Ranbir Kapoor
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Bollywood: From Assistant Directors to leading stars!

Ranbir Kapoor

By HT

Mumbai, Dec. 8 -- What's common between Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor and Emraan Hashmi? Apart from the fact that they are all actors, not many know that they were all assistant directors (ADs) before becoming Bollywood's leading men.

But what's interesting to note is that all three of them - and a few more - have gone on to star with the same actors they once worked with as ADs. Ranbir is the latest on this list. The actor, who is set to work with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, had assisted his father Rishi Kapoor on his directorial venture, Aa Ab Laut Chalen (1999), in which Aishwarya starred as the female lead.

On the same lines, earlier this year, Arjun - who worked as an AD on the Priyanka Chopra-starrer Salaam-e-Ishq (2007) - starred opposite her in Gunday. "Life has come full circle. During Salaam-e-Ishq (2007), when I was an assistant director and Priyanka was a star, I would go to her van and say, "Madam, aaiye shot ready hai (Madam, come, the shot is ready)". Seven-eight years later, so much has changed, but still, in a way, nothing has changed. Our friendship is still the same," says Arjun.

Salaam-e-Ishq was Arjun's second film as an AD, but Ranbir ended up being an assistant by default. His ICSE board exams had just gotten over when his father, who was going to the US for the film's shoot, asked him to accompany him.

"Ranbir was very determined to be part of the film industry. He knew exactly how it (his career) would roll. He is adorable on screen and the audience gets that. He is brilliant," said Aishwarya about Ranbir in an interview to a news channel.

But how does the equation change when someone goes from being an assistant to a co-star? "All the actors who have come up the hard way, are very practical people. So, I am sure they are happy when an AD achieves success and from 'ma'am' or 'sir' becomes a co-actor," says director Anees Bazmee, who had Arjun as his assistant on No Entry (2005). Bipasha, too, happens to have experienced the same. She was cast opposite Emraan Hashmi in Raaz 3D (2012), but had seen him earlier on the sets of Raaz (2002) as "a little boy". She told HT Cafe: "I've seen Emraan from the time that he used to work as an assistant director on the sets." That's not all.

Hrithik Roshan, who assisted his father Rakesh Roshan on Karan Arjun (1995), starring Kajol, later acted with her in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001). Similarly, Aamir Khan, who assisted his uncle Nasir Hussain in Manzil Manzil (1984), starring Dimple Kapadia, shared screen space with her much later in Farhan Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai (2001).