Sohan Thakur is a well-known casting director of the television industry. He has now launched his own company named Starways to give a platform to new faces. Let's know more about this enthusiastic person about his journey, work strategy and his future plans in this conversation with him.
Tell us something about yourself.
I came to Mumbai in 2001 and earlier I was working in Delhi as a Production Executive for the show School Days' which used to come on DD1. I also worked for the show Rishtey' and for a few episodic of India's Most Wanted as a Production Executive. Later, I came to Mumbai and started working here as a scheduler and my first project in Mumbai was Chandan Ka Palna Resham Ki Dori. I used to coordinate with the actors.
Later, I realized that there is no longevity in terms of credit in production so, I switched into direction and I did few shows like Shagun, Sonpari, Kabhie Khushie Kabhi Gham, etc. Later, I met with an accident due to which I couldn't continue directing and production due to my health issues. I belong to a middle class family and I had to survive in Mumbai by my own. So, I switched into scheduling which is a very integral part of a daily soap. I used to read the scripts and I also learnt the process of meeting the deadlines and the criteria. My co-ordination with the actors became really well but I was not getting proper credit so I started off my career with casting.
I got very well versed with actors while working as a scheduler. Actors encouraged me to get into casting and I started off my career as a casting director for an episodic series Rihaai which used to come on Sony TV. I had to do new casting for every episode. I succeeded in my career which boosted up my confidence and I was able to do two things together that is casting and scheduling just because of my passion. By God's grace, whatever shows I have done, were successful whether it was Rihhaee, Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo, Mata Ki Chowki, Mann Kee Awaaz Pratigya or Kairee - Rishta Khatta Meetha. This way I got into casting in the year 2005.
How has been your journey as a casting director so far?
The journey has been very interesting and full of struggle but I have no complaints about my struggling days. I took everything in a positive way and I have a good circle of friends who kept encouraging me from time to time. I did everything with gratitude and passion and I think that my USP was that whatever I have done so far; I did it from the core of my heart and I have always got good support from the producer or the channel. My journey has been very beautiful and filled with passion.
What are the strategies you follow while doing casting for a show?
Whenever a casting happens, it involves a lot of people like people from the channel, creatives, director, writer, producers and so on. We have limitation in television like sometimes channel wishes to cast fresh faces or the producers have the limitations for the budget. I was connected to theatre too so it has always been my strategy to launch fresh faces in the industry and which is still on. I found Arhaan Behll - the Pratigya fame actor from Jaipur. He had that talent in him which he proved to me. Whenever I call Arhaan to appreciate his work, he says -"Khoj kiski hoon main!"I always try to give unique casting and I fulfill the expectations with dignity. My strategy is to provide good work to the creative with a unique casting in a given budget in a given criteria.
Which has been your best casting till date?
Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hin Kijo and Pratigya! I have worked so hard and bought in theatre people and they proved themselves. Agle Janam had a backdrop of Bihar and I also belong from Bihar so I could relate to the authenticity of the show. I had to make the producer believe that this actor will suit well to the character. When you get to know about the character well, then casting becomes easy and enjoyable.
Tell us something about your own company Starways?
I started my own company Starways to give a platform to new comers. It's for the actors and a place where all kinds of casting will be done whether for theatre, ads, TV shows or movies. The Production Houses want the best actors in fewer budgets so Starways will provide economical and best actors to them. Now, I am being known as Sohan Thakur but in future, I would like to be known as Sohan Thakur from Starways.
Who helps you with your company?
It is my would-be wife who is my motivation. She is well versed, educated and she is a partner of Starways. She is my helping hand with my company and she helps me to get the right sources according to the demands of the production houses or channels.
What kind of struggles you have faced so far?
I have struggled with myself with a motive to give the best. I have never bothered about internal politics at workplace. I have always struggled to give the best. I have never let the negative talks affect me. I am very short tempered about my work but even if people have faced it, they know that though I am short tempered, I will give them the best of my work.
What's your success mantra?
To give your best and do your best is my success mantra. If you will work like this then you will get everything you want in life.
Your biggest achievement so far?
I switched to casting and have always given good work and got good work. I did Mata Ki Chowki, Agle Janam, Kairee, Kitchen Champion, Guineas Book of World Records and lots of other good shows. Some of the big actors of television are like my friends now. This is my achievement that I am doing good shows, have good friend circle and the actors whom I used to watch on TV, have become like my family friends today.
What message you would like to give to the aspirant casting director?
The aspirant casting directors should know the aspects of direction. Without the knowledge of direction or the concept it will be hard to be in the field of casting. They should assist a director for 1-2 years to get into the field of casting.
What are your ambitions?
I want to make my name big in the field of casting. I have to speed up with my hard work. I would like to see myself at the level - Casting means Sohan Thakur.