Exclusive Interview With Prasoon Joshi
Indian lyricist, screenwriter and advertising copywriter | Date of Brith: 16 thSep-1971
Interview By: Rajneesh Agnihotri | Editor: Mohan Surya | Posted on 08thFebruary 2010
A multi talented personality, Mr. Prasoon Joshi is an Indian lyricist, screenwriter and advertising copywriter. Mr. joshi was born in a well educated middle class family in Almora. His father D. K. Joshi, served as a PCS officer (civil service) and later became Additional Director-Education. Prasoon's mother was a lecturer in Political Science, and also worked for All India Radio for over three decades.
Prasoon is married to Aparna, also an advertising professional, and has a daughter Aishaanya.
He started his career with Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) Delhi where he worked for 10 years. He joined McCann-Erickson, in early 2002 and became Regional creative director, South and South East Asia in the year 2006. In December 2006 he was promoted as Executive Chairman for McCann Worldgroup India and Regional Creative Director Asia Pacific.
Tell something about your childhood?
I was born in Almora. In my childhood I spent the maximum time at Narendra Nagar, Tehri and Gopeshwar in Chamoli District. I still remember my childhood days, walking long distances into the forest with my friends just to eat 'Kaafal' (dark red coloured small berries which grows in shrubs). It is the tastiest fruit I have ever had. I also used to pluck 'Buraans' flowers. Many such memories are attached to these places that I can never forget all my life.
What did you dream of becoming in your childhood?
Had you asked me this question five years back, I could have told you what I wanted to become. But now it is different. Earlier I was a little confused in life, as my mother was a lecturer in Political Science and my father was an Assistant Deputy Director-Education, and besides this they were both great classical musicians. Film music was out of bounds at home. All my friends use to enjoy parties with film music. I was not allowed to attend them.
My dad always wanted me to become an IAS officer so accordingly I finished my B.Sc. and Post Graduation in Physics. After that I started preparing for the Civil Service Examination but my basic interest still was music and poetry.
I respect my parents very much and they never forced their decision on me. I think any person in this world who does not respect his parents will not be able to achieve the best in any field. Somehow, I had a feeling of insecurity towards my creativity earlier. After I finished my MBA from IMT Ghaziabad there was a turning point in my life and I decided I wanted to be in creative field though I was not getting the proper break, I needed.
Did you have to struggle and have you ever felt that you have chosen a wrong path and wanted to return back?
Behind every successful man there are lots of unsuccessful years.
If I tell you that there is a fireball and you have to pass through it and if you think even once that you might get burnt, then you will never succeed as you have started protecting yourself from the fire. During my struggle period I was staying at Ghaziabad. Every morning we used to travel by bus to Delhi and back to Ghaziabad in the night. After that I stayed in Defence Colony in New Delhi in a small room with six other friends. Since every person had his own problems this thought was always on back of my mind and I never used to reach my room early because once you come to the room you cannot think anything else. That is the reason I use to spend more time in the office.
After this I shifted to Model Town in New Delhi along with one of my great friend 'ZAP' who is presently in Mumbai and into making films. All of a sudden one day the landlord told us to vacate the place, we didn't know what to do and where to go, but still the passion in me was always there inspite of problems. I liked listening to classical music and I used to go to such shows at FICCI and Kamani Auditorium late at night. As late night entry was not allowed in rented houses, I slept many nights on the benches at ISBT Kashmiri gate (Delhi).
Struggle is the most important phase in one's life. God actually tests you. Every one has to go through this struggle not once but every time whenever he/she wants to accomplish something. One shouldn't be complacent in life else life has no meaning at all; the meaning of life is to strive on.
Belonging to a middle class family where higher education is not quiet possible for everyone and today being a Creative Director in MaCann Erickson you are handling Advertisements creativity of 11 countries on a National and International level, how do you feel about it?
During my struggle period it was quite different. Many people were not keeping good attitude towards middle class in Ad agency, the way we dressed the way we spoke etc. But still I always felt that my background was not my weakness but my "strength".
After finishing my MBA I too could have got into some good organization, but I was firm and clear about my future. I was not just dreaming about being a creative person but always thinking about how I was going to achieve my dream. The passion in me was always there because "I love creativity".
God keeps testing you in your struggle period about whatever you want to do, whether you really want to do it or are you just dreaming about it.
Whatever you do people appreciate it. Whatever you write is known to everyone, people adopt it and like it too. How do you feel about it?
