Zameen Par (TZP) making waves in so many ways, now seems a good time to chat with Prasoon Joshi, the adman who's written the hugely successful songs of the film. Joshi claims he drew inspiration for the songs from his two and a half year old daughter.
"I was associated with the movie right from day one. I was part of all the brainstorming sessions while scripting the movie. Songs are such an integral part of the movie, in fact the songs are like the script, carrying the movie forward, only, they can be hummed," says Joshi.
Not that TZP is his first successful movie, but it is the one closest to his heart because it is about children. "I am really close to my daughter and love watching all that she does. There was no bigger satisfaction than to give words to children's feelings. Children have a world of their own in their heart, which they don't share with just anyone. One can only observe them to understand what's cooking in their little heads. I don't remember much about my childhood, so when I was to write about a child's inner self, I looked at my daughter," says Joshi.
Prasoon Joshi is best known for adding life to brands. But then, he is also known for adding life to films. In advertising for more than two decades and writing poetry since the age of 17, Joshi says he finds the two jobs pretty similar. "I get similar satisfaction from the two jobs. In fact, advertising is a job for me as it consumes most of my time. I still spend almost 90 per cent of my working day in office, while the rest goes to writing songs or poetry," he says.
Joshi wrote his first book of poetry at the age of 17, but Bollywood happened to him much later when he wrote lyrics for Lajja (2001). "My first song was sung by none other than Lataji for Lajja and it was composed by Ilaiyaraaja," he says. Before that, in 1998, Joshi wrote the song, Boondein, for Hindi pop band Silk Route; the song was an instant chartbuster. He later worked with Shubha Mudgal for a music album on women's empowerment, called Man ke Manjeere.
Joshi is very candid about his special relationship with actor-director-producer Aamir Khan, with whom he worked on a series of advertisements for Coca-Cola some years ago. "It is not a coincidence that I have worked the most with Aamir Khan. The fact that my best work is with him testifies to the fact that I enjoy working with him." Joshi and Khan have worked together in Fanaa and Rang De Basanti and are currently working on Gajini, Khan's next film. "There have been director-lyricist pairs in the past - Raj Kapoor always worked with Shailendra. Similarly, Aamir and I are proving to be a successful combo right from the Coke campaigns," he says.
Talking about his writing, Joshi says he's a very systematic writer as he writes and re-writes his poems till he gets them perfect, much like copy for an advertisement. "Poetry need not necessarily follow random thoughts as, nowadays, songs have to be woven into the script. Like advertising, we have a message to communicate - it's just that in songs, we can do it in five minutes, unlike advertisements, where we get only 20 seconds."
The 38 year old adman and lyricist isn't yet satisfied with what he has achieved as he is now turning screenplay writer and dialogue writer with Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's Dilli 6. Prasoon Joshi really is a man in a hurry.