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Ten Bollywood directors turned actors

By Joginder Tuteja
Last updated on: April 23, 2015 17:36 IST
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Those who made their fortunes in front of the camera often want to try their hand at direction, like actor Ajay Devgn who begins shooting Shivaay later this year, and Sunny Deol who is directing Ghayal Once Again.

Then there are those who have made a name for themselves behind the camera but have found the world of acting quite enticing.

Meet these directors-turned-actors.

Karan Johar, Bombay Velvet

Image: Karan Johar's chilling look in Bombay Velvet.

All right, he technically made his big screen appearance in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge much before he started calling the shots for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

But that was just a cameo, something that he has done in many films.

In Bombay Velvet, Johar appears in a full-fledged part.

As the chief baddie, he looks dapper and promises a good act.

The film, incidentally, has been directed by Anurag Kashyap, another director who is donning the grease paint with increasing regularity.

Kunal Kohli, Phir Se...

Image: Kunal Kohli romances Jennifer Winget in Phir Se...

Many years ago, he had faced the camera as the anchor on Chalo Cinema, his television show as a film critic.

Later, he moved on to the big screen and successfully directed films such as Hum Tum and Fanaa.

Kohli now makes his acting debut as the lead in Phir Se...

He plays a mature, romantic man, a character that is apt for his personality.

Farah Khan, Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi

Image: Farah Khan and Boman Irani in Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi

When the director of Main Hoon Naa and Om Shanti Om decided to try her hand at acting in Shirin Farhad Ki Nikal Padi, it wasn’t very surprising.

Farah Khan is expressive and vocal and well-suited to being in front of the camera.

She got the chance in the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, directed by his sister Bela Saigal, where Farah played a part eminently suited to her personality.

Farhan Akhtar, Rock On!!

Image: Farhan Akhtar in Rock On!!

Farhan Akhtar chose to enter Bollywood as a director though, given his looks and personality, he could have easily done so as an actor.

His first film as director, Dil Chahta Hai, was a huge success.

As was his first film as actor, Rock On!!

And as Milkha Singh in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, he was a revelation.

Tigmanshu Dhulia, Gangs Of Wasseypur

Image: Tigmanshu Dhulia in Gangs Of Wasseypur

Where was the actor hidden during the years Tigmanshu Dhulia was a busy director?

Long after he had proved his directorial mettle with films like Haasil, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster and Paan Singh Tomar, Dhulia surprised us with a terrific performance as Ramadhir Singh in Gangs Of Wasseypur.

He followed this up with a completely different performance in the Hansal Mehta directed Shahid.

Anurag Kashyap, Shagird

Image: Nana Patekar and Anurag Kashyap in Shagird

Anurag Kashyap and Tigmanshu Dhulia are fellow-members in a mutual admiration society .

After Anurag roped in Tigmanshu for Gangs Of Wasseypur, the latter brought Anurag on board for Shagird.

His performance went largely unnoticed since the film flopped.

Anurag went on to act in I Am, Bhoothnath Returns and Happy New Year.

He will next be seen as the baddie in Sonakshi Sinha's Akira.

Mahesh Manjrekar, Kaante

Image: Mahesh Manjrekar is one of the bad men in Kaante

When he made Vaastav with Sanjay Dutt, the industry hailed him as a director par excellence.

He continued making movies and then cast himself in a small role in his own film, Ehsaas: The Feeling.

But his best performance as actor came with Sanjay Gupta’s Kaante.  

Today he has acted in more films (55) than he has directed (25).

Sudhir Mishra, Traffic Signal

Image: Sudhir Mishra gets villainous in Traffic Signal

He had bit parts in his friend Vidhu Vinod Chopra's earlier films, Sazaa-e-Maut and Khamosh.

Soon, he became busy as a director. After two decades behind the camera, Sudhir Mishra got a call from Mahesh Manjrekar to play a don in Traffic Signal.

It wasn’t exactly a performance that would have kept him busy as an actor, but it was a substantial part.

Guru Dutt, Baaz

Image: Guru Dutt romances Geeta Bali in Baaz

In the early years, Guru Dutt flitted between jobs in the industry. He played bit parts in films, one of them starring Dev Anand.

He proved himself as a director with his first film Baazi (1951). Later, he would direct Dev Anand in Jaal.

Guru Dutt cast himself as the main lead in Baaz (1953). Then came his masterly performances in Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam.

Vijay Anand, Kora Kaagaz

Image: Vijay Anand and Jaya Bachchan in Kora Kaagaz

Vijay Anand won accolades as the director of Kala Bazar, Tere Ghar Ke Samne, Guide, Teesri Manzil and many more films.

With Haqeeqat, Dev Anand's youngest brother proved he was a good actor as well.

The film that got brought him into the limelight, though, was Kora Kaagaz.

Later, he impressed audiences with his acting in Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki and the television series Tahqiqat.

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Joginder Tuteja in Mumbai