Posted by Vivek on June 4, 2012 | 41 Comment

What do Kaminey, Delhi Belly, Omkara, Blue Umbrella have in common? Some outstanding and unusual casting, which worked very well with the audience. Chandan Roy Sanyal, Deepak Dobriyal, Amol Gupte, etc are all actors, who were first conceived for their characters by a person who seems to have an eye to fit people to roles. Honey Trehan is that person. Time and again he has proved that when it comes to Casting, nobody understands the audience and the Director, better than Honey does. We catch up with this talented Casting Director, one of India’s finest:

The journey to Mumbai?
I am from Punjab, and was always fascinated by the world of films and wanted to be a part of the business, but was not sure how and when. Then my family moved to Allahbad and I got involved in sports, cricket, specifically and creativity took a back seat. However, during attending one of the theater based events, purely as an attendee, the main person presenting, in my four days of attending, found a spark in me, and suggested I move to Delhi, to further my creative urges. In Delhi, I started to direct plays, became one of the youngest directors of plays and hung out in NSD and Mandi House and interacted with people such as Piyush Mishra, who back then was in Delhi. Slowly my circle increased to folks such as Manoj Bajpai. During this time, a close friend of mine, had been struggling in Mumbai and was not getting anywhere. Frustrated he returned to Delhi for a break and I decided to cast him in a play I was directing. Perhaps he was appreciative but he asked me to visit Mumbai and spend a couple of weeks staying in his apartment, while he was in Delhi. I took him up on his offer, showed up in Mumbai. In those fifteen days, I found out that Vishal Bhardwaj, whom I knew from in Delhi, had decided to become a filmmaker. I went and met him, we spoke and then left it at that. On the 12th day of my stint in Mumbai, I got a call from Vishal, asking me to join his team as an Assistant Director. From that day onwards, Mumbai became home and I became a part of the film industry.

So how did the Casting Director mantle fall on you?
A2) When in Delhi, I had trained under Barry John and done acting workshops. To cut to the chase, Barry felt that it was Directing that I was better at. With that in mind, and with my prior knowledge of Directing Plays, I came armed to Vishal’s team, as someone who was very aware and trained in aspects of the making, knew about actors and also had a sense of music and most importantly, could get into the shoes of the intended audience. It was my breadth of knowledge which probably impressed Vishal when he hired me on. Unfortunately that initial project got shelved, but my talent as someone who has a knowledge of the universe the director is trying to create, stayed with Vishal. So we continued to do projects. We then moved on to Maqbool and Blue Umbrella and although wearing the cap of the Assistant Director, I travelled the length and breadth of the country, trying to find the right cast, then having detailed discussion with Vishal on why I thought the person was right and this became my forte. It continued in Omkara, where I got Deepak Dobriyal ….

Then along came Kaminey and you became a master in your craft by introducing Chandan Roy Sanyal and the actor, Amol Gupte?
Interestingly both took some doing to win over Vishal. Chandan was doing theater in Delhi, in fact he was part of a play that was supposed to fly out and perform in California and he was flying out in a couple of days prior to meeting him. Back then, the character of Mikhail was just being conceptualized. He came and gave an audition and I showed that to Vishal, who was fine with it, but wanted to see more auditions of other actors too, which we did. Then his newly appointed new AD, saw Chandan’s in Vishal’s office and shouted that she knew this guy and he was a really talented theater actor from Delhi. So now Vishal had two people in his team telling him that.
In case of Amol, I was having lunch one day flipping MID DAY, pages and one of the pages had Amol’s photo on some article. I immediately visualized in my mind that this was the look of Bhope. Of course whether he could deliver as an actor, or whether he would be convinced to act was another thing. My first telephone call to Amol was answered with abuses, who felt it was some weirdo calling him and bugging him to act. But I persisted and eventually got him the script. He liked what he saw and liked his character. But it was agreed that we would only take this further if Vishal too was convinced. Vishal initially was very reluctant, because he did not know Amol and was not sure whether someone as big as him (since this was post Taare Zameen Par), would agree to be directed by Vishal. Also in that time there was this Aamir vs Amol controversy going on, post Taare Zameen, and Vishal felt that it would not be right to cast Amol, lest he get accused of leveraging of a controversy for publicity. But when Vishal saw the audition, he too was happy.
So with both Chandan and Amol, Vishal liked what he saw, but was nervous since both these were central characters and if the audience did not accept them, the film would fall like a pack of cards. Finally we went with our instincts and the results are there for all to see.

