I am often asked how important it is for a filmmaker to delve into all aspects of making a film. Most people who have managed to balance the many roles in the movie-making process are people who probably put the making of the movie above their own contribution.
So whether they have acted in the film, directed, written or produced it, the important thing is that they were a part of the film. With any type of job, there is a two-way function: What can I do for my job and what can my work do for me? And if you’re work is more important than yourself, you’re usually willing to give it even more.
People like Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand, who have tried all aspects of filmmaking, have achieved tremendous success. Somewhere their love for the movies was more important then the parts they played. That’s why they are great filmmakers. Somewhere, the desire to experience the entire process of filmmaking comes from a pure love of the art and the medium. It is rare for a director to turn actor. Usually, it’s the other way around. When someone has acted for a while, they become confident enough to try their hand at direction or to even direct themselves as well. I can’t think of anyone else who has gone from being a director to being an actor.
Personally, as a director, my love for films started with me wanting to make movies, as opposed to handling just one aspect of the whole process of filmmaking. And somewhere, within that, I am now enjoying playing this role as well. I think the whole idea is to gain a holistic experience of making a film.
It’s not such a big deal. But, to be honest, we are all guilty of it as we have a genetic need to categorise stuff. We have broken down practically everything in our lives. If this is your level of education, this has to be your strata of income and so on. Everything has to be broken into categories. This is what you do, this is where your office is, this is who your friends are… and you are known by that.
When people don’t fit the mould or suddenly choose to emerge from the box you have put them in, it is disconcerting. But many have done it and many will do it in future. It is exhausting to answer which aspect of filmmaking I like the most because, really, one doesn’t have to love one more than the others.
If you are fortunate to have worked on the right films, with the right people as a director or an actor, and you are able to push your own creative self and experience more and learn more about filmmaking, it’s a great space to be in. I don’t think we should look at people in a certain light and expect them to remain that way the rest of their lives.Everyone wants personal growth and people grow in different ways. Some people experience growth by making different movies, others experiment by casting different people or newcomers in their films, some make completely offbeat films.
So, this is the way I experiment. I like to do different kinds of jobs within the same medium.