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ICE PEOPLE: Shantanu Bagchi

December 28, 2005 06:42 IST
Remember the man who made Sachin Tendulkar and Brett Lee - the world-class cricketers - play football in the 'Boost' advertisement? Or the animated mosquito to zigzag through the windows and recoil with fear when faced with 'Mortein'? He's Shantanu Bagchi, Director, Illusion Films, whose ad-film for Leo Burnett - `Girl Child' - had been nominated in the public service category at Cannes.

Creating special effects for commercial advertisements, fiddling with motion -controlled cameras, working with both enthralling and dumb scripts, and translating his client's ideas into successful commercial advertisements is what has been (ful)filling his day for the last nine-and-a-half years.

However, it didn't start in this manner. "As a kid, I was interested in acting. I've acted in a few films in Kolkata - one of them directed by Satyajit Ray 'Golden Fortress'," says Bagchi. Kolkata, he recalls, "…had a taboo against Hindi films (read Bollywood), hence one of my main influences was Hollywood."

He gave up acting to do a five-year (now four-year) course at the Ahmedabad-based National Institue of Design, where he got "tremendous amount of exposure". "We had a lot of guest faculty visiting us - even from places like Disney," he explains.

Bagchi went on to major in video and film-making. However, he found "…there was very little scope because of bureaucratic tangles." Around 1993-94, he started making small-budget corporate films with his friend (and now partner), Aniruddha Sen. After coming to Mumbai, Bagchi and his partner "foolishly decided to open a production company".

He remembers the time he spent waiting outside the doors to "get a few breaks". He still recalls making a film for Rasna (instant drink) at a loss of around Rs 75000 since he "was desperate to get a break". The film was a success and Rasna paid him an extra Rs 40,000 to part cover his losses.

But that's all history now. He's come a long way since. "You cannot succeed unless you have a great idea," Bagchi avers. He speaks from experience.

Leslie D'monte in Mumbai