What makes you such a good Casting Director?
Firstly I have to thank Shekhar Kapur, who even introduced this term, Casting Director, to the Indian film industry during the making of Bandit Queen, when he gave that mantle to Tigmanshu Dhulia. I think what I bring is a very open mind. I am not star or glamour struck. I travel a lot, meet a lot of people, see a lot of performers and even a lot of those who have never performed. When a Casting assignment is given to me, the first thing that should excite me, is the script. Then I begin to behave like an audience and mentally go on what the character should look like. Once I have that, I go though my mental database of people and performers I may have met and also scout the terrain to see who can best, be the character, the script has conceptualized and put the choices in front of the Director. At the end of the day, I need to be totally excited about the script and then everything else falls in place. I treat Casting as my passion, not as a 9 to 5 job, that needs to be done.

End of the dream then to be a Director?
Not at all, I think I am almost there. I will continue to be a Casting Director for projects that excite me and for creative people who are open to taking inputs and having healthy discussions and listening to distinct points of view. Vishal is one such person. I also did the Casting for Delhi Belly, but all along I have been chasing my dream as a Director and when that happens it will be dividing my life between being a Casting Director and being a full Director, again being always driven by the excitement of the script and the people involved, that will determine what roll I play in the project.

41 Responses
Hi FUKREY ur project?is dere any audition going on for this project ?I went for the audition in Delhi Tribeni all the way from Gurgaon and spent 5 hours but no audition done.Felt very dejected. Sanghamitra Roy August 19, 2012 at 4:06 am
i like it. sachin shangari September 6, 2012 at 10:10 am
mai aapke film me kam karna chahta hu san October 1, 2012 at 1:25 am
Hi,I am an actor and looking for an audition to start my career in entertainment industry.if is there any audition going on under your camp.please let know me. Dev.09920576991  Dev October 12, 2012 at 10:39 pm
Sir thanx alot for ur biography n ur march towards successs alwaz b sweeet .Sir actually i m a theater artist n is in very need of audition so plz if possible i get ur id so i l mail u my pics plz sir want to act plz plz plz thanx sir i hope my greviances are taken into account plz sir thanx  Irshaad Bhaatt November 22, 2012 at 2:16 am
hey m n actor n lookin for gud work. thanx vandana rajeev November 22, 2012 at 3:37 am
sir u can put my name on google as amrita dhanoa i have done around 10 films in lead looking forward for good projects if we can talk i have my own production house send me a request on fb as amrita dhanoa so that we can talk thanks amrita dhanoa December 14, 2012 at 7:13 am
its really nice, hi sir i am thetre actress , i really want to do good work, plz guide me. thank you  pragalbha February 2, 2013 at 7:35 am
nic work sir keep it up MEHDI HASSAN February 3, 2013 at 10:06 am
i this is azad shah, i am a cator of local tv. sir can u help me do any role in ur next project, that will be ur most kindness. thank you sir azad shah February 5, 2013 at 4:24 am
good job keep it up gud luck   krishna singh February 11, 2013 at 12:15 am
hi sir...i m a proffetional actor...i have done many seriols and one film...i m looking fr good project...pls  send ur no.09320481237-09892464201..thanks lakshya manchanda March 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm
i would like to be actor...join entertainment industries...need a break...want to give my no..9873577887 gopal March 6, 2013 at 7:38 pm
Hello Sir, I am not a professional actor or model. I am a software engineer, I always wanted to be actor but didn't get a chance to be, as my first priority was to stabilise the financial condition. If you come across any new project and looking for new faces. I would like to give audition for the same. Thank You, Hitesh Khatri Mo No : 9769774645  Hitesh Khatri March 11, 2013 at 9:20 am
hi sir iam gud actor and dancer i luck like sahid kapoor so plz giv me a one chance your next project thanx gaurav March 12, 2013 at 7:17 am
