Assamese singer Zubeen Garg will start shooting for his Bollywood directorial titled Chakra from next year. The singer, currently tied up with Assamese film Mission China, will also display his acting skills in the Hindi film."From January 2016, I will make a Hindi film called Chakra. It's a political thriller. It's a dark kind of film... about humanity and politics. Now, I've my own production house; so I will make three to four films in a row," said Zubeen.
"I might act in a Bollywood film. I'm listening to quite a few scripts now, but nothing has intrigued me so far. Let's see... I probably could do anything other than chocolate boy kind of roles," said Atif, who acted in Pakistani drama movie Bol (2011).
Crazy Kiya Re hitmaker Sunidhi Chauhan has 'the acting bug' too!
"As far as acting is concerned, I was offered a few roles, but I was not ready at that time. Also, I was asked to portray the life of a singer on screen, but I never wanted to do such type of roles because I'm already a singer. I have the acting bug in my genes because of my father. I want to do roles of normal people," she said.
While they are yet to make a splash in the acting world, here are some of the singers who've been there and done that:* Mika Singh: The Hadippa singer made his Bollywood acting debut with last year's film Balwinder Singh Famous Ho Gaya, which also introduced Tanha Dil crooner Shaan as an actor. Described by critics as 'endless cliches, gross-out humour, weak plot', the movie turned out to be a dud.
* Yo Yo Honey Singh: He joined the acting wagon with the 2014 musical-thriller The Xpose, which also starred Reshammiya. The rapper-composer had shared that "acting is the most difficult one among all the performing arts". The movie got mixed reactions from critics and masses.
* Ali Zafar: The singer from across the border began his successful Bollywood acting career with Tere Bin Laden in 2010. The Pakistani talent went on to feature in Yash Raj Films' Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Kill Dil.
* Lucky Ali: Despite winning accolades for his performance in movies like Sur - The Melody of Life and Kaante, the 'Ek pal ka jeena' hitmaker isn't too keen on coming back to the big screen. "There is nothing exciting to me as far as movies are concerned," said the son of late actor-filmmaker Mehmood.