Many directors believe that “cast right and half of your job as a director is accomplished.” The statement at best is a half-truth. In this era of star-making projects, the politics of finance as often as a director’s vision dictate casting. The rise of powerful agents and casting directors have moved the pendulum in the direction of political rather than creative casting. My comments that follow are only relevant to creative casting (let me just say that directors must continue to fight to maintain their vision of the characters in their films). Casting is the first expression of the director’s idea before production begins—all the more reason why the director at this preproduction stage must have a clear director’s idea, which, at this stage, is based on an interpretation of the script. The casting process is first and foremost about the look of an actor. Whether or not the actor physically conforms to the director’s vision of the character is less important than a checklist about the qualities, both physical and behavioral, the actor projects. I would suggest that at this first meeting between the director and an actor and the reading that will follow that the director keep a list of criteria by which to assess the actor, such as:
All-time hit PTV classic Drama Waris had a character of Choudhary Hashmat played by veteran acot Mehboob Alam.
Chaudhry Hashmat’, the protagonist of his famous play, Waris, who thought the common people were like trees who needed pruning to check them from rising above their apportioned height and growing to their natural stature, years before Karl Marx had stated that the source of people’s poverty was the rich man’s wealth.