hello sir ji ki haal hai....o ji assi lko ko belong karte hain aur movie scripts bhi likhte hain....sab kehte hain ki acting bhi achi kar lete hai...voice radio jockey aisi hai..sir ji assistant direc assistant ashish khare April 4, 2013 at 8:28 pm
sir i m a script writer nd an actor too with good voice....jst test me once in ur industry....wud love to b an assistant director ashish khare April 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm
Hi I want to prpmote my Kid Master Lovish Bhatia. He is of 11months. He is very active and very charming, with nice soft looks. Had done his Portfolio shoot. Please contact me if you have any opprtinity for him, be it in TV commercial Adds or In serials. It will be very kind of you if you can help in builiding his career in this Induatry. And Help me out with some other Modelling Agencies.  My Name is Vishal Bhatia. 9320920307/8657917800  Vishal Bhatia April 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm
i looking for chance to be actor and now i have written one script on comedy bases nachiket raval April 17, 2013 at 9:37 am
sir i am mahesh waghela amd wouldlike to actin any filmor t.v.serials i have already acted as junior artist in 2films my cell no.9323783079 i want to prove my acting talents inyour projects please reply me MAHESH WAGHELA April 22, 2013 at 8:50 am
hello mr trehan, i m looking some good casting director like u for a jury panel of a ramp show at dehradun roopak sharma May 14, 2013 at 8:32 am
hi sir . main acting karna chata hoon. pls main koi bhi roll karna chahta hoon. sirf ek chance.  pramod June 5, 2013 at 4:55 am
hi my name reshma mandra i have done 2 to 3 ads im intereseted in the assignment which u have posted on the olx pls contact me regarding the same or mail me reshma mandra June 8, 2013 at 12:43 am
Eagerly Waiting for a positive reply from your side..                                                                    Thanking you   Giriraj kishor kedia 8820693258 Giriraj kedia June 11, 2013 at 12:40 am
I am a 60 yrs Youngman passionate for films very very comfortable but alone due to sad demise  of my wife Manju Jee,Interested in starting first a medium budget film then with big star caste Ashok Sahni June 13, 2013 at 1:26 am
Namaskaram Sir,hope u will b fine.M N Theatre actor.Please provide me ur email add so that ican send u my pic nd links.good time sir.  ABHAY SHANKAR June 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm
Hie,i am ranu.22,female.i have lot of interest in acting.i dont have any there anything for me? Ranu June 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm
please sir give me some work kamal June 27, 2013 at 5:06 am
Hi, My Name is Ebrahim Hashemi and i Live in Melbourn Australia ,I want to come to India in December 2013 and Learn Acting But ,i dont now ,Where To Start ,and also wnat to work With you as Casting asstent ,to learne How it all works.can you please let me now. Thanks Kind Regards . Ebrahim Hashemi July 1, 2013 at 8:43 pm
Bhojpuri super star......... Pakkhi hegde July 17, 2013 at 5:59 am
My next movi Satnagat(marathi),women from the east.(punjabi) Enter your name... July 17, 2013 at 6:02 am
hello sir  my name is amit dixit am 29yrs just need a chance  in films am a fresher plz provide me ur idd so that i can mail my num is 9993791590 amit dixit September 2, 2013 at 2:37 am
Hey Honey, Good read ! jai Ho !  Jaikrit September 2, 2013 at 4:50 am
Hey Honey, Keep it up ! Jaikrit September 2, 2013 at 4:55 am many time I try to found your number but sir not meet. Well sir that is worng to tell you .if you free whenever you call me 9910640570. parveen ahuja September 8, 2013 at 6:16 am
Sir.only 1 time you call please. Enter your name... September 8, 2013 at 6:20 am
you are good atul October 8, 2013 at 3:52 am
hi mr trehan,i am looking to work in any serial or film of yours...if possible do let me know on 89761-45430 mark steve October 27, 2013 at 9:21 am
sir kindly reply to my msg .bcoz if ur searching a fresh face then i belive its me.. thanks sir rani acharya October 28, 2013 at 5:36 am
sir, i am ready from god for any mactur, ple. give me a chance sunil vohra December 12, 2013 at 1:39 am
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