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‘Casting Director’ now in Guj

DNAHM64734 | 6/14/2013 | Author : Kinjal Desai | WC :525

Abhinay Banker adds yet another feather to his already full hat

Gujarat’s scenic beauty is slowly turning into a much-sought-after backdrop for Bollywood and Hollywood directors. Hence, it comes as no surprise when directors of these films cast state’s talent for cameos, supporting or lead roles in their films. The sudden rush of tourism and shootings has now given Gujarat an official ‘casting director’.
“Till now, most films would have their cast selected on the basis of word-of-mouth, wherein person ‘A’ would recommend person ‘B’ to play a certain character in a film,” says, casting director, Abhinay Banker. He further adds, “But director Abhishek’s Jain’s debut movie, ‘Kevi Rite Jaish’ set a benchmark for Gujarati film industry, by giving the title ‘casting director’ in his film, to me. Till now our film industry had no such title, so to say. But now it does.”
Banker recently launched his casting company, ‘AB Casting studio’. Under this banner, Banker provides models and actors for advertisements and films. On asking how did he add this new feather onto his hat, he says, “At first, I had rejected to work in KRJ. Then when I met them and had a discussion about the script, I realised that they were missing quite a lot of people for characters. So I became the movie’s casting director. It was interesting to work with a different title.”
This actor, director and acting trainer further adds that till now Gujarati films had coordinators who did this work. But a casting director was never found and his or her work is different. “From script analysis to understanding a director’s requirements; from auditions to ensuring that the right person gets chosen for the character in demand. A casting director has to do all of this. Before KRJ I had never done casting. But my background in theatre is helping me with this new title. I am very precise when it comes to casting people in theatre. So like a director and as an actor I am able to select the right people for the right job,” says Banker.
However, Banker’s interest lies only in good Gujarati films unlike the traditional ones. For instance he mentions, bollywood film ‘Vicky Donor’, which had no major star in it and was in fact debut film for both actors. He says, “It was a major hit. Fresh faces are in demand now for both Gujarati and Bollywood films. The chocolate looks can be missed, if a person’s acting skills and screen presence is outstanding.”
Besides KRJ, other projects for which Banker has worked include, ‘Frock’ – a short fiction Gujarati film (entry at Berlin Film Festival and FTII special screening); Marathi film ‘Bhinti Maage’ made by NID student Vishwesh Kolwalkar. This film also received Dada Saheb Phalke Award. Then Nikhil Advani’s film ‘D-Day’; Karan Johar’s ‘Gori Tere Pyaar Mein’ wherein he has cast ‘Pralay Raval’ for Anupam Kher’s father’s role in the film, Jignesh Dixit as PA to Anupam Kher and Hemang Dave who plays a short role as a showroom executive in the film;  “The auditions for this film were done in Ahmedabad, as the story is somewhat based on the lines of the political scenario in Gujarat,” says Banker.

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