Direct Dil Se with Prasoon Joshi - Part 1
He's a songwriter, a scriptwriter and a dialogue writer. Oh, that's not all. He's also a CEO of an Ad agency. We're taking about the multi-faceted Prasoon Joshi, who's celebrating his birthday today. In this heart-to-heart three part conversation, he talks about his life, work, why creativity is a bane, why he believes that planning makes one arrogant and much more. Read on. This interview can change the way you look at life...
'Birthdays are mostly personal'
My best birthday is when I forget it. On the contrary one should work more. We, actually, came from a family that we never made a big deal out of birthdays. We just used to wish each other or sometimes even forget. Since I got married, my wife was very particular about birthdays. Now my daughter is very particular about it. So even if I don't want anything special, they would definitely plan a surprise and you have to play along. But for me birthdays are mostly personal. I don't party. Rather I spend it with close family friends and seek the blessings of my parents. That's what I look for.
I have never ever cancelled my work because of my birthday. I can do it for my anniversary because there's someone else involved. For my birthday at least I have the decision sometimes. Why should I change my working plan? What is wrong in working that day? But at the same time, people around you want to celebrate it.
Work while you work, play while you play!
I'm as much fun as work. But I'm like 'work while you work, play while you play' kind of a person. When I am playing I really play hard as well. But fortunately, the work I do in life hardly seems like work. People have been paying me for having fun. I hope my company is not listening (Smiles). I used to think of these crazy ideas and crazy stories and write songs. If I was not writing a BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG, I'd be writing something for myself. If I wouldn't be writing a song like Chaand sifarish, I'd be writing something for myself rather than writing for a film. I think I am lucky to be in a profession which is my passion as well.
Writing comes very naturally to me. Since childhood I've been writing. Even as a child, I used to write short stories. I don't know how many people know, those days we used to have a very tedious process. You had to cut stencils and put type faces. It was a manual machine and we used to take copies of that. So I used to write poetry and short stories, cut a stencil for it and I used to go to my father's office and used to takes copies of that and used to distribute it amongst my friends. They used to all look forward to my writing those days. I had this great desire to share what I write with people.
I was born in Uttarakhand in the mountains. I've been very lucky that I was born in the mountains because mountains teach you a lot. First of all they teach you to be very humble. You have a huge mountain in front of you, so you never feel arrogant. And it toughens you. One good thing about nature is that it never manipulates. A river will always stay a river. A mountain will always stay a mountain. But if you're brought up in a big town, you're brought up amidst people and people manipulate. But nature will never do that and will teach you to trust. I'm not into adventure sports. I can never fight with nature. I like writing on nature. I like to sit with nature. My childhood has taught me to be one with nature. And I think the reason I started writing was because I was influenced by nature. Also the atmosphere I grew in. I was lucky that my parents never pressurized me. Of course, they wanted me to do well. All parents want their children to do well. But they never put that undue pressure on me. I didn't forget what I wanted to do. Rest falls into place. You have to work hard for everything. Nothing comes easy. But while you're working hard, is your heart there or not? That makes the difference. If your heart is there, your efforts double.
'You are a sum total of what influences you'
My upbringing is hugely responsible for what I am today. You are a sum total of what influences you. You're not yourself. You're a little bit of your father, you're a little bit of your mother, you're a little bit of your brother, you're a little bit of your friends, you're a little bit of your teachers, you're a little bit of every film you watched, you're a little bit of every book you read. I think you're the sum total of the influences you had on yourself. It will be incorrect for me to say that I am just myself. You are yourself but what makes you yourself? You are just a blank sheet when you come into this world. Slowly and gradually you start getting influenced. The thread that you are made of is connected to a lot of people. The threads have a lot of colours and you must thank those colours.
Getting first book published at the tender age of 17
Today's world is very connected. Internet has connected us all. Even the media has connected us. So when I used to write in small mountains, I wouldn't come to know whether I was on the right track or not. Until I didn't publish something and got feedback from people, it was very difficult. It was a boon that my book got published when I was 17. I got feedback from a lot of people. You get to know whether your work has been understood by people, only when it has been published. I started shaping my thinking after my book was published. It was immensely important.
4Ps that led to Advertising career
I had started writing from a very young age. Then I did my MBA. While I was doing my MBA, I was always very keen to look for a profession where I'd be able to combine my interest and my education. At that point we used to read Philip Kotler's book which had the topic of '4 Ps of Marketing'. In that one P was promotion. While studying that I thought it required creativity and ideas. I thought a person like me would be required in promotions. I decided that I'll do my summer training in an advertising firm. So I started looking out. There used to be this firm called Trikaya Grey. Now it's called Grey. All established people used to work in that firm. Since it was known to be the most creative agency at that time, I thought I should try working there. So I went there as a management trainee and found out that there's a match between the kind of person I am and the kind of profession it is. That's how it started. Then I joined Ogilvy. So you have to try and also figure out your interest. And it's absolutely all right to be confused. Confusion leads to clarity. So don't get scared by confusion. Confusion is very important for life. If you're not confused, you won't reach anywhere. No one is born as a writer. So your exposure and your influences make you decide what you'll like to do in life. It's important to figure out what you want to do on your own. It might be a tough phase, but it's very important.
Direct Dil Se with Prasoon Joshi - Part 2
Direct Dil Se with Prasoon Joshi - Part 3