Back in the day, artists like KL Saigal and Kishore Kumar started their singing and acting careers at the same time. While they were appreciated for their roles in both the fields, the same can’t be said about a lot of musicians-turned-actors today. As a matter of fact, it’s not just the singers who have tried their hand at acting, even sportspersons have followed suit over the years.
With rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh’s acting debut (in The Xposé) and Vijender Singh’s first Bollywood film (Fugly) set for a June release, we take a deeper look at this trend.
Never give up
Himesh Reshammiya, Sonu Nigam, Palash Sen, Monali Thakur, Shaan and Aditya Narayan are among the many musicians, who have been interested in acting. Even sportspersons like Ajay Jadeja, Vinod Kambli, Salil Ankola and Leander Paes, among others, have explored life on the silver screen. However, the movies they have appeared in have barely left a dent at the box office.
But that hasn’t got them to give up on the profession. Udit Narayan’s son Aditya, who made his debut with Shaapit in 2010, might not have received rave reviews, but he’s determined to get it right the next time.
"I fell in love with the movies when I was young. I have always wanted to become an actor and I am not going to be satisfied till I become a successful one. I am planning to join an acting course now," says the 26-year-old.
Then, there are others who don’t regret their decision to branch out into acting, but would rather not return to it.
"The movie that salvaged my respect as an actor was Love In Nepal (2004). A film at the narrative stage can be very deceptive. You need proper guidance to evaluate what will and won’t work," says Nigam, who has acted in duds like Jaani Dushman (2002).
Former cricketer Kambli, who was seen in Annarth (2002) adds, "I wanted to do something off the field. Suniel (Shetty) convinced me. Acting was my hobby, but I had put serious effort into it."
Flop film, hit formula
The past record of these celebrities’ movies has proven that their scope at the box office is limited. But trade experts feel that the reason we continue to hear about such projects is because these casting decisions give them more promotional fodder to work with.
"There is no chance of a box-office performance. I don’t think artists from other fields take acting seriously. Casting a Yo Yo or a Vijender just becomes advantageous as people talk about their movies," says trade analyst Amod Mehra.
Thakur’s Lakshmi, Nigam’s Kash Aap Hamare Hote (2003), Reshammiya’s Aap Ka Suroor (2007) and Karzzzz (2008), and Sen’s Filhaal (2001) are some such movies that have fared badly. Films starring sportsmen aren’t far behind either. Jadeja (Khel; 2003, and Pal Pal Dil Ke Ssaat; 2009), Paes (Rajdhani Express, 2013), Ankola (Silence Please... The Dressing Room; 2004) failed to make a mark too.
So what is it about acting that lures even celebrities successful in their own fields to give it a shot?
Film critic Anupama Chopra feels it’s the seductiveness of the job that claims enthusiasts. "But I don’t think it can be done casually. It takes a lot to act.
For instance, Himesh has been doing movies for a few years, which shows that he really wants to act. But good acting is difficult. If you are a fine cricketer, singer or boxer, that doesn’t mean you will be a good actor too," she says.