IFFI 2018: Armchair Criticism is Easy, Nobody Wants to Dirty Their Hands, Says CBFC Chief Prasoon Joshi
At an elaborated session, Joshi talked about his journey as a poet and a lyricist over the years, his process of collaborating with music directors and how he developed award-winning tracks like Rang De Basanti and Taare Zameen Par.
“I think the best song is where you cannot make out what would have come first– the tune or the lyrics. I got up one morning and I wrote Rang De Basanti. I thought what if I write a recipe to make colour Basanti and I started writing my poetry— Thodi si dhul meri dharti ki mere watan ki, Thodi si khushbu baurai si, Mast pawan ki…, just like we prepare a dish with several ingredients. I wrote this and sent a text to AR Rahman and in just few hours I got to know that he had composed it. This was the one process. For Taare Zameen Par, it was a different process because Shankar Mahadevan had already started composing the music,” opined Joshi.
When asked if he is ever tempted to compose and sing his own songs, Joshi said, “I think our country has compartmentalised always. In the beginning as a child I always composed what I wrote and sang it but when I came to the industry I realised that there’s a distinction and a very clear distinction that people who write don’t sing. There were only a few music directors who would sing themselves. But having said that, we have many singer-songwriters in our industry. Also, I feel we are a very serious country when it comes to music and poetry. In our film industry, it’s one faculty and one discipline that you can proudly say is of world class is our music and lyrics.”
Citing names of two of the most popular names in the Indian literature– Sahir Ludhianvi and Kaifi Azmi, Joshi said, “In how many countries you’ll find hard core literature writers writing songs also. So, we have been fortunate that these people also experimented and wrote film lyrics.”
Joshi further said one cannot write a poem until and unless one isn’t completely involved and honest about the subject. “Desh mein deshbhakti ki kavita nikle uske liye uss tarha ka maahol hona zaroori hai. I believe that national unity can bring about any change in the country. Armchair criticism is very easy but if you really want to change the country you will have to take initiative. But the fact is that nobody wants to dirty their hands. It’s time that we tell those who only believe in armchair criticism to come forward and do something. These people just want everything to be served on their plates. And I believe when we’ll have such atmosphere it will definitely reflect in our poems. Though I don’t think that sab kuch kharab ho gaya hai. I believe that today’s youth perhaps don’t deep dive but they have sufficient knowledge about the ongoing issues and their country.”
“The one of the most important challenges in front of our country is that we have a certain kind of disparity in our nation. We have become extremely insensitive. Today, those who lead a better lifestyle have become insensitive towards people who can’t afford it. So it has become extremely challenging for us to teach our kids how to share and to not equate everything with money,” he added.