Kavish Sinha is a renowned name in the field of Casting, both for the big screen as well as the web space.
With a Journalism and Mass Communication degree in hand, Kavish started off being a journalist, and also had his moments of glory in the world of advertising, as he worked as a Strategist with the topmost advertising agencies in India. However, destiny soon showed him his right path when he offered to help Shanoo Sharma in Yashraj Films in Casting. After immediately falling in love with the entire process of casting, his journey as Casting Director started.
And when he decided to go independent, there was no looking back for him. Within years, he has literally marched through the amazing lineup of web-series he has cast for, and has brought in the best ensemble cast possible. A man who believes that Casting involves great team work, he is very accommodative towards his assistants and loves his actors.
An avid reader, a linguist, a man who loves to explore various things and is fond of culture, Kavish’s present passion lies in developing his company ‘On My Kayroll’ by doing great work in the field of Casting.
In an exclusive chit-chat with IWMBuzz.com, Kavish Sinha talks about his life as the Casting Director, his way of work, his likes and dislikes and much more…
Tell us about your journey as Casting Director on the web space?
As a Casting Director in the web space, it has been very fruitful. There is brilliant content coming in. I have been approached for some good scripts, and genres are expanding. Casting for web is a creatively liberating and satisfying job for me. Above all, casting for web is as good as casting for films. Everything is the same and the only difference is that it is divided into episodes and seasons and it is not time bound.
The digital platform has been blooming. You have been part of the platform and seen it all. What is your take on the web space and the content available?
Web series are a brilliant blend of traditional televised programming and feature films together. The biggest benefit of the web space is that you need not stick to a couch at the given air time. It is extremely accessible. Also you need not travel to a movie hall to watch it. So it is a great revolution I believe. There is a good bouquet of content available, categorized into seasons for us to choose from. I love the fact that it is divided into seasons, and you can binge watch it. It is sheer convenience at your finger tips.
Take us through your amazing work on the web.
My first independent job after being an assistant to Shanoo was Shaadi Boys for VOOT. It was a brilliant learning experience for me, putting the great ensemble cast together. I put together the cast for Untagged which was again for VOOT. Going Viral Pvt. Ltd. and Laakhon Main Ek happened for Amazon Prime which needed realistic casting. The Trip on Bindass, Selfie Wali PM for ALTBalaji came my way. Now the ones I have worked on have been amazing – The Office of BBC, Hasmukh for Nikhil Advani and a web-series for Eros Now with Swara Bhaskar, one with Applause Entertainment and one for VOOT. Everything has been different genres and that’s the best aspect about it.
What is your thought on the overdose of sex being adapted as a super formula in certain cases on the web?
Sex as a formula has always worked on any platform at any given point of time, be it films or international shows and now on Indian web space. The liberty of showing content without any inhibitions is very prevalent now. In some cases, it is much needed as part of the script. And some choose to force-fit it. But frankly speaking, I am very uncomfortable casting for overtly sexual content. I just don’t know how to speak to my actors about it. I just don’t know how to make that call and tell them about what is needed. One or two scenes that are required in the script are fabulous and fine, because it tells the story and is needed. But if the entire show is about that, I would not want to cast for that. In fact, I am extremely particular about the content I cast for. And if you see the series I have been part of, they very clean-cut web-series meant for wholesome entertainment.
Do you think the web space needs to have a kind of censorship?
I am sure that with time, censorship will hit the web space definitely. But for now, it has given wings to an entire stream of creative liberty and it is going good for us. Also, with international content being available now wherein sex is pretty much a part of it, I don’t think censorship can ever hit with the kind of content that we have from International producers made available to us. But with time, it might hit. But for now, Indian audience is enjoying whatever has been shown to them.
How easy or tough is it to convince the big names to work on the web space?
At times, it is very easy. Like I said, web is all about content. You can go very right and also very wrong when it comes to content on the web. All the big faces and names generally go for content. Some do have inhibitions for web right now, like the hard core film people. But a lot of film actors are moving into web, especially the film directors. With the directors coming in, it becomes easy to get the big actors on board. I have been fortunate to work with the best of film directors on the web space. More importantly, more than the team, actors are concerned about the channel or platform the series will stream on. Obviously the kind of content and character they will play matters most to the film actors on the web space. Considering all this, it is not that difficult now to bring the big faces. In fact, web is a wider space to work on right now.
What do you think are the positives for an actor when working on the digital platform?
I think the biggest positive is the connect with the youth. They become famous amidst the audience that drives eyeballs mostly. Also the acting style is nothing different than films. The film directors bring in their sensibilities to the show. Also web is more flexible, experimental and actors have lot of opportunities to explore from.
