Casting director Parag Chadha opens up about his journey in the glitzy world of entertainment.
MUMBAI: Casting isn’t an easy field as it has been perceived by most of them, it indeed has a lot of pressure that comes along to create the right cast for a project. The Casting Director is the vision behind every film or shows that the audience sees. They give faces to the characters that are written by the writer and visualised by the director.
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Well, one such casting director is Parag Chadha, he has been a strong pillar in the industry with his vision and more than a decade long journey, but apart from casting there is a lot more than Parag has to share, check it out.
Talking about the journey, were you always inclined towards casting or you had any other plans?
I was never really inclined towards casting, I had no clue how the process was. I wanted to become an actor and I signed a couple of projects as well but they didn’t reach the light of the day. Then I took up a job at Yash Raj Studios in Casting, that’s where the interest developed and it has been 11 years, I have been a part of this world and I enjoy it thoroughly. I like putting faces to the characters.
Have you faced any challenges regarding casting? Can you share
There are tons of challenges in every field nowadays, nothing is easy. I remember I did the casting for a couple of films for Yash Raj Film. Later, I started getting calls from the TV agencies, as one wouldn’t say no to work I took up the work, I kept doing Tv shows around 45 shows. Then I realised that a lot of films and advertising people didn’t want to work with me as they thought I didn’t have any database for actors they would cast. Due to which I had to do quite a few ad films for free to prove them that I know how to segregate my work between tv and films. It did take a lot from me just to prove my mettle. Now, we have more than 600 ads and multiple films under our repertoire as a company.
How prominent is the term ‘Casting couch’ for you as a Casting Director, have you faced any backlash due to it?
I wouldn’t say I have faced backlash due to the term Casting Couch, one definitely needs to be cautious of the job profile. It does come with immense responsibility, because of some elements in the society the word, the field casting is not looked into the correct light. I feel that there are good and bad people everywhere, one shouldn’t take advantage of their seat. This chair gives you bread and butter, It is definitely not the case with me.
Which was your most challenging project and why?
Every project comes with a new challenge, I feel Anamika was written and directed by Vikram Bhatt which stars some eminent names like Sunny Leone, Sonali Sehgal, Shehzad Shaikh and more. That was one of those projects where I invested a lot of time as we had to pull in some big names. I wouldn’t call it challenging but the process was a little lengthier than others. There is a challenge in everything that we do on a daily basis but you always pull through.
It has been a trend that many actors are cast due to their social media popularity, what are your thoughts on this?
It is an advantage and disadvantage both for an artist. The advantage is that you can put your work, content that you can put on Instagram. The drawback is that not having followers is sometimes seen when you are casting for a web show and we are looking for primary characters. Some platforms do give a lot of importance to the PR and the fan following rather than finding an actor. We as an agency also need to strike balance between people who are extremely good actors but might not be very known on social media but they do have the potential and then there are others who are content creators or influencers who are trying to venture out in acting. The business model of OTT platforms or films is such that they try to bring out as much as possible PR value from their artist so we have to adjust accordingly.
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Well, it is surely a delight to know more about the world that Parag comes from.
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