Casting Directors in Bollywood were a new concept couple of years ago. But now, every production house has space to accommodate the Casting Directors. And these Directors have assistants for themselves to help them carry out the hustling task of going through hundreds of profiles. Shruti Mahajan, a Jaipur bred Casting Director is relatively new to this arena. Shruti has around two and a half years invested in the industry and has already been applauded for her work by many.
Sameer Sharma who was convinced that Shruti needed to be in the Bollywood industry somehow and saw something in her. He later gave her first Yash Raj opportunity in YRF itself as an Assistant Casting Director. Shruti had a contract of one year with YRF and had already got the taste of Bollywood, and her knack to cast the spot on faces grew tremendously. Married to Cinematographer Sachin Krishn, Shruti turned a new leaf and got acquainted with the eat-breathe-live cinema lifestyle. She successfully holds her own Casting agency today.
From Jaipur to Mumbai, being a Casting Director was not something that was planned and executed for this young woman. Shruti reckons the times where she was expected to be like any other girl- to have a degree and a morning till evening job at a big MNC. She did, however, did her part of getting a degree (MBA) and was working for an MNC until Bollywood came calling.
This light-hearted woman shares her working experience with big names like
Sanjay Leela Bhansali. She has the credit of three films for Bhansali Productions so far, and unquestionably it has enriched her experience in the field. Ramleela, Mary Com, and Baaji Rao Mastaani are the three prominent movies which helped Shruti grow to great heights in her career. BaajiRao Mastaani being Magnum Opus of Bhansali, Shruti considers herself blessed to have gotten the opportunity. She was hesitant in the beginning to work for Bhansali as the level of expectation is always high, but she was able to do a fantastic job with the casting for the film. She believes it is not just about the three protagonists Ranbir, Deepika, and Priyanka but getting each supporting actor for the movie was vital, and it accounts for the wholeness and perfection of the movie. She says it is so very important to have right cast as some directors ask for a perfect actor for a particular role.
Shruti has around fifteen movies for her long list of successful ventures. In a short time of just two and a half years, Shruti has certainly made a name for herself. Casting Priyanka for Mary Com and Jai Gangajal took a lot of visionary efforts by Shruti. To be able to envision the actor for a certain role, given by the Director, and then going with guts needs experience and moreover needs that kind of talent. Shruti not only depends on a screen test of an actor but depends hugely on her gut feeling and intuition. She says that her intuition works beyond all the auditions and screen tests.
When asked about working with various directors, Shruti says she loves her job, but it also involves a lot of thought process and understanding a director’s way of thinking. To be able to catch a director’s vision and his/her expectation from the character is a skill to possess and Shruti seems to have got that. She started out with Chkravyuh and Satyagrah with
Prakash Jha and went on to cast for his later movie Jai Gangajal. The funny cast of
Finding Fanny was her doing, and so was Shamitabh, which obviously has Amitabh Bachan in it and also a new face of Akshara Hassan in it. Her latest installment was Sarbjit which has Aishwarya,
Randeep Hooda and
Richa Chadda in it, giving a powerhouse performance.
Addressing issues about the role of Casting Director in a movie, Shruti says that there is only so much you can do as a CD. One can only suggest and find a fresh face and discuss them with the director. She can, up to the maximum influence her opinions about an actor to the Director, the final call is the Director. She ultimately has to respect what a Director needs. Shruti enjoys her work to the fullest and like every other CD, she too wishes to launch fresh faces into the industry as she says it her small way of contributing to the world of Cinema.