- Deanna Morgado
Born in 1985 and raised in the Bay Area, Puneet Prasad began performing during the 90s in ballet shows and theater, through Diane Shaver’s Vallejo Ballet Company. Puneet grew up watching all sorts of films with his father and would later perform scenes for his extended family, often one-man shows. Even in high school, Puneet Prasad was never too far from the camera, whether it was behind or in front of the lens: filming for class projects like a parody of Dante’s Inferno for English, creating comedic videos for Spanish, and documenting Science experiments.
His first major theater role came in 2005, when he was asked by Jessika Van (MTV’s Awkward) to take part in the production of Redemption Street at UCLA in Los Angeles, where he was studying Applied Mathematics. Simultaneously, Puneet was hosting a radio show for KCLA in Hollywood, honing his knack for DJing, which he still pursues independently to this day.
In 2008, Puneet moved to New York City to see if law school could be his calling. Instead, Puneet landed his first two commercial roles and also began modeling professionally. It was then that he was discovered by Jocelyn Barker, an agent connected to Cinematic Management, an agency specifically focused on ‘models who can act.’ From there, he was introduced to John Shea, an agent for household names such as Courteney Cox, at Frontier Booking Int’l. This opened the door to commercial acting, print, runway modeling, and film/television for Prasad. After taking up roles opposite Degrassi’s Melinda Shankar and acting alongside other names such as Aidan Quinn, Jimi Mistry, and Rita Pandu, Prasad began to realize that character-driven acting, or ‘Method Acting,’ was not only a natural talent he possessed but one that he excelled greatly at. He began studying Method Acting, Improv, and Commercial Acting under big names, such as the founder of Manhattan Monologue Slam, Robert Galinsky.
Along with the mentoring and coaching, Puneet credits his strong improvisational acting skills to his experience with freestyle rapping. Although he has studied both Method and Meisner acting techniques, Puneet Prasad admits to preferring Method acting in order to prepare himself for a role. Based on personal preference of character study and imagination, Prasad has chosen to use this technique of acting for not only past characters but also in upcoming roles, including the Bay Area webseries Gold Mountain, expected to premiere in January 2016, and ARC!TEX on ChabotTV channel 27 and 28, as well as DiVA TALK on KOFY TV 20, both of which he will also be producing.
Puneet moved back to the Bay Area in 2013, where he currently lives and works, represented by MDT Agency. He has been working with companies such as Nike, Lyft, Droppler, SalesForce, Rubrik, and NetAPP in commercials. His modeling hasn’t taken a break either, as he currently models for NVIDIA Shield and Microsoft Ericsson, among others. He can be spotted in television movies such as Geraldine Winters’s Bongo: Killer Clown and Shane Van Dyke’s BattleDogs. More recently, Prasad has completed roles in films that have played in theaters throughout San Francisco and L.A., such as Three Tutus and a Gun and Smile Again, Jenny Lee. He not only acted in but is the Associate Producer of the feature film Buddy Solitaire.
To keep himself and his skills sharp, Puneet still participates in live performances, from ballet shows to Improv and theater, including performances in The Rabbit Hole at The Benicia Old Town Theater, at the Showtime Theater during Great America’s Halloween Haunt, and at The San Francisco Youth Theater, where he is performing in Gary Soto’s musical In and Out of Shadows. And even though Puneet Prasad has made a name for himself as a film and television actor, it appears he refuses to stop expanding his talents further. Whether it be vocal classes, stunt and weapons training, or multiple forms of dance (such as Cecchetti ballet, hip hop, contemporary, and tap), Prasad doesn’t seem to have any plans to slow down when it comes to further his craft and learning new ones.
Off the screen and stage, Puneet gives back to the city responsible for much of his success. He is currently involved with a number of San Francisco public schools to share his experiences as an actor, in order to encourage kids to stay in school and to teach them how they can pursue and perfect their talents. For kids between the ages 7-18 who are more serious about pursuing acting, Puneet teaches acting workshops on subjects like audition techniques, scene study, and warm up routines for long form improv.