Casting director-turned-actor Abhishek Banerjee notes how, over past 12 years, there has been space in the mainstream film industry for everyone from Ranveer Singh to Nawazuddin Siddiqui to Deepak Dobriyal, and how the classification of ‘usual’ and ‘unusual’ looking actors has been overtaken by the need to find actors who can fit into characters.
Abhishek Banerjee, who recently impressed with his role of Vishal ‘Hathoda’ Tyagi in the web series, “Paatal Lok“, draws from his experience as a new-age casting director and tells IANS: “I have trained myself under Gautam Kishanchandani. I have observed an interesting change. Twelve years ago, it had all started with Gautam, Honey Trehan, Nandini Srikanth, Shaanu Sharma, the change started happening then.”
“So actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Deepak Dobriyal and at the same time a Ranveer Singh were also introduced to us. Freshness came in casting. Those lines between ‘usual’ and ‘unusual’ looking actors blurred. It took all of us a decade to notice the change,” Abhishek Banerjee added.
Starting his career as a casting director in the film “Knock Out” in 2010, Abhishek Banerjee continued to cast actors in films like “No One Killed Jessica”, “The Dirty Picture”, “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha”, and “Secret Superstar” among others before his first big acting break happened in the 2017 film, “Phillauri”.
Abhishek Banerjee shared how at times rejecting an audition becomes tough for him at a personal level. “Being an actor, when I watch an audition, I naturally become empathetic towards the actor. But as a casting director, I am executing the vision of the film director, so I am following his vision, (which) might just differ from my own. At times it happens that the actor was good, the performance was great during the audition, but that was not the character that we, especially the director, imagined.”
“They want particular traits for the character that perhaps cannot be created externally, using makeup. Every individual is different. Every performer is different. So, the job of a casting director is to see the character in an actor or any individual,” he mentioned.
In the recent past, Abhishek appeared in films like “Stree”, “Dream Girl”, “Bala”, and “Made In China” among others.
Asked about if his casting director hat helps him bag such interesting roles in big films and shows, Abhishek laughed.
“I have to stay it is a very risky zone! I can say that and put myself in through process of audition, but that way I would lose out on the importance of an actor and a casting director. Just because I have access if I always put myself out there, I am jeopardizing my position,” the actor signed off.