It is good to know that people appreciate my work. See whenever I design an advertisement it is not only the client that matters to me the most, but the consumer also for whom the advertisement is meant. I see myself as a consumer too; I do what a common man thinks and visualize the way he does it. If you write anything from your heart then your work will definitely be appreciated always.
How do you get inspired? I mean is there any person or any event associated from which you draw your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from the people I meet, it could be anyone. For my album 'Man Ke Manjire' I got inspired from a woman who cuts grass in the mountains. It is the same woman who uses a rod (blower) to light her flame for preparing meals. I get inspired from a farmer sitting in the bus. I mean to say I can draw my inspiration from anyone.
What is the difference between other people in the same field and you?
There is always a difference of opinion between two persons, no two people think alike; it is there in every field so I don't even think of such things at all.
Ladki Kyon Nazane Kyon Ladkon See Nahin Hoti.... where did you get the inspiration for this song?
I was inspired from people in my office, I use to observe my friends and I learnt all this from them.
What is the role of girls in your life? This song "Ladki Kyon Nazane Kyon Ladkon See Nahin Hoti...." it seems that you must have been a flirt in your college days?
Girls were always my good friends and nothing more than that. To know girls you need not have physical relations with them but you should understand their emotions, the way they feel about things. Whatever we see is not always true, so just observe them. In my life I have been involved with only one girl and she is my wife. We have been married for nine years.
Do you have any Godfather?
In different phases of life I have met different personalities whom I respected, appreciated, got inspired from, and they became my role models. In my life I have learnt a lot from Suresh Malik, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, and Ustad Haphiz Ahmed Khan from whom I learnt classical music.
Do you like to sing?
I can sing better than most play back singers but it's a matter of time, which I really don't have.
What are your ideas about perfection and happiness?
I think imperfection is the beauty of life. Perfection is the end.
Do you believe in Astrology?
I believe in everything in this world whether it is my faith in God or existence of Supernatural powers.
What is your greatest regret?
My greatest regret is that I have not done enough for the society around me especially for women.
Did you feel at anytime that "Thanda Matlab Coca Cola" would be International Lingo?
I had 11 years of experience with me so I knew I was on the right track.
Is this true 'Bedu Pako Baro Masa' a Uttarakhandi song was used for the Coco Cola advertisement "Kanchi Thanda Matlab Coca Cola" in which Amir Khan has featured. What are your views on it?
Yes! I have used this song for this advertisement and I feel I have not done anything wrong. All Uttarakhandi's should be proud that the country's Oscar nominated actor danced to this tune. I taught Amir personally for about half an hour. In future also I shall experiment with such things.
Our culture is not widely known. If we have to promote our culture it will have to be commercialized. I have not used any vulgarity in the advertisement. The best and the finest tunes of Pahari music should be noticed and people should be made aware of them. I will always try my best to promote my culture in the right way else after seeing my advertisement what was the reason behind people making mobile ring tones of 'Bedu Pako Baro Masa'.
What you like the most about Uttarakhand?
I like everything about Uttarakhand, its people, and its culture. I simply love it and it is home for me.
If you could change one thing in you what would it be?
I don't want to change myself.
What is your favorite dish?
Churkani, Batt Ki Dal, Chesu, and of course Balmithai.
Who are the other members of your family?
My wife, my parents who live in Lucknow and my two sisters with their families, who live in Delhi.
What are your future plans?
My future plan is to do better than what I have done until now.
Is there any childhood friend who is not in touch with you right now and whom you would like to meet?
Yes, many years ago, when I was at Narender Nagar in Tehri Garhwal I was very friendly with a boy called Gabar Singh. He stayed close by and we were good friends. The day we shifted from there, I still remember, I was sitting in the back seat of the jeep on which we were leaving. It was early in the morning and Gabar Singh was filling water with his mother. When he saw me he started waving his hand saying good-bye to me till I disappeared from his sight. I would like to meet him.
How do you feel when people ask you about the fact that you belong to Uttarakhand?
I feel very proud because Uttarakhand has contributed a great deal in the development of the country. The maximum people in the Indian army are from Uttarakhand. Secondly, women from Uttarakhand are very hard working and I appreciate them very much.
Break Ke Baad, Sikandar, London Dreams, Delhi 6, Ghajini, Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, Taare Zameen Par, Fanaa, Rang De Basanti, Black, Rok Sako To rok Lo, Phir Milenge, Hum Tum, Aankhen, Lajja, Jab We Met
Private albums done
Mann ke Manjeere (Shubha Mudgal), Ab ke Saawan for Shubha Mudgal, Dooba Dooba Rehta Hoon for Silk Route.
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