EXCLUSIVE: Hawala Director Kowshik Bheemidi Shares A “Funny Story” About Casting The Leads

If you were wondering how four new actors got the lead roles in the latest ZEE5 Original Hawala, director Kowshik Bheemidi is here to spill the beans

Cast of Hawala

Hawala is the latest addition to the amazing Telugu originals on ZEE5. Directed by first-time filmmaker Kowshik Bheemidi, the crime thriller, which pans over six episodes,  also features many debutants. Considering it has a fresh cast, we were intrigued to know how did the writer-director go about it. So, over a phone call Kowshik revealed all the details. Describing it as ‘a funny story’, he spoke at length about his casting process.

For the unversed, Hawala features four lead actors, Gourish Yeleti, Tarun Rohith, Anoosha V and Jayasree. They are divided into pairs, one as the antagonists and the other as protagonists. The director stated, “Gourish (Karan) is a friend of a friend. After trying to work out something for two years, Hawala came into being. Although I knew him, I asked him to give an audition. With each development (in the script), he would enact a new scene after doing his homework.”

Stills From Hawala Trailer
Gourish Yeleti in a still from Hawala

Talking about his badman Guna, Kowshik shared, “Tarun, who essays the part, is my school friend. He completed his MS in the US and came back to act. When I shared the story with him, he liked Guna’s character. When I asked him to do it, he rejected it outright. He said it was too mass-y and he was immature for it. I told if you believe in me and the story, we can do it. However, it was difficult because I hadn’t worked on this character entirely like the slang that he speaks,  his physicality, costumes etc. Tarun came up with questions and we worked together then.”

Guna in Hawala
Tarun Rohith plays the antagonist Guna in Hawala

When asked if the boys helped him through the scripting, Kowshik happily agreed, “For me, it was interesting to explore the character and the actor.” In fact, Tarun doubled as the Executive Producer on the sets to help his friend out. Finally, it was time to know about the girls. “The female leads were selected through several rounds of auditions.”

Hawala Trailer stills
A still from Hawala

“Anoosha (Vani) is passionate about her work. She is from Mumbai and moved to Hyderabad a couple of years ago. We took a break, for almost 20 days, to work on her language and expressions since she doesn’t know Telugu.” He added, “Jayasree (Nisha) has worked in the direction team in Bengaluru. My friend shared her photos with me, where she looked like a tomboy. I reached out and asked if she was interested. She read the script, liked it and agreed. For our first meeting, she showed up as her character. That was a clear win.”

Hawala Trailer stills
Jayasree as Nisha in Hawala

Quiz him why didn’t he cast local Telugu actresses and he quips, “Even I wanted to cast Telugu girls. I have tried to stay true to the world in which Hawala is set. With the kind of budgets we had, it was very difficult to find the perfect performer. But hopefully, the next time around it will be better.” he signs off.

Read part 1 of his interview here. Stay tuned for part 2 and many more interesting stories on Hawala. For some entertainment, check out another small scale show full of grim entertainment, Kailasapuram on ZEE5.