Some directors don't just call the shots from the background. They face the camera too

Shaad Ali did cameo for fun, Siddarth Anand for necessity, Rohan Sippy for visibility and Subash Ghai for sheer love of acting.

Visibility Matters! Off late, many directors ha ve tested their acting abilities on the big screen through a cameo. Subhash Ghai had been doing it from the very beginning. More recently we saw Shaad Ali making an appearance in his 'Bunty Aur Babli', Siddarth Anand in 'Salaam Namaste', Rohan Sippy in ' Bluff Master' and now you will also see Vikram Bhatt in his forthcoming film 'Ankahee', which is said to be an autobiographical account of his association with Sushmita Sen. A few might have seen Ghai in two nondescript films as a hero long back. 'Karz' onwards he confined himself to cameos, with his trademark hat though. 'I actually wanted to be an actor. Audiences didn't accept me as one,' Ghai said once. He actually did a course of acting from FTII. . 'My cameos started with a joke from 'Karz'. We ne eded someone to say 'paisa' in the song 'Paisa Ye Paisa'. We couldn't find the right person so I took the initiative. Now I do it because of affection from the audience and habit,' says Ghai.

Retakes

While for Anand it was a sheer necessity. He did a three-minute cab driver cameo in 'Salaam Namaste'. 'I had fixed up a sardar cabby for it. He didn't turn up. All my crewmembers had already done one or two small appear ances in the film itself. Only I was left. So I had to replace sardar ji,' recalls Anand, adding, he found it very difficult. Preity Zinta handled the camera for his shot while he 'gave umpteen retakes'. 'It was very embarrassing. The whole crew got tire d of me,' he says laughing. But now, a desire to be seen on the big screen has sprung in him. 'I will do it again because the film worked! I have got superstitious now. I believe if I work in my films, they will click.'Shaad Ali did it 'just out of fun,' as his father Muzaffar Ali puts it. 'When all are doing it, why not him', his daughter chips in. We also saw Rohan Sippy in the music videos of 'Bluff Master' hip hopping behind Abhishek Bachchan and in film too.Vikram Bhatt did it for emotional reasons . 'It was not intentional. I did it for fun initially. This film is very close to my heart and since Amisha was also a part of the scene, everyone in the unit insisted that I should be there in the film at least for a minute so that whenever people watch this film they remember me for my 'Ankahee', the untold tale of my life...,' he says. RANA SIDDIQUI