'Pagalpanti' casting director wants to produce feature films

MUMBAI: Casting director Shahid Hasan, who has worked on Bollywood films such as "Pagalpanti", "Total Dhamaal" and "Ready", also has experience as a producer. He wants to showcase that aspect of his creative skill by backing feature films.

"At present, my focus is to give my best as a casting director and my goal is to turn into a producer. Casting is something that I really enjoy doing and I am passionate about it. As a producer, I have already produced an international commercial and a short film," Shahid told IANS.

Prior to this, he had acting dreams.

Talking about his career, he shared: "The journey has been surprising for me from day 1. With time what I have learnt and believed is that hard work, passion and dedication can make you achieve your goal in life. The most important factor is loyalty towards your work which makes you succeed and grow with time," he said.

Shahid's dream reminds you of another talented young actor -- Abhishek Banerjee. Struggling to get a break for several years, Abhishek got into casting direction for a while. However, he has been more fortunate to prove his talent. Abhishek's turnaround role was playing the antagonist in the gritty 2017 arthouse thriller, "Ajji". Since then, he has impressed with roles in "Stree", "Dream Girl", "Bala" "Made In China" and the web series "Mirzapur".

Does Shahid look up to Abhishek as an inspiration? "It feels great to see people who are focussed and who keep going for something that they are passionate about. It is commendable to not leave your dreams and simultaneously work on another profession with the same dedication. Abhishek Banerjee is definitely setting an example for others who can follow their dreams and not give up," said Shahid.

Did he ever feel that another actor could have played a character better than the one he had chosen? "An expert in any field should never have a doubt in his decisions. Aspiring actors are full of passion and giving them an opportunity where they prove themselves is what makes me happy by finding a new talent. For 'Pagalpanti', I had cast a talented actor Inaamulhaq who has acted in films like 'Airlift'," he said.

His character was Niraj Modi -- the film's negative lead. "We had already pitched it to a well-known actor but I thought casting an actor who has had worked in a few... having trust in the actor is what made me convince the director for Inaamulhaq and the actor has proved his craft in the film, making his presence felt," said Shahid.

He considers casting a "safe profession". "I feel every category has a learning school like acting, editing, direction and many but there has been no subject for casting which can give great opportunities to people. Casting has a good package of salary and I have come across many who want to learn casting but have no option, so I make them work with me as interns and teach them the technicality of the field," he said.

"I am now looking forward to the upcoming projects that I am casting for in 2020. There are 8-10 projects that I am casting for. I am also working on a Hollywood project," he said.

Among his upcoming projects, he has an untitled film to be directed by Faraz Haider and "Maahi" by director Vikram Sandhu.



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