From a Small Town to Town B : a Journey of a Casting Director in the Bollywood Industry
We all envision our dreams don’t we, but how many of us have the endurance to actually do it? a small-town boy dreamt of getting into the Bollywood industry someday. Not knowing when, not knowing how, but just doing it. From the very beginning, I knew getting into it wasn’t going to be a piece of cake. But I prepared myself to go all in if I wanted it.
THE BEGINNING OF THIS JOURNEY :
if I really wanted to achieve and follow my dream, I knew I had to move out. I got to the nearest city, Jodhpur, and joined some theatre groups. The acting was something I really relished doing. Even doing the small plays brought so much happiness. I enjoyed doing small gigs here and there. Later I got the chance of doing some crowd work in some Bollywood films and daily soaps.
I took every break that came in my path. I wasn’t the most organized person. Didn’t know anything about acting, had no guidance or direction. Alone in this journey but I knew I just had to do it. I soon realized that acting was not giving me all the satisfaction I came looking for, but I didn’t even know what will. A moment of self-realization hit, I packed my belongings and left for Mumbai.
BEING THE BLACK SHEEP :
I belong to a very conservative family and society. We do not have an experimental culture. They have a predetermined future for every individual. You study and pass with flying colors, get a satisfying job, and settle down. All the neighbors and relatives started to taunt my parents about how I was now a lost cause. They call the Bollywood industry a lot of cheap names and weren’t ready for me being a part of it. But my parents knew I wasn’t going to settle for anything less.
Shifting to Mumbai made me aware of a lot of things. This city had the power to make and break dreams. It wasn’t going to grant me something so conveniently. I didn’t get any acting jobs for quite a long time. So I started to find some other jobs, and I found one, assistant to a photographer.
PHASE TWO OF DARK TIMES :
While assistant to a photographer wasn’t making me much money, but I couldn’t go back. It would just bring laughs on my face. I lived in one of the chawls with 7-8 people in it. It was horrifying 2 years but I knew I was going to make it. One day, the wife of the photographer, an artist coordinator, asked for my help. It was to find a face from a given set of photographs and shortlist some for a specific job role.
That very second, I had a positive click. I knew this was something, I was perfectly capable of doing. The job of a casting director. I had a sense of understanding the character and the correct judgment of filling in the perfect roles for the same. Both of which are acutely imperative for this job. After some experience, I started this as a freelancer.
COMING TO MY FAVOURITE PART :
I have completed 8 years in this field now. We audition hundreds of struggling actors in Bollywood for even the smallest of roles. Seeing them perform is my favorite part. The freshness and dedication they bring in are refreshing. Sometimes, it takes about 16 -18 hours a day to audition but I have to say I can never be tired of watching them.
Everything comes with its dark side. While some bring fresh talent, some also are here just because they like the idea of being famous. Leaving their uniqueness, when they imposter someone, that breaks my heart. Bollywood industry makes and breaks many dreams every single day. With all the accusations put on it, it still manages to survive but the strugglers won’t. There comes a time when they have to
make a strong decision of whether to continue or to give up.
WHAT THIS 5 YEARS GAVE ME :
Coming from a small town, my lifestyle now is completely the opposite. And I satisfactorily convey that I enjoyed doing both. When I chose this path, I didn’t know what life had for me. I gave up on everything else, went against my parents and society. A lost boy, with no one on his side or having his back. With no guidance or direction, I still managed my way through this Bollywood industry. All this was conceivable because I was determined towards my goal.
When you choose something, you don’t think about what it’s going to cost you. You only think about what pleasure will it bring once you have it. Obstacles are a part of life, but you find your way through it. My parents were unhappy at first, but now they feel dignified. They trust their little boy and want nothing else but my happiness.
MY ACHIEVEMENTS :
Sony tv show “ek duje ke vaste” – Associate casting director
Film “mission mangal” – Featured casting director
“Flesh” web series- Featured casting director
First music video of tiktok star jannat zubair “kaise main” – Casting director
Brands commercials – Croma, Ultratech cement, love&care, everyuth, iball, HiCare, novartis, bikaji,
Brand face – Croma, Santoor packaging, kisna diamond