The main attraction of the film is the actors. That is why it is customary to present them in posters. Some roles make the actor fail, while some make him win not only the hearts of the audience but also awards. How do the actors in the film get those roles? Or how the director chooses actors and characters? In foreign films, it is the agency that selects the actors. They themselves read the story and suggest actors according to the character.
Indian director, actor and storyteller Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, who interacted with Nepali artists last Sunday evening, informed that a single agency in India is hiring millions of artists.
‘When I worked on the last film ‘Samrat Prithviraj’, the agency I signed with had more than 15 lakh actors. Therefore, it is not as easy as you think to be selected for the role,’ said director Dwivedi, ‘However, the films and series made for OTT have helped to bring the work of that artist to the screen.’
Unlike India, Nepal does not have an agency to select actors for films. The trend of choosing actors according to character has not been increasing for some time. However, they are market driven. Actor Sunil Thapa’s ‘Rate Kaila’, Rajesh Hamal’s ‘Shankar’, Saugat Mall’s ‘Haku Kale’, Dayahang Rai’s ‘Kazi’ are some of the popular characters among the audience.
The director has decided what the appearance of the character written in the story will be. The character’s village, nature, character, education and even the demeanor are decided by the director who chooses the character or the director of the film. Now, there is an increasing trend of hiring directors to choose actors according to the characters. In film parlance, they are called ‘casting directors’.
Director Dinesh Raut said that the selection of actors for films in Nepal and the selection of characters for roles have been done in a procedural manner for a few years now.
In the beginning, I focused on becoming a director. Maybe I couldn’t ask for an artist at that time. That’s why I just did the work,” director Raut said, “In the last two films ‘Prasad’ and ‘Prakash’, I selected the actors who suited the roles by auditioning them. Because now the style of film making has changed. We can also say that we want this artist.’
Making his directorial debut with ‘November Rain’, he did all the work himself. However, now the director is starting to choose the actors. He entrusted actor Anup Baral with casting in his last film ‘Prakash’.
Painter Kedar Shrestha, who has chosen or directed characters in some films, narrated his experience of only getting directors for minor characters.
After the actors are selected for the main characters, the number of people who come looking for supporting and minor characters is more. I have found less clarity about the character with them, but they come to give me the responsibility of choosing the character after fully understanding something,’ Shrestha said.
Actress Lakshmi Bardewa said that after the story, the character and its selection will be important in the film. ‘I arrive at the audition. There is a practice where we audition until we get a job and then not. But it doesn’t matter if we give the audition if we are suitable for the role,’ said actress Bardewa, ‘when auditioning in Nepali films, there are a lot of people who are directed by the market. Many actors don’t seem ready to audition until they’re procedurally complete.’
Rangkarmi Shrestha said that although it is natural to look at the market according to the producer’s point of view, the process of character selection is gradually progressing in the right direction. He said, ‘Now a director works with knowledge in sound, production design, art design and other genres. This is the good side. It’s changing.’
Director Raut said that there is still a trend for the producer to decide the lead actor based on the business estimate in the market.
It is the director’s job to decide who will play which role, but we cannot go too far beyond the direction of the market. Because success or failure is measured by the box office,’ Director Raut said, ‘Films that give special importance to the commercial aspect are still being made under the direction of the market. However, efforts have been made in the film where the artistic part dominates.’
This is an important topic because the thinking of the director and the writer is shown on the screen through the role of the actor, but the nature of the character written in Nepali films is usually decided on the basis of business. Occasionally auditions are held for various roles. But the number of artists who reach the screen through such a process and their importance on the screen is very less.