Whether it was roping in Saif Ali Khan for Ek Haseena Thi (2004) or deciding to launch Neil Nitin Mukesh with the offbeat thriller, Johnny Gaddar (2007) — film-maker Sriram Raghavan has often made unconventional casting decisions for his movies.
Even for Badlapur, he has cast an eclectic group of actors. Here, Raghavan and producer Dinesh Vijan reveal how Varun Dhawan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Huma Qureshi and Yami Gautam ended up being part of the film.
Produced by Dinesh Vijan, directed by Sriram Raghavan and presented by Eros International and Maddock Films, Badlapur will release on February 20.
On casting Nawazuddin…
Sriram: While writing the script, I had named the antagonist Nawaz. So, when I gave Nawazuddin the script, I told him that it’s not like I had taken his decision to be part of this film for granted. Of course, later, we changed the name to Layak. In a way, Nawaz was always part of my script. He was on from the first narration.
Dinesh: He has got the funniest lines in the film.
On casting Varun…
Sriram: I had just finished narrating the premise of Badlapur to Dinesh, and I remember being concerned about whether he likes it or not. Just then, Varun called him and came over. To get a reaction from another person, I narrated the script to Varun too. As I was narrating it, I could see him getting more and more excited. We hadn’t even told him that we might consider him for the role at this point. After that day, Varun called me every day and talked about how he feels a certain scene can be done. I was happy that despite being a newcomer (Student Of The Year, 2012, had just released) he wasn’t thinking conventionally. This (doing Badlapur) was a bold step for him.
Dinesh: We had given him five days to think about the offer, and he only took a couple of days to confirm his interest. He said he’s on if we trust him to do the film.
On casting Yami…
Sriram: She plays Varun’s wife. We needed a person who, despite having limited scenes, can have her presence felt throughout the film. She has a good connect with me as a viewer and she’s terrific to watch. We approached her, and I remember telling her that, early in the film, she will be killed.
Dinesh: She has an angelic face, and shares a very dynamic chemistry with Varun.
On casting Huma…
Sriram: I find Huma very interesting. I have seen a couple of her films and I thought it would be fun to work with her.
Dinesh: She was the toughest cookie to crack as she was a bit sceptical about playing the role of a prostitute. But her role is pivotal to the film as it is the bridge between Nawaz and Varun’s characters.