Whats common between actors Hrithik Roshan, Emraan Hashmi, Ranbir Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, and newbies Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra? Well, all of them happened to start off their Bollywood journey as assistant directors (AD) before making their debut as actors. Now theres also buzz of actor Anil Kapoors son Harshvardhan kickstarting his Bolly career as an AD before finally taking the plunge as an actor. Actor Aamir Khans son Junaid too is said to be assisting director Rajkumar Hirani on Aamirs film PK. Actor Govinda, too, was said to be keen for daughter Narmada to become an AD before she made her Bollywood debut.
Industry insiders explain that in most cases, taking the AD route is more of a preparation than a bid to make inroads into Bollywood as most of them already happen to be star kids or are coming from film families. They are very clear about wanting to follow in the footsteps of their parents and join Bollywood quite early on in life. So, working as ADs gives them that hands-on practical knowledge on sets that can aid them later as actors or even as directors, they opine.
Trade analyst Komal Nahta says, Most of these film kids know that they will eventually join Bollywood, so it makes sense for them to train on the same lines. Being an AD gives them a certain perspective of what would be expected of them when they do face the cameras. For many, it is also a preparatory period, as they make up their minds about how they plan to carry on in Bollywood.
One such AD-turned-actor admits that it is indeed like testing the waters for them. Besides the acting classes, being on the sets helps you understand the craft better. Its the best way to spend time in the most useful way, while we wait for that big break. The exposure we get on sets is invaluable, even if we may never take to direction in the future, he says. For most of the outsiders, modelling is like a stepping stone, but for the insiders, becoming AD is a quicker route to Bollywood before getting the big break, adds Nahta. Having worked behind the camera on the sets, helps them understand camera angles better, minimise reel use and to help economise when shooting, he explains further.
And most of them agree too. Being an AD does give you an insight into what is expected of an actor when facing the camera, says Sonam. This is seconded by Varun, the latest entrant in Bollywood who will be seen making his debut in Student of The Year. The main thing is that you dont feel like a blank newcomer on the sets when you first start shooting. The familiarity of the atmosphere helps us feel a bit more comfortable, which is an absolute-must, as we are a bit nervous on our first few shoots, says Varun.R Soft Web Hosting