Shantanu’s new role

Shantanu Maheshwari grabs eyeballs in his first ad

By Ratnalekha Mazumdar
  • Published 14.10.15
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Shantanu Maheshwari at Prinsep Ghat for a t2 shoot during his last visit to Calcutta. 

TV heart-throb Shantanu Maheshwari has moved from the dance floor to the ad world — the 24-year-old Kumartuli boy is  grabbing eyeballs with his first ad spot, for computer giant Hewlett Packard. Directed by Chak De! India maker Shimit Amin, the ad sees Shantanu play a young and yuppie start-up entrepreneur. A t2 chat.

How did the HP ad come your way? 

I got a call from (producer) Red Ice Films. Then I was called for the audition and got selected. 

Was Shimit Amin present at the audition?

No, he wasn’t. But I did a workshop with him, which was mainly on the look. He was keen to see my look in the ad. 
 
How was it working with him? 

It was amazing because he is known for his perfection. He doesn’t talk much. He is a silent director! He knows how to get things from an actor. I worked with him only for a day. What I liked the  most was that he is clear in his head on how he wants the storyboard to come across. I was excited to have got the opportunity to work with him because I loved both Chak De! India and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year. 

What were your favourite moments from Chak De! and Rocket Singh? 

Shah Rukh Khan’s scene ‘Yeh sattar minute tumhein zindagi bhar yaad rahenge...’ was brilliant and inspiring. I liked how Ranbir Kapoor portrayed his character with a lot of humour in Rocket Singh.

What was Shimit Amin’s reaction to what you did in the ad? 

He doesn’t say much. He looked happy. He smiled! (Laughs) That’s the cue. I don’t think he had any idea who I am and what I do!

THE AD

Shantanu is the star of the HP ad, with the 40 seconds of the ad focusing primarily on him. The ad opens with Shantanu sitting with his laptop at a cafe and telling a friend over phone: “I will go home once this meeting is over.” Cue for a group of middle-aged professionals, sitting at the next table, to smirk and say: “Baatein zyada aur kaam kum… laptop kholne se koi boss nahin bann jaata… inki soch aur hamare approach mein zameen aasmaan ka farq hai.” Shantanu packs up his laptop and walks out even as the others snigger. The next shot is of Shantanu sitting in a boardroom, as the men at the coffee shop walk in. Their boss points towards Shantanu and says: “This is the investor I was talking to you about.” As the men exchange sheepish glances, Shantanu smiles and points to his laptop, saying: “I like your soch, but love my approach.” The tagline: #Bend The Rules. Go, boy!

? Shantanu’s different moods in the HP 40-seconder