The most (in)famous case in recent times is, of course, of Aamir Khan producing and directing the commercially successful Taare Zameen Par (2007). Infamous, because it was mired in controversy over whether he had appropriated Amole Gupte’s pet project.
Aamir Khan has not returned to directing since then, but here five other Hindi film actors who’ve tried their hand at, well, calling the shots.
Naseeruddin Shah directed Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota (2006) after over 30 years in films as an actor. He admitted later that he would never direct again as he was very disappointed with his first attempt. In a film replete with so many credible actors, the guilty pleasure comes from spotting choreographer Saroj Khan in the role of a powerful amma.
It was a similar story for Anupam Kher, who directed Om Jai Jagdish (2002) after a 30 years of acting. Yashraj Production had asked the actor-turned-director to line up the three Khans (Aamir, Salman, Shah Rukh) for the parts of the three brothers in the film, which later went to Anil Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan,and Fardeen Khan, as the Khan triumvirate declined.
Nana Patekar directed the gritty Prahaar (1991), with the Indian army – and himself – in a stellar role, and yet couldn’t resist including a dance by Madhuri Dixit, who put in a remarkable performance as an actor.
Music composer Aadesh Shrivastava, who died recently, can be seen playing the violin in the elegiac song, Dhadkan zara ruk gayi hai sung by Suresh Wadkar. Utterly poignant, and possibly his only screen appearance.Sunny Deol is associated with the kind of sound-and-fury cinema that makes it impossible for audiences to accept him directing a syrupy romantic triangle titled Dillagi (1999). The film, starring his younger brother Bobby Deol and Urmila Matondkar, flopped
In 2002, Rahul Bose made Everybody Says I’m Fine, and although the film travelled to festivals for special screenings, it didn’t exactly make waves after commercial release. Film critic Roger Ebertwrote, ‘I enjoyed watching it just for the information and attitudes it contained, but as a story, it’s too disorganised to really involve us.’
The story is, of course, the essential spine of narrative cinema, but it becomes confusing in Shah’s multi-story film and Kher’s multi-character movie. When Deol goes for a multi-plot structure, Bose goes all over the place. As for Patekar, he concentrates so much on the story that everything else appears to be a mere filler.