Do you think there is room for improvement on the web space?
See, we have various things. You cannot pinpoint and say that Sacred Games needed improvement. But yes, some series coming from big players could have been made better and promoted well. Web is always going to evolve and there is room for improvement in everything we do normally. It is existent in films too. We should never be happy with creative outputs and need to evolve with opportunities.
What are your personal favourites when it comes to series on the web?
I feel the cast of Sacred Games and performances were amazing. I loved Bang Bajaa Baraat, Tripling, Permanent Roomates, Little Things, Laakhon Main Ek (my show), The Trip season 1.
As a Casting Director, how do you approach new work on the web space?
I am one person who would want to cast from A to Z. Obviously, for me, it is all about the arc of the show. I also come from the advertising background. That gives me a lot of insight into the consumer mindset. I just know what will work. In terms of approach, it depends on the script in hand. It is a challenge then to put in the cast. The beauty of web is that you have so many actors to cast from. Every character is really etched out well. People write web-series with a lot of caution; so you need to bring in good actors in the ensemble.
Are you satisfied with the recognition you get for your work?
(laughs)This is a very difficult question to answer. But yes, I am more satisfied doing work which is worthy of recognition. Instead of me being recognized for work, the work should be really worthy of recognition. I am approached for some fabulous scripts, and that is what I basically strive for. With respect to my recognition, I am very happy being put into the work that I believe in and find my satisfaction in.
You are into casting for films too. How has that journey been?
Basically my training in casting started with films atYashraj Films. So obviously, it will be right to say that I am more comfortable casting for films. However, I am approached more for web-series and films primarily. The journey is very much over-lapping. Nothing is different in casting for web. Hard-core film casting directors also do web. Only the scales differ, while the journeys are entirely the same.
Tell us about few faces that you have been satisfied introducing into the limelight?
In fact, every web-series I have done, I have introduced someone new always. Parul Joshi and Aakash Ahuja for Shaadi Boys were fabulous. I had got Anjali Anand for Untagged, Nityami Shirke in Selfie Wali PM. In fact in lot of my new series, you will be surprised with the new lead faces I have cast. I have also cast the lead girl in Sunny Deol movie, Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas. Samridhi Dewan in the recent Imperfect is quite perfect. Sayandeep Sengupta in The Office is fabulous. Mallika Dua in The Trip was fabulous.
What is preferred most on the web – good looks or good actors?
Both, because right now, web is such a risky business that they can’t really choose one. So while in a series like Laakhon Main Ek and Hasmukh, good actors were required while in a series like Shaadi Boys, I had to get in a blend of both where they had to be good-looking as well as good in acting too. So I think it is important that you strike a good balance between both now. Web has good lead faces and good character faces, and good acting is primarily the need of the hour. Good looks can always be managed. There are web-series made with just good-looking faces. But that depends on the script too. Good actors are what I really look forward to. Sacred Games is such a perfect example, as it will be one series which will be remembered for good performances.
What are your future ideas being in this line?
Future idea is to just stick around. I have been a very erratic human being, from journalism to advertising to social media and then photography, and now into casting. But I think nothing has given me the satisfaction and happiness that casting has. So I intend to be in this business for a while. I get to meet the best of people, the most hard-working people and the most vulnerable ones too. Actors today are doing the most difficult job on the planet. And to be facilitating and be a channel to them to find their success in the spot of business is extremely rewarding and heart-warming. So I am going to be here. I am not leaving this.
So do you want to explore any other avenue in the field of entertainment apart from being a Casting Director?
I have not thought about it seriously. A lot of people ask me whether I intend to direct in the future. But for now, I am happy being in the audition hall. A Casting Director also needs to give in his 100 percent when he is expecting his actors to do it as well. A good brief can bring out the best from an actor. So this job is equally challenging as being the Director on set. That is the reason why we are called Casting Directors. So this is fulfilling to me. I really don’t want to branch out right now. I am planning to collaborate with a lot of people for acting workshops and make my space a really art-heavy space. But apart from that, I am very happy just being the Casting Director.
There are a lot of big players getting into the digital space. How do you think content will get streamlined? And will it be a race of coming up with good content or good quantity over quality? Explain.
It is great that all the big players are coming in. I think to be recognized in the same league as the Western counterparts, we really need to bring content which is exploratory and connects with the audience in the right spot. The content needs to keep evolving in order to keep the audience glued. Better writing is something that we need to streamline the content.
As for quantity V/s quality, I think quantity won’t last. In the bigger race, quality will always sustain. Good content should only be about quality. It has to strike a chord with the audience. It has to be meaningful and relevant. Quantity will never suffice Quality.