For someone who hasn't had formal training - and is a college drop-out to boot - Shashanka Chaturvedi hasn't done too badly for himself. The director of Good Morning Films (he runs it with Vikram Kalra, who is a producer), has worked on close to 100 ad films such as Hutch (the Irfan Khan series), the Limca commercial (which features Shushma Reddy), Tata Safari and the Cannes Films Gold Lion winner - the Nakka Mukka campaign for Times of India, Chennai.
In the ad world, he is known simply as Bob. Chaturvedi's nickname came from his dad who, inspired by the American singer, songwriter, poet and painter, Bob Dylan, started calling him Bob.
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For a long time, Chaturvedi went jobless till one of his friends, who was working with Channel [V] in the production department, helped him get a place in the channel. Bob was just 17 when he started working with the channel.
His parents, he says, supported his decision. After two years at Channel [V], Chaturvedi joined Ambience (now Publicis Ambience) for a couple of years. Then came a period where he didn't have anything to do for quite some time.
He then joined Adfilmwalas, a venture started by Kunal Kapoor (actor Shashi Kapoor's son) and worked for eight years there. The first five of these were spent assisting Kapoor and the last three years was when he and Kalra directed ad films independently.
Both friends then decided to start their own production house called Good Morning Films which is now five years old. Both Chaturvedi and Kalra were directors but when they set up Good Morning Films, Kalra took over production while Chaturvedi took over the direction aspect. He is currently learning to play the guitar and although he hasn't composed the music for any of his ad films, he always provides a reference track to the composer.
The duo is also planning to venture into feature films and they are currently writing a script for a project. Chaturvedi, who will be directing the film, is tightlipped about it and says it's too early to share details.
According to Chaturvedi, the turning point in his life was when he was asked to leave college. The duo wants to take Good Morning Films (now in Mumbai) nationally as well as internationally.
(Who's that? is an effort to highlight the lesser known talents from the advertising, media and marketing industry.)