Sanjeev Maurya on the casting of Trial by Fire: ‘We focused on each character- even if they had one scene’

Casting director Sanjeev Maurya, who has worked for projects like The White Tiger, A Suitable Boy, Extraction, Angry Indian Goddesses, reveals how the casting process of Trial by Fire involved a completely different audition process, and how the team auditioned for more than 3500 actors for the smallest characters in the acclaimed Netflix series, created by Kevin Luperchio and Prashant Nair. (Also read: Trial by Fire review: Netflix series based on 1997 Uphaar tragedy is a triumphant reminder of the cost of resilience)

One of the strongest factors for me that worked in Trial by Fire has been the casting. How has the reception been?

I will start by the journey that this kind of a project saw. It was a very different process, which started just a week before the first lockdown. So, Prashant (Nair) came over to Delhi to narrate the story and asked inputs. I stood up and said, ‘Listen, I do not see any star. I just want correct actors who I can believe as the characters.’ He also had the same thought and then the process began. He handed over the bible, because the script was not ready yet and I read it and then, suddenly lockdown started. No one knew in the world how long this lockdown would go. We were just doing our groundwork in the meantime, and then the stage of audition came in. Zoom was introduced in the world and we figured out that we had to continue without the scene for the auditions, so me and my team sat down and created the scenarios for all the characters….

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