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Paatal Lok Controversy: Casting Director Shubham Gaur Speaks Out On Casting Directors Playing Roles In Projects- EXCLUSIVE

The Pataal Lok casting controversy has been grabbing a lot of headlines. We spoke to casting director Shubham Gaur about it. Here's what he had to say...

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Paatal Lok Controversy: Casting Director Shubham Gaur Speaks Out On Casting Directors Playing Roles In Projects- EXCLUSIVE
As the OTT content is increasing with time as the new normal demands more of it, the platform is also attracting a lot of controversies. Pataal Lok was the recent one to be in one. 

We spoke to Shubham Gaur, who is a renowned casting director and his recent castings involve Ludo, Four More Shots 2 and Special Ops.Talking to us, he spoke about the casting process during lockdown, how competitive the field is and also revealed what he thinks of Abhishek Banerjee casting himself in Paatal Lok. 

Are you casting during the lockdown too?
We are currently working on a couple of things but not as fast as we used to. Right now we are at the ideation stage and scripts are getting pitched to the actors. The auditions are limited and it will continue like this mostly until the situation gets normalised. We are just going to follow the process of reaching out to the actors and briefing them in advance and that's how the casting process will be for now.

What do you keep in mind while casting actors?

First and foremost every casting director needs to know what his director is looking for. Based on that, we start looking for faces. Basically once we get into the director's head, our process simplifies. Most of the times the director and casting director are on different pages. Other times directors suggests certain names to the casting director to test them, if they're not able to find the right faces.

People are demanding censorship in digital content as well. You think that's right?
I feel there is an audience for everything. The kind of language which we are using can be controlled only where it is required. There was a film called Shool which had Manoj Bajpayee in it and it was way ahead of time with the kind of script and direction it had. It also had a couple of words which were supposed to be censored but they weren't. It was used only at specific places where it was required. It was set in Bihar where any lower middle class person uses cuss words. But they had used it in a proper way. I just gave you an example of this but there are many films which have cuss words but one should only use it if needed.These days most of the filmmakers use it just to make it more relatable and more believable. I think without that also you can make it more believable. So, I do feel censorship should be practiced but to a certain extent.
Another casting director Abhishek Banerjee was involved in a controversy for casting himself for Paatal Lok. You feel as a casting director it is okay to cast yourself?
I have been in the industry for almost 12-13 years and I think Abhishek Banerjee or Mukesh Chhabra or the people who are slightly bigger in the game have had their share of struggles. Abhishek Banerjee has given opportunity to many new faces in a lot of web shows and films. So if he or his company wanted to push themselves as actors, they would have cast themselves in those films too. They have done casting for some really big films but despite that they choose not to cast them in those. So, I feel we need to give the credit to the director where all Abhishek has been casted. You can't fool a director who has been working for so many years. I have worked with Prosit Roy (director of Pataal Lok) and I know he is very honest and very precise with the actors he chooses.

Go on...
I know there are people who like to push their own people. Not just in the industry but outside also. And it's only because they have been working together for the longest time and they feel comfortable. Most of the people who assist casting directors are actors. So, they also look for an opportunity. I too had so many assistants who tested themselves for roles of projects I have done casting for like Four More Shots, Special Ops and an Anurag Basu film but essentially they didn't get selected no matter how good they were.

Image Source: imdb
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