For director Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, who won the National Film Award for Best Screenplay – dialogues for The Tashkent archives, says casting actors for movies is no longer an easy process, as decisions are no longer based on the goodness of the project. In fact, the political inclination of a director is also a huge factor these days.
“There are some young actors who want to work with me, but at the same time they make some great films with some very big banners, and these directors and producers are also politically active. And they give actors a choice between me and them. Obviously I do not make such big commercials and these actors have a stake there. So, the actors tell me honestly tell me that “sir this is the problem and we will not do it”, Agnichotri shares.
In addition, he adds that this is a new phenomenon, something he has never seen or experienced.
“Actors have begun to choose films based on each other’s political leanings. It’s a very sad comment. It has never happened in the history of Indian cinema. Never before have people thought about the political inclination when making a film. But now actors are being blackmailed and threatened; many young actors outside of FTII and NSD tell me that this is the problem that if they make a film with this person, that person does not want to cast them. “It’s a big problem.”
Agnihotri, who is currently in the US with his wife and actor-producer Pallavi Joshi for pre-release screenings of his latest film The Kashmir archives, says he encountered it first hand while casting for his film.
“We had planned to get an actor as the protagonist and again the same person was threatened by other producers and he told me honestly. I told him it was fine. “I gave it to Darshan Kumar and I can say that he is fantastic in the film,” he says, adding that he is no longer interested.
“I just put in good actors and there is no shortage of good actors, and they are people I believe in and work with,” says Agnihotri.
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