Two big films in recent times bombed big-time with the directors also handling the business aspects of their films. Is it a worthy gamble?If a producer is also the director, he will be sandwiched in the tussle between quality and commerce- Producer Katragadda MurariIn recent times, we have seen two prominent directors make the headlines for the wrong reasons. Puri Jagannadh’s much anticipated Liger opened to scathing reviews and was declared a disaster at the box-office. Koratala Siva directorial Acharya too met with a similar fate. While it is the producers who normally bear the brunt of the loss, in the case of the above two films, it was Puri Jagannadh and Koratala Siva who faced the ire of distributors. Puri was also one of the producers of Liger’ and distributors demanded that he compensate him for the losses incurred by them. They even staged a sit-in in front of his office and residence and things got so ugly that cases were filed and Puri also had to make an appeal for police protection. As for Koratala, although he is credited only as a director for his films, apparently, he has taken over the distribution aspects of the movies he works for and following the debacle of Acharya, he was hard pressed to raise funds to clear his debts. Which brings us to the question: Is it possible to handle both the creative and commercial aspects of showbiz simultaneously and still be successful at it? After all, the cinema industry abounds in many such precedents? There is probably no definitive answer to this dilemma which if gone wrong can ruin the stakeholders. Yet, the adverse experiences of those who have already traversed this route can come in extremely handy for those desirous of charting similar waters. Here, we look at a couple of examples of famous yesteryear directors who ventured into film production.Adurthi Subba RaoIn the initial days of his career, Adurthi Subba Rao earned acclaim as a director with movies like Mooga Manasulu and Manchi Manasulu. He then decided to become a producer and made the Hindi film ‘Darpan’ which devastated him financially. But Raj Kapoor praised his film making which made Adurthi happy although he decided never to produce films again and restrict himself only to directing. He was flying from Chennai to Mumbai to settle the financial aspects of Darpan when the plane was diverted to Hyderabad because of bad weather. During the delay, Adurthi got the idea of remaking his hit film Poola Rangadu in Hindi and recouping his losses. Instead of going to Mumbai, he went to the house of Dukkipati Madhusudhan Rao, the producer of ‘Poola Rangadu’, in Hyderabad and secured the Hindi remake rights to the film. He made the film in Hindi as ‘Jeet’ which ironically means victory. ‘Jeet’ was the final nail in the coffin for Adurthi as a producer leaving him in a pile of debt from which he could never really recover.V Madhusudhan RaoDirector Veeramachineni Madhusudhan Rao (VMR) was especially known as a remake specialist and in a stellar career in which he directed nearly 70 films; he won the National Award in 1965 for the film Antastulu. Madhusudhan Rao turned producer for the film Kalyanana Mandapam in partnership with Gemini Studios. Madhusudhan Rao as a director was known for his non-compromising attitude towards the producers of his films and always demanded the best in terms of quality. However, for Kalyana Mandapam, he had to become exceedingly frugal and thereby got to know firsthand, the hassles of a producer. Kalyana Mandapam did reasonably well in theatres, but Madhusudhan Rao decided never to take on the stress of production again until two decades later when he bankrolled K Viswanath’s Swati Kiranam. The director was shielded to a great extent by the fact that Gemini Pictures was also a co-producer and he was smart enough to realize his limitations.In the vast ocean of cinema, each craft is an art unto itself and can take a lifetime to master. While production is a stressful activity in that it calls for having to deal with the finances on a 24/7 basis well until after the first copy is ready, the stress of direction is related to having to make the necessary decisions to realize the creative vision. Clubbing both the core activities calls for a high degree of organizational and creative abilities which need to function in tandem and which understandably is not the forte of the majority, irrespective of their intelligence factor. There will always be exceptions to the rule but then, there’s a very thin line between confidence and foolishness.