Mukesh Chhabra, who has been working as a casting director in the Hindi film industry for over two decades now, recently recalled an interesting anecdote from his career where he was mistaken for a child snatcher. He revealed that the incident happened when he was trying to find child actors to cast in the 2011 comedy film Chillar Party. Also Read| Anurag Kashyap wasn’t sure about casting Pankaj Tripathi in Gangs of Wasseypur, wanted some other actor
Chillar Party, directed by Nitesh Tiwari and Vikas Bahl and produced by Ronnie Screwvala under UTV Motion Pictures and Salman Khan Under his Salman Khan Films, had several child artists debuting with the film. The film, which went on to win the 2011 National Film Award for Best Children’s Film, starred Irrfan Khan in one of the main roles as Fatka.
Recalling how he cast Irfan in the film, Mukesh told Mashable India, “The kid who plays Fatka in Chillar Party, I spotted him at Lokhandwala red light. I thought this kid is amazing. Then I followed him to a slum area in Oshiwara. I followed him home. His mother thought I am a child snatcher. I said, ‘no, a film is being made about kids. I am casting for it.’ She could not believe me. I finally convinced her and called her to the office UTV had set up for us. We gave him a workshop for three to four days before we asked him to audition. He auditioned, got Fatka’s role, and later won a National award.”
In the conversation, Mukesh said that casting directors look for personality instead of acting skills when they sign a child artist. He revealed that Bajrangi Bhaijaan’s child actor Harshaali Malhotra was also cast in a similar way after he spotted her at a mall in Gurgaon and asked his team to find her.
Mukesh Chhabra’s next film as a casting director is Brahmastra, which stars Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Amitabh Bachchan, and Mouni Roy among others. He shared that he worked on the film for over six years. Brahmastra is scheduled for theatrical release on September 9.
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