Last week, Karan Johar caught the attention of many when Dharmatic Entertainment, his production house’s web wing, announced Showtime. The Disney+ Hotstar offering is touted to be an insider’s look into the entertainment business, examining the practice of nepotism and the struggles of outsiders viewed through the lens of a leading studio. That it is coming from the filmmaker who faced the heat in the nepotism debate makes it all the more intriguing. While it was announced that Emraan Hashmi will headline the series, mid-day has learnt that the makers have zeroed in on television actor Mahima Makwana for the female lead.
For a studio that has launched many star kids in the recent past, the casting can be viewed as an interesting move to subvert its public perception. A source reveals that Makwana — who has done a string of popular television shows, including Sapne Suhane Ladakpan Ke, Adhuri Kahaani Hamari and Mariam Khan: Reporting Live — was brought on board after several rounds of auditions.
“After doing two Telugu movies, she made her Bollywood debut with Salman Khan-starrer Antim: The Final Truth last year. She was one of the many contenders for Showtime, and did multiple screen tests over four months before being finalised. Besides the web series, she has shot for Ashwiny Iyer and Nitesh Tiwari’s next, Bas Karo Aunty,” says the source. It was a conscious call on the makers’ part to hire a relatively fresh face for the series, given the nature of its story.
If things go as planned, the team will take the project on floors by November. “It will be directed by Mihir Desai, who recently helmed Masoom, and Archit Kumar of Dr Arora fame. The ensemble cast is currently being locked,” adds the source. The series will be primarily shot in Mumbai, with the first schedule planned as a four-month stint.