Best-known for the casting of Stree and most recently Badhaai Do, casting director-duo Shiv Chauhan – Ashish Khare have been hitting the bulls-eye in Bollywood with audience giving thumbs up to their selection of actors. In an exclusive interview with Aakanksha Naval-Shetye, the duo talks about their casting process, the changes in the industry and also reveal why Rajkummar Rao is such a favourite. Excerpts:
With the OTT becoming such a game-changer where the focus is on actors as against stars, has the casting process become simpler or more challenging?
Today actors are bound to become tomorrow’s stars. In OTT, the writer has the liberty to sketch the characters in detail, so the casting and audition process has become more elaborate, directors are ready to experiment with newer faces and newer set of actors. So it’s simple and challenging at the same time.
First Stree and now Badhaai Do… Rajkummar Rao seems to be your favourite?
Yes! He is indeed our favourite actor and full kudos to our directors Amar Kaushik and Harshwardhan Kulkarni for approaching Rajkummar for Vicky and Shardul. We are blessed to have got an opportunity to put out a great ensemble for these two wonderful scripts.
What would you say have been your most challenging projects to date?
Each project comes with its own set of challenges. Out of our released one’s Badhaai Do is definitely at the top of the list.
“The casting process has become more transparent than before, it’s more organised now.” – Shiv Chauhan – Ashish Khare
Actors today, including young stars are far more open to auditions, is this an encouraging trend?
As we say, the most deserving should get the part. Auditioning is an important part of the filmmaking process. Today we are experimenting with different stories and characters and director want their young actors or stars to audition or to read for them. It’s a competitive profession and yes it’s an encouraging trend.
Tell us more about your casting process?
Our casting process is very organic and intuitive at the same time. Before starting we have multiple discussion on each character with the director, writer and the team . We then execute the requirement of the project.
Any tips for aspiring actors?
It would be to stay focussed and connected, stay aware, rehearsed, and positive. And most importantly learn your lines.
What are your upcoming projects?
We are very excited about Rahi Anil Barve’s next series backed by Raj and DK. The series will change the landscape of Indian web shows and the face of casting. We have done a film with Maddock films, Apoorva Singh Karki’s next series with TVF and a first major series for Flipkart video.
Screen presence versus acting. What’s the deal-breaker for you?
Both go hand-in-hand. If the actor is amazing, true to that moment in the scene he is bound to get attention and have good screen presence.
Tell us more about the casting for Badhaai Do…
The script of Badhaai Do was so well-written that it made sense to cast great actors even for smaller parts. The first lockdown gave us extra six months to search and explore more and more actors. We are very proud of our efforts and very happy of the ensemble.
What have been the biggest changes in the industry when it comes to the casting process, there’s always been talks about the casting couch earlier…?
The casting process has become more transparent than before, it’s more organised now. We are an industry which is still in its nascent stage and will continue to improve and evolve.