He was a scriptwriter at Lintas Delhi and moved to Lowe India, where he became the creative director for six years. He realised his talents as a director when a client insisted he direct his own scripts. Pandey left the agency to join the French production company Highlight and set up a production company, Corcoise Films, last year.
The Mumbai-based director has won several Cannes Lions, Clios, and New York Ad Fest awards for Yahoo!, Kodak, Ericsson, Perfetti, The Times of India and Fevicol.
"In India, you learn how to design sets, stitch skirts and set up lighting.
It was a great education. My mission is to catch the best performance on camera and to shock on-screen, a craft that's unexplored and impossible to act. This means I have to scare the shit out of the actors. For Onida TV, 'old ladies', I broadcast a loud barking noise and filmed the actor's reactions using hidden cameras.
"In Center Shock's 'barber', the main character isn't an actor at all.
I just liked his face. I always make a habit of strolling around the offices with my producer and watch people on their lunch-break. I make a note of anyone with an unusual or interesting face, someone who may be perfect for a truck-driver role, for example. I never use a casting agent.
"I've just finished a spot for The Times of India, 'money', shot in a raw area of Mumbai. It's impossible to recreate a crowd scene of such colour and magnitude, so we rehearsed the scene ten times and finally hit the streets with hidden cameras, and people didn't realise we were filming. It was a scene of a pickpocket stealing money from a policeman.
Mumbai is like New York in the sense that if you see a criminal act, you just keep on walking, so nobody tried to stop our actor or disrupt the role-play. I would love to make feature films, but have yet to find the right script."
Prasoon Pandey was talking to Rachel Nouchi. His portfolio can be seen at www.corcoisefilms.com.