Born in Lucknow and brought up in Mumbai, Casting Director Shadman Khan owns a casting agency by the name of ‘Shadman khan casting agency’. With an experience of five years and having reputed awards like Dada Saheb Phalke iconic award, Great young achievers award in his kitty, Shadman is known for the casting of Television shows, web series, commercial ads, and reality shows.
He spoke to India Forums exclusively about the process, introducing talent, and more.
Tell us about your journey so far.
I started 5 years ago and my journey started as an ACS at Balaji, and I also worked on Gumrah for 2 seasons followed by working in multiple production houses. After 2 years, I started my own agency, following which I've done multiple TV shows, ads, movies, and even web shows. I got a strong hold over TV as that's how I started.
What would you say has your struggle been, and what were the challenges?
I started off when I was in college, and when my friends suggested that let's do this, then we can go forward with the same, once we get an understanding of how everything works, so that's how I did. When we started, we had to approach a lot of people because we were a new agency and we didn't have a lot of work, and we weren't sure how will it go, and the production trusts people they've worked on earlier. We had to wait for hours, wait when we get the appointment. We have worked for 18-22 hours every day in the beginning.
Tell us one casting that took a lot of effort and you are proud of.
We did Kundali Bhagya, and Kumkum Bhagya was going on back then, so we were really wondering who would be a right fit for the cast, someone who has the mass appeal like Abhi and Pragya's characters have now, and actors that enjoy popularity. In the end, when the show was launched and 3-4 months into the show, it continues to be at the top of the TRP charts after all this time. It took us 5-6 months to get that casting right.
As an individual, what is your process to go through the casting, what would you say is different?
My only motive is to stick to the brief that we've gotten. In addition, a lot of people think that while casting, they get a known face, but I try to give a chance to someone who is new and that will be good for them, or even someone who has been trying for a while now. I try to bring new faces in the lead, people who are capable of doing good.
As a casting director, it is important that you help discover talent. Tell us some people you've cast and they've been doing well now.
There's Ayaz Ahmed, he did a reality show and then I cast him in Santoshi Maa, he's doing well now. Mohit Huseja, who was a part of Love School, and then he got new shows, and there are a lot of people who have done well for themselves. There's also Aditi Sharma, who got Kaleerien, then she did Yehh Jadu Hai Jinn Ka, and she was also trying for a long time, and we got her on board.
Has it happened that you have had to take a stand to cast someone because you strongly believe in someone for that role?
In Kumkum Bhagya, to cast Krishna and Naina Singh, we had a lot of conversation as they are reality show contestants. We had to put up a fight for them, as the production was not sure if they'd be able to act, but in the end, it did work out fine.
Apart from casting, he is also gearing up to don the producer's hat for a couple of web series, the details of which are currently under wraps.