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Casting director Shivam Gupta on working with Manoj Bajpayee, challenges of putting together an ensemble cast

Apart from his latest releases Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai and Asur 2, the casting director has Prime Video, Netflix and JioCinema projects in the pipeline

Sameer Salunkhe Published 03.06.23, 12:57 PM
Shivam Gupta.

Shivam Gupta.

Casting director Shivam Gupta has recently shared how his dream of working with Manoj Bajpayee came true through the ZEE5 courtroom drama Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai, saying he felt elated after being praised for his work by the Family Man actor.

“I have been interacting with Manoj sir quite a lot. I’ve received a lot of love from him for the casting of Bandaa. He is an institution of acting and a golden-hearted person. At Banda’s success party, he appreciated my work in front of everyone. What else can feel greater than that?” said Shivam, who has been receiving a lot of accolades for his behind-the-scenes work in Sirf Ek Bandaa Kaafi Hai and the JioCinema crime thriller series Asur 2.


Shivam fondly recalled the moment when he got to know that he would be working with Manoj. “One day, Suparn Varma told me that he was doing a film with Manoj Bajpayee and wanted me to do the casting. I wanted to work with Manoj sir so much and it soon became a reality,” he said.

Talking about the challenges of putting together an ensemble cast, Shivam said it had taken them a year to do the casting for Asur 2. “The audience was engaged with the characters of the first season. So, my casting had to be at par with that of the first season. The makers wanted new faces; there were budget constraints. So, we found new actors from Benaras, Manali, Delhi and Mumbai.”

Shivam recalled how he was chosen to do the casting for Asur 2, which features Arshad Warsi, Barun Sobti, Ridhi Dogra, Sharib Hashmi and Anupriya Goenka. “When I watched Asur, I wondered why I was not part of the show. Later, I got a call from producer Bhavesh Mandalia, who wanted me to do the casting of Asur 2.” Opening up about the importance of learning on the job in show business, Shivam said he learned a lot about casting on Ashim Ahluwalia’s political crime drama Daddy (2017), which stars Arjun Rampal as the underworld don-turned-politician Arun Gawli. “Daddy was probably my toughest project because we had to cast real people from Dharavi, Mumbai. I understood what raw casting means from that experience,” he explained.

Starting out as a casting director in Rajkumar Gupta’s Raid (2018), starring Ajay Devgn, Shivam also did the casting for Netflix’s Sacred Games Season 2 and Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen. “When I was watching Sacred Games, I felt I would really like to do a show like that. That’s when I got a call from my senior — Gautam ji — telling me Sacred Games 2 ki casting karni hai,” he recalled.

Shivam has multiple shows ready in the pipeline, including Slum Golf for Amazon Prime Video and another Amazon project by Nitya Mehra and Sudhanshu Sariya. He’s currently collaborating with his Asur 2 producers Bombay Fables for a Netflix project. Shivam also has two Jio Cinema projects — a series titled AK 47 and a film titled Ikroop, with the latter being produced by filmmaker Ali Abbas Zafar.

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