Direct Dil Se with Prasoon Joshi - Part 2
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 Part 2 (Read Part 1 here) 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...
Embarking film career
I wrote some songs as a songwriter for a few albums. I was in Delhi those days. We had a band called Silk Route. I wrote an entire album named 'Pehchaan' for them. I also did one more album. There used to be one more artist, who was very senior. Shubha Mudgal. She was working on an album called 'Ab Ke Saawan' and she approached me. Even today that song is played in the rainy season. Then I also did 'Mann Ke Manjire'. So some people from the film industry got to know about me and they started contacting me. At that time, I used to write books but I hadn't thought about films. I thought film is a good medium to reach out to people. So I started writing. A few of my songs started becoming popular and my work increased. And that's how it all started. Your path is not only yours. There is some sort of intervention which happens. And I'm very receptive. I feel a person should never close his doors. If your doors are closed, no opportunities would come your way. You should not have a negative frame of mind before trying anything. It's only when you give it a shot, you will realize in the process whether you are temperamentally designed for that particular thing or not. You will realize whether you are enjoying that particular thing or not. And on top of it people are going to accept you or not or people are going to like your work or not. If people start resonating your thoughts and your work, it's a great joy. I'm thankful to films that they gave me the opportunity. Through films, my work reached out to people. When people start liking your work, you feel you should write more. So it becomes a process.
My first song was for Rajkumar Santoshi's LAJJA. I wrote the film's title song. The song was composed by Ilaiyaraaja and sung by Lataji. It came to me because someone made Rajkumar Santoshi listen to my song, Mann ke Manjire which was on women's liberation. He liked it and gave me the opportunity to write the song.
Balancing Advertising and Films
It's very difficult. But if there's honesty in you, and if you are doing the thing that God has chosen you for, then you won't get tired. If you choose something which you're not and if doing it just to please society, then you won't be able to do it. So you do your swadharm (duty). The Sun doesn't shine to show off. He has no other choice. One that thing is beautiful which reflects the inner self of a person. Do things where I reflect my thinking, my energies and that's the reason my work is very therapeutic for me. It is not work for me.
Staying grounded despite numerous awards and accolades
First of all you should never think that you've achieved anything in life. If you are doing something which has no relevance to society, then you won't get any awards. But it doesn't mean that you're not working hard. Even a peasant works hard. If your relevance is more in society, then don't think that you're successful. It's just a coincidence that what you are doing has more value. Is it that I feel different after writing a hit film like BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG? I don't feel there's any difference. I'll keep on doing whatever I have been doing. So never feel that you're successful, find happiness, success is a byproduct. Don't worry too much about it. When you're about to sleep in the night, you should think about whether you've done justice to yourself or not. Only that is under your control. Success is a sansaric uplabdhi (worldly thing) and you may or may not get it. If you judge yourself on the basis of success, then there's a possibility that you'll be disappointed. But if you judge yourself on the basis of whether you are doing what you like or not or whether you are doing the right thing, then you will be happy. So I only think whether I've done justice to my work and whether I've done something nice. I don't think beyond that. So I keep myself motivated by doing my karma and enjoying what I do. If I don't enjoy something that I'm doing, nobody else will enjoy. If I'm not happy, how will I make other people happy?
'I'm very harsh with myself'
I have very tough standards (for myself). The biggest problem with me is that I'm very harsh with myself. Whatever work I do, be it an ad or a song or a script, I don't show my work to people unless I'm satisfied with it. So generally that causes a lot of problems. There are some things I write for myself and don't show it to anyone. But in the commercial world, there are some expectations and you've meet those expectations. For that, you have to calibrate. That filter is very important.
'Creativity is a curse'
Creativity is a curse. Sensitivity comes with creativity. Creativity causes you pain. When you see injustice, you feel like doing something. Whenever there's an issue like a terror attack, it affects me. I don't get sleep. So this happens to creative people. It affects their health. They don't have that 'Mujhe kya farak padta hai?' attitude. They feel saddened with the pains of others. They become sadder than they should be. That's why I feel it's a curse. It's good for the world, but everything that creative people go through, it's not easy. I was reading somewhere that writing is a process of staring at a blank paper and keep staring till the drop of blood appears on your forehead. So it's not that easy.
From song writing to script writing
I've been flirting with scriptwriting. I wrote the dialogues of RANG DE BASANTI. That's when I started scriptwriting. Then the project of Milkha Singh came my way. It took me two and a half years to write BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG. I liked it because it involved understanding the person's life and writing something. When I was writing, I didn't know who would produce it and how would it come along. I was just enjoying writing it. I started on a journey which I was enjoying. As I told you I do things I like and enjoy. Also, learning is very important. In the writing process, you learn many new things. I didn't think about sports so seriously (before BHAAG MILKHA BHAAG). So I thought let me think about sports and athletics. So I started reading about the partition. I had to think about the scenes. Some things I knew and some I didn't. I thought of some scenes which were fictional but seeded in reality. So you had to write a whole thing in front of you and create a canvas. I enjoyed it and it was a learning process without knowing what will happen. See if you keep thinking what will happen, it's not worth it. What you have to think of is, is this process engaging enough for you and is it letting you learn something new. In the process of writing BHAAG MILKA BHAAG, I learnt a lot of things which I'd never thought about. So I think it's been quite an enriching experience in that sense.
'Human relationships inspire me'
Human relationships inspire me. I feel human relationships are very important. They are an important part of my learning and my poetry and my writing. Whether it's the relationship between a man and a woman or between a brother and sister, they are important. I wrote a lot about brother and sister relationship in BHAAG MIKLHA BHAAG. Milkha Singhji had a brother also, who was a very important part of his life. But I did not write about his brother. I felt I'm more in love with the sister's character because I'm also close to my sisters. Also, I often write about relationship with the almighty.
Direct Dil Se with Prasoon Joshi - Part 1
Direct Dil Se with Prasoon Joshi - Part 3