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Casting director Mukesh Chhabra: Would urge aspiring actors to practice their craft

Casting director Mukesh Chhabra on the craft of acting, upcoming projects and more.

Written by Komal RJ Panchal | Mumbai |
Updated: April 1, 2020 3:59:07 pm
mukesh chhabra Casting director Mukesh Chhabra shared tips for aspiring actors (Photo: Instagram/mukeshchhabra).

Bollywood casting director Mukesh Chhabra went live from The Indian ExpressFacebook page on Tuesday. During the session, Chhabra revealed how he is spending his time at home during lockdown. He also shared tips for aspiring actors, and how it is important for anyone to work on their craft if they want to be an actor.

“I am constantly getting calls and emails from people. This is the perfect time for people sitting at home to send me auditions. I have posted on my social media platforms about the requirements we are looking at right now for future projects. So, people are sending me their auditions and introductions. I am able to see more auditions and I am able to give more detailed feedback,” Chhabra said.

When asked how many people actually end up becoming actors, he said, “On a normal day, 2000-2500 aspiring actors walk into our office, just to hand over an introduction. We do 200-300 auditions per day as there are so many projects going on simultaneously. We are doing casting for a Hansal Mehta film, Aanand L Rai’s film, Anubhav Sinha’s film and a couple of web series. So many things are going on right now. Our work has not stopped. We are just doing it from home.”

One viewer asked Mukesh Chhabra to suggest good acting schools. He said, “It is not really necessary to learn acting from an acting school. What is more important is to do theatre. Join a good local theatre group and keep doing theatre. It is also not important to come to Mumbai for auditions. One can now easily send introductions and auditions online. I hope more and more people follow this. Once you are short-listed, then come down to Mumbai and give an audition. It is not easy to be in Mumbai. It is a struggle in every sense. The world has changed, so should we. We do a lot of online and digital auditions now.”

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So how can this lockdown help aspiring actors? Chhabra remarked, “Just pick up one scene from a movie every day, and enact it the way you want to do it. Record your performances, you judge them and make it better every day. This is the best time to practice. Use the time productively. You won’t always get so much time to practice on your craft.”

A fan asked Mukesh Chhabra what is the first impression that an aspiring actor should make on a casting director. He said, “One has to be honest. That’s all that is needed. Your respect for your work should be your body language. You can’t be saying one thing and acting some other way. You don’t need to be over sweet or over nervous. One needs to be normal. That’s it.”

There is a new crop of actors who call themselves method actors. During the session, Chhabra was asked if he believes in method acting. The casting director said, “No, I don’t believe in method acting. There is no set pattern. For some people, acting from heart works, for other, being spontaneous works. Some have a method and some really get into the character. So there is no one set method of acting. As you practice, you come to know what works for you. You should just follow that. What your heart feels is right, that is right.”

Mukesh Chhabra concluded, “Many aspiring actors become negative when they don’t get opportunities, or when they don’t get the kind of roles they want to play on screen. I want to to tell them that they should not get depressed or become negative. Never call this period as your struggle period. It is a process. It might take three months or six months or even a year. This initial phase is your road to reach your dream, so give it your best. It is an important phase in any actor’s life. It might be longer that you would like it to be. It even might be difficult but it is an important process to make an actor of yourself. I take casting personally. It is a job that is very close to my heart, so I tend to take it very seriously. I try to motivate as many people as I can.”

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