I am a fan of Prasoon Pandey. He is the best advertising filmmaker this country has seen. And I haven't done a single film with him so far. Shame or pride? A bit of both. Let me explain.
There have been some phenomenal film makers before him and some brilliant names that followed him. But I say he is the best because he is that solo rare combination of a great advertising mind and a phenomenal film making talent. In my early days as creative head of Lintas I wished I had a brother like him. But I didn't.
There is no need for me to list out Prasoon's work. One shouldn't be reading this if one didn't know it by heart. But why didn't I ever work with him?
Prasoon was doing some phenomenal work for some key agencies , Ogilvy being just one of them. Most landmark films were either directed by him or written and directed by him. He was a Lintas man too and had written some beautiful films during his stay here. I was aware of every bit of his work.
I had a choice...with Prasoon or without? Not that he would have been easily available even if I had asked him.
Actually it was a combo of his busyness, a desperate need to differentiate ourselves ( if we had to stand out we would have to do it without 'their' best weapon) ,a bit of bravado, and a genuine lack of budgets in most cases( he is the best so he will cost) that prevented me from being tempted to just go to the master and get it done. So nett nett fate or actually lack of Prasoon made us work triply hard.
It gave us at Lintas a lot of energy and drive to do stuff that would challenge what other agencies did with Prasoon without Prasoon. (People thought it was Ogilvy or other agencies we were trying to be as good as but in my head it was always Prasoon... Ha ha there goes another secret). We weren't always successful and we may have been a much better agency if I had just had a little more maturity then... But that's how it was.
So as a result of such self created circumstances I have been reduced to just being an admirer of every morsel of his craft and a follower of his filmography over the years.
My colleagues at the agency did a couple of films with him where I wasn't so directly involved (not because I didn't want to but because I was genuinely caught up working triply hard) and I too did, after many years, have a meeting on a very important film with him that finally didn't materialize. But in all these years we truly haven't done jack shit together and the loss is all mine.
Prasoon has always been a great friend, a true motivator and a constant source of support for me at the screening of every one of my films. But that's not the reason why I truly like him.
There are many people you become close to over the years working with, fighting with, growing with. But there are very few you just know. And are close to instinctively for no mutual benefit , for no reasons of blood, for nothing. In films you call such people heroes. And fans share this relationship with them just by watching. That's Prasoon and me. Hero and fan.