While it’s the dream of scores of Bollywood debutantes to get a blockbuster break, only a handful manage to leave a mark. Meet Mukesh Chhabra – the industry’s most sought-after casting director who is attempting to narrow the gap between directors and talented actors.
At 19, Mukesh was working at the National School of Drama (NSD) in Delhi helping filmmakers connect with actors for their local Delhi schedules. That is where his journey as a casting director really begun. “I felt I would do a decent job introducing actors to directors in my own fashion. So I took the leap and went ahead with my instinct. I think I was destined to be here,” he was quoted in Josh Talks.
The 36-year-old from Delhi, who studied acting at the Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts, had additionally done a six-year acting and teaching course with the Theatre in Education Company, affiliated with NSD. After assisting in casting for Rang De Basanti, Mukesh decided to move to Mumbai and take up casting full time.
He got his first major break after a few years when he cast the incredibly talented ensemble of Gangs of Wasseypur. The mastermind then went on to cast for Kai Po Che, Shahid, Haider, Highway, Tamasha and Dangal, among others.
Looking at his work profile so far, he certainly has an eye for picking the underdogs in the show business. The man’s crystal clear about what he looks for in an actor. “Honesty. Am I believing what you are saying? Don’t impress me. Just be.”