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4 Mumbai Hangouts to Meet Top Casting Directors and Actors

Where to meet casting directors
Where to meet casting directors: Mukesh Chhabra, a leading casting director (in light blue T-shirt)  auditioning an aspiring actor

Many a times I get desperate queries and “Please, Please, sir!” requests.
They are something like this-

“Sir, I have completed my acting training 3 months back paying x Lakhs. They don’t help me now”.

“Sir, I have registered with artist coordinator, paying x thousands, but it’s now 4 months and I got only 2 interviews for auditions and I’m not selected. Sir, I have paid additional Rs.25, 000 for a portfolio, but it’s not helping me, though I have emailed my pictures to casting directors”

"Sir, please help me…”

My counter question had been “Have you developed contacts by meeting personally casting directors, directors or most importantly your Co aspiring actors and strugglers by visiting Hangout places?”

When their answer is “No”, I tell them where to go, hang out and develop contacts

My Secret Out for You!

However, the absolute basics are

  1. Develop yourself to be extrovert. Shun your “shy type” if you are so.
  2. Don’t worry “What and how to talk to strangers?” Just barge in!! Say “hi, Can I sit here?” “I’m so and so…” and continue
  3. Be inquisitive… seek information about auditions, what’s happening in the cine or TV serial industry, new films, new serials etc.
  4. Develop patience and perseverance. Visit often, at least 2 to 3time a week  

Where to Go?

Welcome to Andheri, the Mumbai suburb that is every struggler's springboard to Bollywood. Hopes rise and sink in every rented apartment housing these aspiring actors, the filmi hopefuls!
On any given day, Andheri's coffee shops swarm with ripped bodies and girls in slinky clothes, all hoping to get discovered like Kangana Ranaut did. Markets use to stock Ranbir Kapoor T-shirts and Sonam Kapoor accessories. Every lane (Gali ) has a gym where can you rub triceps with a minor star or an acting school offering all false promises to a stardom.

Every locality has its own attraction where young stragglers hang out. If you dream of the spotlight, it's pointed at Andheri.

Andheri (West)

Andheri's position as the epicenter of the film struggle is only a couple of decades old. Earlier, it was Bandra (West)
Your journey starts at Andheri station. "When I left Delhi, all I knew was that I was supposed to get off at Andheri station," says Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who struggled for 12 years before his Bollywood dream finally came true with Kahaani (2012).
"Andheri station is also your first taste of things to come - the rush, the shove, the long queues and the chaos." For most hopeful actors, it's not just a struggle to get to the top, initially to find out where and how to get a break. It’s a hard struggle to just get by. "You'll see every variety of film struggler in Yari Road, Versova - actors, filmmakers, singers, models," says Ms. Nandini Shrikent, casting director at Excel Entertainment. Yari Road is not exactly cheap. "A tiny two-room setup is nothing less than Rs 25,000 per month," says Narayan, a broker for the neighborhood. "Three to four people share it. So it works out cheaper." At Lokhandwala and Four Bungalows, hotspots for strugglers, the case is the same.
Andheri is where the audition studios and film production houses are. "Even if someone is calling for an audition in the middle of the night, they can get there quickly, paying less than Rs 40-50," says Ms. Shrikent.   
And it is not unusual to be called at odd hours or to expect an aspiring  actor to turn up "in the next 20 minutes. Most hopefuls set out at daybreak, hopping between studios in Mhada to Shreeji Studio to Aram Nagar in search of that elusive role that will open a lottery for them to stardom. "The struggle is pretty much the same as before - the wait, the disappointments, the self-imposed poverty," says Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Forget scoring a role, in Andheri, even landing an audition is a task. You stand for hours before you can register your name. "Yahan jagah ki hi nahi, roles ki bhi kami hai," says a struggler. This guy and his actor friends set off to do what most of these guys do in the evening. Perhaps waiting and waiting!
But the strugglers have a theory- Somebody important may come or his assistant may.

Personally, I think hanging around the designated cafés is definitely worth a shot. I'm told directors from Films or TV Serials do their rounds there too.
Today hanging out these places may cost you a minimum of Rs. 70 to 80 for a cup of coffee but it could be worth. All it requires regular visits, a pushing extrovert and patience.

Meeting places of directors, casting directors, producers and most important-Aspiring Actors (Strugglers) like you to make friends and for providing the valuable information 

1. Start at Andheri station. 

Look out for a group of younsters who look like you. Go close and overhear what they are discussing. Or see a dude with bulging biceps and a backpack.

2. Coffee shop Hang outs

A. Bru World Cafe

Shop No.3&4,ground floor,New Neelam Co-Op society, Jai Prakash Road,Versova
Mumbai, Maharashtra
022 3983 3860

B. Bru World Cafe

Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri West
Mumbai, Maharashtra

C. Costa Coffee

Devyani International, Ground Floor, Spring Leaf Building, Opposite Nana Nani, Park, Versova, JP Rd and Seven Bunglow, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400081
022 2634 3352

D. Cafe Coffee Day
At the following places

Greenville Buildings, Lokhandwala, Andheri West
Mumbai, Maharashtra
093213 62013
2nd Floor, Inifiniti Mall
New Link Road, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra
022 3221 7642

Ground Floor, Meera Co-operative Housing Society, Near Mega Mall
New Link Rd, Oshiwara, Jogeshwari West, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra
1800 102 5093

3. Market

Hop to Four Bungalows market. You will see them there haggling with the sabziwala (vegetable seller) in their finest.

4. Studios

You will see lots of them near studios at Aram Nagar, part II, Versova; MHADA, Andheri; Shreeji, Oshiwara; outside Yashraj Films.

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