Prasoon Joshi : Gem of Uttaranchal
Born to win, highly energetic, intelligent, and down to earth, an MBA by qualification, poet at heart, advertisement creative head by profession and the only Indian who has to his credit the Golden Lion Award at Cannes. He gets the maximum consumer appeal, because he has a very unique way of presentation and is very different from all others. Working with the world top Ad agency. Mccann Erickson, he is not only the backbone of the International Advertisement Industry but also the Indian film Industry where he is acknowledged as a great lyricist.
He is the man who has several Advertisements to his credit a few among which are: Chloromint, Asian Paints, Cadbury, NDTV India, Pulse Polio Program, Vacao Scooty, Close up, Ponds etc. He has won more then 200 advertising awards, His most widely known campaign is “Thanda Matlab Coca Cola” which took him to horizon where few have reached and got the Prestigious Golden Lion Award for the same. By now it is evident whom we are talking about. Of course one and the only one International Advertisement Guru - A Pahari boy from Uttaranchal, Prasoon Joshi. Let us share some moment from his busy life, and ask him how he got all the way from Almora (Uttaranchal) to the Creative Director of 11 countries with Mccann Erickson as well as how he made a milestone in the new wave of copywriters.
Some of his best lyrics are
Ladkiya kyon ladkon see nahin hoti.
Rok sako to rok lo.
Aab ke sawan aise barse by Shuba Mudgal.
Duba duba rehata hun by Silk Route.
Recently He has received the Screen award (2004) for best lyrics from the film Hum Tum. (sason ko sanson se)
Q Tell me something about your childhood?
A I was born in Almora. In my childhood I spent the maximum time at Narendra Nagar Tehri and Gopeshwar Chamoli. I still remember my childhood days, walking long distances into the forest with my friends just to eat `Kaffal'. It is the tastiest fruit I have ever had. I also used to pluck `Bureesh' flowers. Many such memories are attached to these places that I can never forget all my life.
Q What did you dream of becoming in your childhood?
A 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. Filmi 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 and it 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.
Q Did you have to struggle and have you ever felt that you have chosen a wrong path and wanted to return back?
A “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 , if you think even once that you might get burnt, then you will never succeed as you have started protecting yourself from the fire, hence never think negative. During my post 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 has 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 ones life. God actually tests you. Every one has go through this struggle not only once but every time whenever he wants to accomplish something. One shouldn't be complacent in life else life has no meaning at all, the meaning of life is to keep going on.
Q Belonging to a middle class family where higher education is not quiet possible for everyone, but 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?
A During my struggle period it was quite different, lot of 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.
Q 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?
A 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 the heart your work will definitely be appreciated always.
Q How do you get inspired? I mean is there any person or any event associated from which you draw your inspiration?
A 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.
Q What is the difference between other people in the same field and you?
A 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.
Q “Ladki Kyon Nazane Kyon Ladkon See Nahin Hoti…” where did you get the inspiration for this song?
A I was inspired from people in my office, I use to observe my friends and I learnt all this from them.
Q 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?
A 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 seen 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.
Q Do you have any Godfather?
A 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.
Q. Do you like to sing?
A I can sing better than most play back singers but it's a matter of time, which I really don't have.
Q What are your ideas about perfection and happiness?
A I think imperfection is the beauty of life. Perfection is the end.
Q Do you believe in Astrology?
A I believe in everything in this world whether it is my faith in God or existence of Supernatural powers.
Q What is your greatest regret?
A My greatest regret is that I have not done enough for the society around me especially for women.
Q Did you feel at anytime that “Thanda Matlab Coca Cola” would be
A I had 11 years of experience with me so I knew I was on the right track.
Q Is this true “Bedu Pako Baro Masa” a uttaranchali 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?
A Yes! I have used this song for this advertisement and I feel I have not done anything wrong. All Uttaranchali'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'.
Q What you like the most about Uttranchal?
A I like everything about Uttranchal, its people, and its culture. I simply love it and it is home for me.
Q If you could change one thing in you what would it be?
A I don't want to change myself.
Q What is your favorite dish?
A Churkani, Batt Ki Dal, Chesu, and of course Balmithai.
Q Who are the other members of your family?
A My wife, my parents who live in Lucknow and my two sisters with their families, who live in Delhi.
Q What is your future plans?
A My future plan is to do better than what I have done until now.
Q Is there any childhood friend who is not in touch with you right now and whom you would like to meet?
A 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.
Q How do you feel when people ask you about the fact that you belong to Uttaranchal?
A I feel very proud because Uttaranchal has contributed a great deal in the development of the country. The maximum people in the Indian army are from Uttaranchal. Secondly, women from Uttaranchal are very hard working and I appreciate them very much.
Personal details -Age35 Date of birth-16th September.
Interviewed by Rajneesh Agnihotri
In co-operation with Namita Padhye, Devender singh Rawat
and Jasbir S Rawat - CEO Midas Infomedia Pvt Ltd.
Send your feedback to Prasoon Joshi or write to him at
Sincerely thankful to Raju Gusain from- Hindustantimes/Dehradun