Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, also kept his fans on their toes to see if they could spot him (sometimes no more than for 10 seconds) in his films! He made these blink-and-you-miss appearances in an estimated 39 of his 52 films.
Not to be left behind, there are enough and more instances in Bollywood too of directors and famous actors in now-you-see them-now-you-don’t appearances. If you have watched the opening scene of Baazi (1951) closely, as a nattily dressed Rashid Ahmed, with a walking cane on his arm, steps out of his car, lights a cigarette and steps into the club, another man seated on the pavement, watches him too. After the camera follows Rashid into the club, it is quite likely the man on the pavement may have shouted “Cut!” to his cameraman. Because he was Guru Dutt, the director of Baazi. Guru Dutt did it once again in his next film Jaal (1952) where he is spotted in the song too, Guru Dutt make an appearance in the song Zor laga ke haiya .
Vijay Anand who loved Hitchcock allowed himself to be on screen in the classic Rafi solo Dil ka Bhanwar kare pukar from Tere Ghar ke Samne (1963). Earlier, in Kala Bazar (1960) too, he is spotted with Dilip Kumar while entering Liberty Cinema, Bombay. That scene from Kala Bazar was a star parade as a number of popular actors, singers and film makers step into Liberty. Interestingly, Goldie had a full-fledged supporting role too in the same film, technically making it his only double-role! Sometimes the producer couldn’t resist doing this even if it was a big shot producer like Raj Kapoor. He shows up as just another guy in the local train in the film Boot Polish (1954). In fact two street urchins are so taken aback at the likeness of the man in the train to film star Raj Kapoor that they decide that it cannot be him!
In Chitchor (1976), as Zarina Wahab frantically searches for Amol Palekar in every compartment of the train that is about to leave the station, the camera pans across a grey-haired man who is none other than Basu Chatterjee. He probably loved this and so did it again when he appeared in Pankaj Parashar’s Jalwa (1987), where he plays himself. Chatterjee expects to be asked for an autograph on being recognized but gets chased away by the cabbie instead!
Hrishikesh Mukherjee tried it out once, but he went unnoticed and no one spoke much about it. It was in a 13-seconds long song sequence Rehene ko ghar do in Biwi aur Makan (1966) . The film made no impact whatsoever and may be that made him superstitious enough not to risk appearing in cameos again.
Gulzar says he was once forced to appear in a cameo as otherwise he would not have got his lunch! Basu Bhattacharya invited him home to a lunch that he said he was cooking himself. When Gulzar reached there he found the director shooting the song sequence of Grihapravesh (1980). Gulzar was told he would get lunch only if he consented to appear in the song sequence of Logon ke ghar mein rehta hoon . Subhash Ghai, on turning a director, made it a point to make an appearance in quite a few of his films too. Some of these include Aradhana (1969) and Hero (1983) where he appears in the song, Ding Dong... He is also there in the song Palki me hoke sawar chali re from Khalnayak (1993).