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Mukesh Chhabra: Idea for '83' casting was to connect entire country with each character
The trailer of the Ranveer Singh-starrer '83' has galvanised the audience. While the film showcases the historic Indian cricket team and their journey to winning the 1983 World Cup, it's also the film's casting that has grabbed eyeballs.
The film stars a terrific line up of actors like Deepika Padukone, Pankaj Tripathi, Boman Irani, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Jiiva, Saqib Saleem, Jatin Sarna, Harrdy Sandhu, Sahil Khattar and Ammy Virk, and the man responsible for bringing these talents and many more together under one roof is top casting director, Mukesh Chhabra.
Mukesh spoke with IANS about the casting process of '83', the thought behind casting known names from across the country and his experience of working with the film's director Kabir Khan.
Talking about how the casting of the film was set in motion, Mukesh said, "The best part about the casting of '83' was that everyone knows what that moment was, what that historic event was. We know these people, we have read about these people. Finally when the director Kabir Khan told me the story, I was blown away by the story, it was so important and emotional."
Revealing how '83' maintains his streak of tricky casting projects, he said, "I've always got difficult casting projects right from 'Gangs of Wasseypur', 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' to 'Delhi Crime', this too was a difficult casting to pull off."
A project of this scale requires clinical precision and time to give face to the characters etched in the pages of history and the screenplay.
When asked if he had the luxury of time amid the crippling deadlines of this project, he said, "This film took me more than a year to cast because there were a lot of things that we needed with regards to the actors, they needed to know how to play cricket, their language and their culture had to match with corresponding characters. The idea behind casting hugely popular names like Harddy Sandhu, Ammy Virk and Jiiva was that the whole country should connect with each character."
Commenting on the workshops for the project and the subsequent training sessions, Mukesh said, "For this film, all those who knew how to play cricket, we worked on polishing their craft and all those who knew how to act for the screen, we polished their game through training and workshops. We set up a camp where actors interacted with actual players. Every actor in this film is outstanding, you could see how closely they were observing each and every player."
Sharing what the past few days have been like for him after the release of the much awaited film, he said, "Post the trailer release, I have been getting a lot of calls from the people in the industry appreciating the casting of '83'. I am very happy with each and every actor's work in the film."
The film marks his fourth collaboration with Kabir Khan after 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan', the casting of which pushed him to 'Tubelight' and 'The Forgotten Army - Azaadi Ke Liye'.
As a parting shot, he shared his equation with the director, "It was great working with Kabir Khan yet again. I have worked with him in 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' and 'Tubelight'. '83' is one film that I could place next to 'Gangs of Wasseypur', 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan and 'Dangal' in the sense that it would make people sit and take notice of the casting".
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