Mukesh Chhabra on casting couch in film industry: ‘There is a fear after MeToo movement and that fear should exist’
Casting director Mukesh Chhabra talks to HT about the web show Kafas, and the prevalence of casting couch in the film industry.
Bollywood's most popular casting director Mukesh Chhabra has made a rare appearance in the new web series, Kafas. He plays a journalist in the fictional show that touches upon the issue of casting couch in the film industry and revolves around a child actor's sexual assault at the hands of an established film actor. Mukesh has himself cast hundreds of new and old actors in films and claims that if such a case comes to his attention, he will take a stand. Also read: Sharman Joshi on casting couch: ‘It is very tough to pick someone up who is powerful and rich’
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Mukesh took every question about the subject of casting couch prevalent in the glamour industry and also commented on the significance of the MeToo movement. Kafas stars Mona Singh and Sharman Joshi as the parents of child actor Mikail Gandhi, who plays the role of the casting couch victim in the Sony LIV show. Excerpts:
Why did you choose to act in Kafas?
It is an important show and that's why I decided to do an important part which could leave an impact. I have known the makers for a long time so thought of acting where I can. I don't do acting as such but when I find a good opportunity, I do act in some places. Sahil (director Sahil Sangha) said he really wanted me to do it and I said I will try. I am glad people are liking it and am getting calls from everyone. People are telling me I should act more.
The show is on casting couch and comes a few years after the MeToo movement. What is the importance of such a show?
In subjects like these, it is important to make people aware about what all happens and how to deal with it. Some are true cases, some are not. People have seen a lot of other genres on OTT but this one is different and that's why they are connecting with this one.
What would you suggest about how the media should handle sensitive cases like these?
Until the media doesn't have complete information about something, they shouldn't get into the decision-making process. They should think, understand, investigate and find out entire facts before publishing anything. Media is always in a hurry in writing and understanding things. Media should see what is right or wrong. Little more research can save a lot more people.
Do such cases reach you if not from the media?
No, I don't get any such news and if I do, I will also take a stand.
Has the MeToo movement brought about a change in the casting couch phenomenon?
Everyone is very well aware now. When such a movement comes up, people relate with it. If someone has something wrong going on in their minds, they also have a fear and that fear should exist.