Creativity is a curse. This from a man who is the toast of Bollywood. Whose lyrics have had the nation in its thrall. If his soulful Maa in Tare Zameen Par moved L K Advani to tears, his magical Masakali in Delhi 6 sent the country’s Gen X into raptures.
Well, the magical verses of the inimitable and bespectacled Prasoon Joshi, adman, poet, lyricist, scriptwriter, are legion. Despite wearing several hats, Joshi, deeply rooted in Indian art, culture, poetry and literature, is modesty personified given the acclaim it has fetched him.
Joshi, who was in City at the Bangalore Literature Fesitval, given his association (as scriptwriter) of the phenomenal Bhaag Milkha Bhaag biopic with director Raykesh Mehra and actor Farhan Akthar, attributes his view that “creativity is a curse,” for the simple reason that “it makes you restless.”
According to the lyricist “it does not let you sit impervious to whatever is happening around us — be it crimes against women like the Delhi rape, or the natural calamity in Uttarakhand,” for, he says, “I cannot ignore what is happening around me in society and sit relaxed until I express myself. It’s the expression of thought, be it through poetry or songs. It has to be put into words.”
In an informal tete-a-tete with Deccan Hearld on the sidelines of the Bangalore Literature Festival, Joshi, further elucidates, “We don’t choose the ideas, the idea chooses us,” sharing his thumb rule for writing, be it a script or penning a lyric/song that touches the heart of the listeners.
“I should feel excited about the idea, the subject. It took me two and a half years to write the script for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, not once did I think of shelving it only because I was excited about the subject. Somewhere everyone of us identify with the struggle of Milkha Singh.” Discounting some of the English novels being as simply trash, Joshi, in his take on the current literature scenario, believes that people should be encouraged to read more Hindi literature and promote it in a big way.
In the same vein, Joshi, who was virtually besieged by young audience keen to gain more insights into his writing process, believes that youngsters, especially students, should be encouraged to do a lot of reading.
“In fact, festivals such as the Bangalore Literature Festival, go a long way in bringing our youth up, close and current to the literature that is in vogue today.”