Creamfills Alpenliebe – Naagin#Ourwork Siddharth Kelkar • February 1, 2016
An advertising memory I will always cherish will be the one of two celebrated individuals making high pitched, yodelling sounds while vigorously pinching their Adams apples in the conference room of a multinational company in Gurgaon.
Trying to outdo each other, they were mimicking a folk instrument popularized by snake charmers called the Pungi or Been. The two men were cult filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee and Prasoon Joshi, Chairman McCann Asia Pacific and they were to sell a really bizarre idea for a TV commercial to the executives of Perfetti Van Melle, manufacturers of Alpenliebe toffees.
The whacky script couldn’t have found a better home in the hands of Dibakar Banerjee but the production process presented its own challenges. In a short span we needed to find a sexagenarian who could move like a gymnast and dance like Justin Timberlake. Those familiar with casting will know how tough it is to cast children, animals and old people.
Fighting against time, we found an elderly actor except that he was an absolute non-dancer. So now we had to find a body double of a similar age who could dance like a professional and that was like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Our shoot location was a banquet hall nestled in a hotel that stood on the shores of a picturesque lake. As waves lapped against water hyacinth under crepuscular, burgeoning rain clouds, the old man and his body double gamely danced away as day turned into night. ‘This place smells of the suburbs…’ said Dibakar Banerjee as he finally called it a wrap at day break.