Ever since the announcement of Shoojit Sircar's next directorial outing, October starring Varun Dhawan was made, everyone has been guessing who the female lead would be. While many names like Deepika Padukone were rumoured to be a part of the venture, Sircar put the speculations to rest by declaring his new find - Banita Sandhu.
Shoojit is known to have a keen eye for spotting talent and launching them in his films. From Minissha Lamba (Yahaan) to Yami Gautam and Ayushmann Khuranna (Vicky Donor), he has played a mentor to many talented actors.
Meanwhile, for all those who are wondering who is this new girl, here's some deets...
A Model From UK
Banita is a model from Wales, United Kingdom.
A Known Face In The Ad World
She has done some advertising assignments including the very popular Wrigley's Doublemint (Ek Ajnabee Haseena Se) Television commercial directed by Shoojit last year.
How Banita Bagged The Film
A Hindustan Times report quoted Shoojit as saying, "Everybody loved Banita in a chewing gum commercial that I had directed. It had almost 40 million hits. While I was shooting the ad film, Juhi (Chaturvedi; writer) and I were also working on the script [for this film].
So, one day, I clicked a picture of Banita and sent it to Juhi saying, ‘She has the potential to fit into the character that we are looking at'."
Banita Was Unaware That She Was Being Considered For The Film
He added, "I didn't pursue it further at that point, as we were still working on the script. Then, we locked the script and Varun was finalised. We did look at other actors [for Banita's part], but then one day, I called her and told her that I may be casting her in the film, and that she should start doing workshops."
The Makers Were Still Weren't Sure Of Casting Her
Sircar added that although Banita had been given the news, the film's makers "weren't absolutely sure until that point". He said, "But slowly, Juhi, Ronnie (Lahiri; producer) and I zeroed in on her and were sure that, ‘She is the girl we should go for'. My casting director also felt that she was the right person for this character."
A Fresh Pair
"When it comes to the genre of romance, it is always beautiful to see a fresh pairing. Something about seeing their chemistry blossom through the reels of the film, makes you feel a part of their journey from the very beginning. For October, that was one of the main reasons why I chose Banita for the lead role opposite Varun," says Sircar.
Shoojit On Why He Chose A Newcomer For The Film
The 'Piku' director added, "It has never mattered to me if I am working with established or non-established actors. The demands of the script is all that matters. The script required a certain face, vulnerability and innocence, so we did many auditions.
He admitted that a few established names were considered but said, "Juhi, Ronnie and I thought that Banita is perfect for the character. In the past, if I have worked with Minissha, Yami, Nargis Fakhri in Madras Café (2013), Deepika (Padukone) in Piku (2015), or the three girls in Pink (2016); they worked as characters and not just because they were established or non-established stars."
The film is touted to be a story about love and promises. It is tentatively slated to go on floors in October and will release on 1st of June next year. Stay tuned for more updates.