The USP of Queens Hai Hum is its ‘fresh’ cast: Anurag Chawla, Casting Director
Casting Director Anurag Chawla takes the cake again, with his thoughtful casting in & TV’s to-be-launched ‘hatke’ show, Queens Hai Hum, produced by Jyoti Gupta under the banner Silver Ivory Productions.
The last time we spoke to him, he had worked on the big-budget mythological drama Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanuman as the Casting Director, and even today, the show is regarded highly for its cast and powerful performances rendered by them.
Anurag has seen it all, and been through it all!! He has cast the best of faces for social dramas, mythological shows, episodics and drama series.
Queens Hai Hum will add yet another feather in his cap, as casting for this unique show was a tough process.
In a conversation with Anurag, Tellychakkar.com got to know the finesse of the man and his passion towards his work.
You have been a master at casting for various genres. Take us through the journey…
True. It makes me happy to see that I have been casting for various kinds of shows. I have done casting for episodics like Savdhan India, Crime Patrol, Shapath, CID. On the fiction front, I have worked on mythological concepts like Mahabharat, Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanuman. Later I went on to cast for the social show Doli Armaanon Ki. Now it is Queens Hai Hum which is really different. On the non-fiction front too, I have had the experience of casting for Welcome.
Tell us about the flavour of Queens Hai Hum…
Queens Hai Hum is a very urban show which will be differently presented. The USP of the show has to be its fresh looking cast. Apart from Bhavna Pani who is a renowned model and dancer, the other lead girls are really fresh. All the four new girls, Jia Shankar, Patrali Chattopadhyay, Kenisha Bharadwaj, Shaily Priya Pandey are very apt for their characters. This is a finite series, with very few characters and that’s what made the casting really interesting.
Give us a brief introduction about the new finds in the show…
Shaily Priya is from Delhi, and has passed out from one of the renowned acting institutes there. Patrali, though a new face to Hindi TV, has been a successful Odiya film actor. She has got her first big break in Hindi with Queens Hai Hum. Jiya Shankar is from Mumbai. For Kenisha, this is her launch vehicle. Apart from this, as we know Bhavna Pani has been a talented model and dancer.
So how did you go about finding them?
Well, it was a tough ask to get five new faces. I believed in my instincts, and reached out to friends and well-wishers to look for new faces. The best part is the varied characters they will portray. While one will be a housewife, the other will be a corporate lady, and we have a house maker too. We believe that these characters will be close to everyone’s heart, irrespective of the class.
As a Casting Director, what has been your biggest asset?
See, I am basically an actor. My biggest asset is in understanding the capability of an actor once I see him/her. I am a pass-out of Sri Ram Centre of Performing Arts in Delhi, and we have been groomed in everything related to acting. I always see myself as an actor.
How is it working with Producer Jyoti Gupta?
Jyoti Gupta is very sensible and has a great observation. It is the same with our Creative Producer Bharvi Shah and Kumar Gautam, Creative Producer and Writer. They gave me all the freedom to look for apt faces and believed in me.
How do you usually judge an actor?
There are various kinds of actors who are available. Few actors can work in all kind of genres and formats. But there are few who can only do episodics and can never do well in daily soaps. Also, there is only little percentage of actors available who can do well in mytho / historical shows. But at the same time, there are lots of actors available who can do social shows.
Also, another point to be considered is whether the actor is a good looker or a good actor. There are few cases where an actor looks like a model, rather than an actor. In Queens Hai Hum, every cast has got whatever role he / she deserve as per the acting caliber. This is what makes it different. I feel this will be a very talked-about show in today’s time.
So do you give more weightage to good looks or acting?
Personally, everything depends on the story requirement and the kind of actor the story needs. If the show is character oriented, then you will need apt actors who can carry off their roles well. I believe that our television industry is slowly getting to know the value of good actors, and the day will come when only talent will be well-rewarded.
What are the kinds of tips you will give to actors in order to sustain?
See, I too started as an actor. In Dill Mill Gayye, I did a small role of a Sardar. I did lot of small roles in shows. But then, I got into casting and my journey thereafter got me results. But even today, I have not forgotten my roots, and that is of an actor. Even when I work as the Casting Director, I look at them with an actor’s vision. Actors have a big misunderstanding that they can sustain in this industry only with their good looks. This is not the case. Work will come to the ones who have talent, and not to everyone. I don’t want to name any actor, but there have been many who came into the limelight for their good looks, but they are nowhere today. At the same time, there are lot many actors who have changed themselves with time. If they did not get lead roles, they have accepted good character oriented roles and are doing their job really well. So the mindset to growth is to pick up good characters and do your job well. This is what I will want to tell aspiring actors.
So do you harbor thoughts of making it big as an actor one day?
Yes, I believe that I am in the process of getting there. I believe I have the talent to act and one day, my talent will take me there. As of now, I am doing well in my work. I will work with the same passion. We have put lot of effort into casting for Queens Hai Hum. We really hope the show is liked for its authenticity.
Wish you luck, Anurag!!
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