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. 
It was 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. 

Shanoo Sharma Hindi Actress

Shanoo Sharma

Shanoo Sharma is a newcomer Bollywood film industry. A famous casting director for Yash Raj films, Shanoo Sharma took her first step into this job while she was injured and bedridden. It might be surprising to people, but this is indeed a real story, says the always engaged Sharma. Sameer Sharma, her brother, played the role of getting Shanoo her first real opportunity to work as a Casting Director. Shanoo began working for Sudhir Mishra and got him the new faces he was looking for his project ‘Khoya Khoya Chaand’. Her career took off from here.  Shanoo Sharma, who later worked for Karan Johar, has made quite a name for herself. Getting an audition or a screen test is regarded as getting an appointment with Obama! After that, her association with YRF started and she has brought out some great talents to the industry. Sharma is believed to have that gifted talent of picking the right and perfect actor for the right role. But it should also be considered that she has so much exposure in art and creativity, and she possessed impeccable skills in putting a face to the character.  Working for YRF is no joke and neither does Shanoo takes it lightly. She has admitted in many interviews how she has to go through a minimum of 100 profiles every day; how her every day goes by looking at many faces and the search for that perfect combination of talent and beauty is always on. It’s a manhunt and Shanoo gives her full time to it, as she believes it is a great responsibility for her to find the perfect talent.   Shanoo feels it is equally important to find a great supporting cast, and she strives to find one. She says she reads the script with the directors and producers and her hunt to cast for the roles begins from there. She is always credited for her incredible finds like Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, and Parineeti Chopra. Each actor was cast by Shanoo through fair means of auditioning and screen tests. Till date, Ranveer Singh is very grateful to Shanoo for having given him an opportunity. It is said that Ranveer was 17 when Shanoo found him and suggested to Aditya Chopra for casting in ‘Band Baaja Baarat.’ Apparently her finds of talent are respected greatly by Aditya Chopra and carries weight.  This 30-something personality has proved herself that she can handle this job of being a great Casting Director by associating herself to one of the biggest production houses called Yash Raj Films. This alone speaks volumes of her work. She has also found some great talents like Saqib Saleem, Saba Azad, Swara Bhaskar and Bhumi Pednekar. Her current casting project of Sultan is the one to look for now. Fan is her project which has King Khan- Shah Rukh Khan in it. If we watch Fan movie, we see some fresh faces as SRK’s assistant who catches our attention. It is this delicate work of Shanoo that we can subtly observe in her movies projects. Shanoo has dedicated herself to YRF for more than six years giving her best through movies like Fan, Kurbaan; My Name Is Khan, Band Baaja Baarat, and others.  Born into a simple family, Shanoo’s father was an hotelier and mother was a dentist. She has a brother Sameer, who is the only personal connection in the film industry. Her early days were spent at her father’s hotel and interacting with people there. She got opportunities to meet different kinds of people and somehow was talented at helping with their queries and issues. She had that ability to tell people what is going well for them and what suits them and what is appropriate for them. That is how curious and well-informed was Shanoo. Her plan for life is to get married soon (or in two years) and have her own children and be a homemaker. However, she admits that she does not have a man in her life right now, but her social media accounts say her ambition of becoming a ‘homemaker.’ She lives with her brother, her grandmother at her apartment in Mumbai currently. Shanoo is frequently asked about the casting couch scenarios and her take on the whole controversial issue. She clearly denies it altogether.  But this strong woman is against all that and never hesitates to answer such questions. She says she was caught in some rumors and that she was involved with people (from the industry), and that is when she reaches out to her brother and seeks his help. She also tells that she had given  her assistants’ names up on the web so that no fake accounts can fool people asking for inappropriate favors from the newbies. She still tells the newcomers that anybody can be cast and that they have to be felt appropriate by the casting team. She encourages them and is very clear on how the whole process works. Perhaps this is one of the reasons she is the most sought after Casting Director in the industry.   In her interviews, Shanoo is very candid and always radiates great energy. She opens up about the times when her job goes wrong. When she feels she has not done a great casting she is upset with herself. As much as she is appreciated for her talent hunt, she also feels the need to be better when she looks at her failure. She takes this job close to heart and is always searching for fresh and new faces, be it traffic signals or night clubs. She recently finished casting for the movie Befikri and Meri Pyari Bindu. She has many projects at hand, and her work comes first all the time. It's not just a beautiful face or six packs she is looking for, but a perfect blend of talent, face and screen presence. We can all see that in her movies like Dam Laga Ke Haisha where Shanoo cast the female lead  Bhumi Pednekar. Audience noticed that face and loved the character. Shanoo believes casting provides a solid backbone support to a movie and that she gives life to the movies.   

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Atul Mongia

Atul Mongia shot to fame when the movie Love Sex Aur Dhoka was the talk of the town in 2010. This Casting Director cum Acting Workshop Trainer collaborated with Dibakar Banerjee, and the results were just great. Love Sex Aur Dhoka was released with fresh faces and Bollywood turned towards Atul Mongia. Atul, who also teaches acting and conducts various acting workshops for actors, is always reckoned for his iconic work.  Atul did not intend to be a Casting Director in the beginning but always wished to fraternize and be a part of the film industry. His aim was to become a Director, and he says he is working on his first directorial venture at present. He was an Acting Director at the Barry John Acting School in New Delhi, and his career in Bollywood starts from there. After investing almost fifteen years into this field, he turned to become Casting Director. But he maintains that it all happened by mere coincidence.  Atul is known for teaching and explaining acting and cinema tricks in acting to actors, which include newcomers as well. He trains the actors; he makes sure that the actors get deeply involved in the character when needed, he breaks them down and makes them discover their potential. Actors like Rajkumar Rao got their first big break through Atul via social media. Once he was cast in LSAD, Rajkumar was well-appreciated and noticed by the entire film industry. No matter how talented you are, it becomes absolutely necessary to be spotted by the Casting Director to get your big break. People like Atul do that for the newcomers.  Atul has many movies to his credit, but he also says not all of them were a box office success. He is not affected much by how much money the movie made as his focus is to put together a group of highly talented actors and give life to Director’s story. He may be very conventional in his style, but he surely has left his mark in the industry for his work in movies like NH10, Titli, Lootera and Queen.  Casting Kangana Ranaut and being able to picturise her for the role of female lead in Queen was not a cake walk. But the reviews and results were just fantastic. Movies like Titli gathered tremendous critical acclaim that they were nominated for screening at various National and International Film Festivals. Once a movie is headed toward a Big Film Festival, it is quite understandable the credibility the movie upholds. Atul has the honor of being part of movies like Titli. Atul also being the Assistant Director in the film Titli, opens up about that the struggle to portray the lower-class section situation as more realism with humane approach was quite challenging. He and the movie (Titli)’s Director Kanu Behl put a lot of efforts and hard work to make this movie extraordinary.  For Atul, it is the understanding of the Director’s need for the role is the biggest thing to comprehend and if he gets it spot on, he is confident of his choices he presents. He too agrees like other Casting Directors that to bring Director’s vision to life is the biggest and innovative challenge and Atul is grateful to have worked with different kind of Directors like Sudhir Misra and Dibakar Banerjee. Atul says that his days as just a Casting Director are over now and that he would be focusing on Directing. He has around nine movies where he has been casting director and many as an Acting Instructor. 

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Atul Mongia Hindi Actor

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