Casting Director Mukesh Chhabra: ‘You Have to Work Extra Hard for Films Like Jawan and Dangal’

Sharanya Kumar

What Was It Like Casting For Jawan? 

When you do a commercial film with big stars, it is very important to pad it with a great ensemble, as well as add a fresh tadka (seasoning). When people watch the film, they will see the magic of my work. 

What Did You Want To Achieve With The Cast?

We like so many actors from the South, right? So my target was that humare Bollywood actors bhi Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam audiences ko pasand aaye. Both worlds should like everyone in the film.

How Was Casting For Jawan Different?

You have to work extra hard. Films like Jawan, Dangal (2016) and the upcoming Dunki take longer because they’re huge films that take a lot of thought. It took a year to cast for Jawan. 

As a Casting Director, What Makes a Star?

I think a perfectly cast actor will become a star. If Nawazuddin (Siddiqui) wasn’t perfectly cast in Gangs of Wasseypur, he would not be where he is today. It’s the same with Rajkummar Rao in Kai Po Che (2013) and Vicky Kaushal in Masaan (2015). 

Who is Your Favourite Director To Work With?

So many — Rajkumar Hirani, Nitesh Tiwari, Imtiaz Ali, Raj & DK. And of course no.1 is Hansal Mehta, humara aisa tuning hai itne saalon mein (we’ve got a good tuning over the years.) I have to be true to everyone.