Mumbai: It goes without saying that the last few years have been the years of content driven films. Films like Secret Superstar, NH10 created impact and earned appreciation for real talent and content. While the credit surely goes to the actors, directors and the makers, one can’t ignore the crucial involvement of a casting director in the making of a film.
“A casting director is the bridge between the director and actor” as Anmol Ahuja rightly says. It is the vision of a director that a casting director has to satisfy by finding the right talents.
‘Casting Bay’, a two year old casting company, in just a short span of time, has made its mark in the Hindi movie space. Owned by Abhishek Banerjee and Anmol Ahuja, the company is doing wonders in the casting world. The talented duo has already worked for big movies like Raid, Toilet Ek Prem Katha and the recently released Pari. Currently, they are working on upcoming projects like Sandeep Aur Pinky Farrar, Student Of The Year 2.
In an exclusive conversation with loan trading, Anmol Ahuja, one of the curators of the casting company, speaks about his journey and a lot more related to the field of casting. Read on-
Reminiscing his initial days, Anmol shares, “Abhishek and I started together when we were part of Delhi University’s theatre circuit. We worked together as assistants for Dev D, No One Killed Jessica and such films. While we were assisting Rajkumar Gupta we thought of turning our heads towards the casting arena. That is when in 2013, Abhishek and I got back together into casting.”
The duo came up with Casting Bay two years ago. Their current office was previously owned by digital giants The Viral Fever (TVF). “When they became huge, they shifted their office and that’s how we got this office,” he says while taking a proud 360 look of his office. Initially the team comprised of merely three people, however currently Casting Bay has a bandwidth of 27 people working in synergy.
Despite working in the production department as an Assistant Director, Ahuja chose to shift his focus into casting. The primary reason behind the shift was his lust for creative satisfaction. “I realised through casting, I can be a part of the film making in the most creative manner. I’m a bridge between the director and the actor. If I do my job (of casting) right, half of the filmmaker’s job is done.”
While sipping his tea, he further adds, “Casting directors were not given much importance back then. Honestly, there aren’t many good casting directors. I realised everyone is taking this job very lightly. They don’t understand the importance of it. They don’t understand that our job is not just to find actors and stick them into any characters, our job is to find characters.”
Anmol comes with a lot of experience and according to him all of his knowledge has helped him sharpen his skills as a casting director. “Abhishek and I come from theatre background. So our understanding of text has been our strong points. This quality of ours stands out from others, it helps us. Also, I’m someone who is constantly improving my skills. It’s a journey were you keep learning and unlearning things. Furthermore, as an AD, I was told by my senior to not come up with problems but with solutions. That has stuck with me. I never go to anyone with problems. That is what I teach my guys (colleagues) as well. We always figure out the solution.”
Anmol also emphasizes on the importance of qualification that is required to be a casting director. He feels the lack of qualification and seriousness towards their job is the reason why casting directors are never taken seriously. He opines, “There are not many good casting directors in the industry. There are only a handful of them, few seven-eight, who understand their job well. There’s no qualification required to be a casting director, so that makes it worse. So they don’t do their job properly.”
To understand the importance of casting in a film, we asked Anmol to help us with instances where he found the casting in a film misfit. Post heavy thinking and, minutes of contemplation he replies, “Manjot Singh as Navjot Singh and Varun Badola as Kapil Dev in Azhar.” He further adds, “I think Himesh Reshammiya should not act. He is a great musician. One should do what they are good at,” he concludes.