My focus while casting is talent: Mukesh Chhabra

Last Updated 06 December 2020, 08:27 IST
Mukesh Chhabra
Mukesh Chhabra

Casting director Mukesh Chhabra is on an appreciation high after Netflix's 'Delhi Crime' won the International Emmy Awards for Best Drama Series.

Having worked in the industry for over a decade now, his casting department were the ones that created hits like 'Dangal', 'Kabir Singh', 'Chhichhore', 'PK', and 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', among others. His upcoming projects include 'Kapil Dev', ''83', and 'Laal Singh Chaddha'. Mukesh made his directorial debut with 'Dil Bechara'.

He took some time off to chat with Metrolife about the success of 'Delhi Crime'.

Congratulations on 'Delhi Crime's' International Emmy win. How does it feel?

I am ecstatic; I never imagined this. It is a big win for the team and I am so humbled that people are actually noticing and appreciating my work. We put in a lot of hard work while casting for 'Delhi Crime' and it applies to all our other projects too. We give our 100 per cent and when hard work pays off, the feeling is unreal.

Tell us about the cast selection process.

It was not an easy process, we had to be true to the incident. Given that the entire happenings were so sensitive, we had to make sure we weren't being too harsh or insensitive while auditioning or approaching people. We had to keep in mind that these were real people. Siddharth Malik and Robin Singh Rathore were the associates on the project. I must say we did not leave any stone unturned to get the right actors to portray the role. I was also given the liberty to cast new faces. No pressure of casting established actors. Our director, Richie Mehta, gave us complete freedom to cast.

What are some of the things people don't know about being a casting director? How does it pan out when the actors you had in mind reject the offer?

I think people sometimes do not understand that we will only do what's best for the script. Sometimes actors take it personally when they are not selected. We only cast actors that best suit a particular role, it is nothing personal. It's absolutely fine when an actor rejects a role. It is his/her choice.

I only focus on talent. And we thoroughly enjoy casting new faces and bringing to the screen untapped talent. I also love casting actors in roles they have never played before — more like breaking the stereotype.

What's in store for you after this?

Well, I approach every project with the same mindset — that it needs to be the best and most deserving to win the most prestigious awards. That's all I can do and make my best possible effort.

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

I have an exciting lineup of films that I have cast for like ''83', 'Bhramastra', 'Shaabaash Mithu' and a few others that have not been announced yet. I am also entirely involved in casting for each of these projects and some of them are true stories, there making it challenging.

(Published 04 December 2020, 08:20 IST)

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