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Bollywood battles casting fraudsters, cautions people against fake, out of work agents

Of late, many filmmakers, actors and casting agents have raised concern over aspiring talent being duped with fake casting offers. In his Instagram post on June 12, director Shashank Khaitan cautioned everyone of these fraudsters making fake casting calls for his shelved project Mr Lele. He mentioned that “people claiming to be from Dharma Productions” and in the name of casting for the film, are duping people.

Actors Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan, too, warned their fans not to believe in hoax offers of being cast in their movies, especially during such crisis when no work is happening.

 

Kumar pointed that Covid-19 crisis has led to the industry taking a step back when it comes to work and that they aren’t casting “anybody new for Filhall sequel”. In his statement on Twitter, he wrote, “Corona ke samay fake news toh bahot sunni ab fake casting bhi ho rahi hai.”

Even though everyone’s figuring out how to get back to business, things will still take to come back to normal and work happens in full swing.

Elaborating on this surge in fraudulent activities, casting director-actor Abhishek Banerjee feels that it’s happening because of people being “naive and desperate” for work.

“The problem is many people don’t know who’s actually casting. There are only a few who knows the drill. So remember, if a person is asking for money, that’s a red flag,” says Banerjee, who’s agency did the casting for Bollywood projects Pataal Lok, Shubh Mangal Zyaada Savdhan 2, Pati Patni Aur Woh, Panchayat.

 

Echoing similar views, asting director Kunal M Shah affirms that these are vulnerable times and many people have been out of work for months. “They need money to survive. Some sent me messages saying they need money to pay rent. So, this is the perfect time for these fraud agents to make some quick bucks,” says Shah, who did casting for Hate story 2, Khiladi 786, Prasthanam, Boss, Operation Parindey.

Actor Aansh Arora of Kasam Tere Pyaar Ki fame recently filed a case of fraud against someone by the name of Shruti, who offered him role of the antagonist in Salman Khan’s Tiger Zinda Hai 3. Khan’s tweet that neither he nor his production house is casting made Arora realise he was wronged.

“Everything looked authentic. She mailed me from an ID which seemed authentic SKF domain. Having worked in the industry for six years, this offer was amazing. I felt my Bollywood dream was coming true,” he tells us.

 

Film fraternity feels that this is a booming business. Recalling how rumours were afloat on his name for casting in upcoming projects, director Madhur Bhandarkar shares, “There have been times when it rumours did the rounds that I’m casting for Fashion 2, Chadani Bar 2, Corporate 2. So, I needed to end this. Even now, when we’ve haven’t started full-fledged work, one of my team members goes to office everyday for a few hours and has been strictly instructed to tell everyone that we aren’t casting for the next 3-4 months.”

Bhandarkar also says that in extreme cases, “it’s important to report to cyber cell if this becomes a frequent practise”.

Banerjee suggests one should always cross check. “Popular casting directors and companies have official websites and social media accounts, so, check those first. You can also search about the film online and call these casting agencies to find out more,” he says.

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