A master craftsman with dialogue and lyrics, ad man Prasoon Joshi talks about the state of cinema and music
LYRICIST and writer Prasoon Joshi is a busy man these days. In between board meetings, as the CEO of McCann Worldgroup India, and attending spiritual leader Jaggi Vasudev’s daughter’s wedding, Joshi also takes out time to pen songs. While his Meri Maa from Taare Zameen Par moved us to tears, his Maston ka Jhund from Bhaag Milkha Bhaag coaxed us into impromptu jigs. The lyricist says he takes inspiration from human relationships. “I get this urge to connect with people. I enjoy writing about relationships and I like going beyond the normal situations, sometimes, even negative. When I was writing for Taare… I would sit and play with my daughter for hours and observe how she reacts to everything I say,” he says.
Continuing to write jingles for some big brands like Coke, MasterCard and General Motors, this ad guru tells us that the biggest challenge while writing is being truthful to oneself. “My first book came out when I was 17 and to reinvent oneself and to write something new each time is difficult. You should not fall prey to laziness,” shares Joshi who goes on long walks or listens to classical music before he begins writing his songs. “After sitting in board meetings the whole day, dealing with numbers and presentations, signing important papers, it is very difficult for me to come home and pen a poem. I have to switch gears and this can happen only if I spend time with myself. Music is my meditation and since I was born and brought up in a classical music family, I prefer listening to classical songs,” he adds.
As for his upcoming movies, Joshi has penned songs for Margarita, with a Straw and Vishwaroopam 2. Having achieved critical acclaim for his first screenplay, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, the writer is also working on other scripts but says it is too early to divulge any information. Having collaborated with music directors like Shankar Ehsan Loy and A R Rahman, the 42-year-old says, “I would like to collaborate with Shekhar Kapoor next.” Ask him about the music produced in Bollywood and he says, “Every era has some work that you cannot be proud of. Some of the songs disappoint me but you cannot do much,” he points out. A fan of realistic writing, Joshi shares the one that touched him the most, For A Driving License by Michael Ondaatje —“Two birds loved/ In a flurry of red feathers/Like a burst cottonball/Continuing while I drove over them/ I am a good driver, nothing shocks me.” He concludes saying,‘‘Such is life.’’