The film industry has finally breathed a sigh with the departure of Pahlaj Nihalani as Chairman of the Censorship Board (also known as the Central Board of Film Certification).
The man, whose name had become synonymous with controversy thanks to his dictates, had become a thorn in the sides of the filmmakers. His replacement, however – publicist, poet and writer Prasoon Joshi – is not a surprising choice. (Let’s explain why in a moment.)
After graduating with a degree in management of IMT, Ghaziabad, Joshi joined the recognized advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. Success followed. When Aamir Khan became the ambassador for the Coca-Cola brand, the motto he uttered (“Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola”) was educated by Prasoon.
Only when it has firmly established itself in the advertising industry as Prasoon began to explore more poetry. The opportunity came in the form of Mahesh Mathai, who asked Prasoon to write something in the Bhopal tragedy for its 1999 launch, Bhopal Express.
What Prasoon proposed was a mixture of poetry and dialogue, emphasizing the horrors of the Union Carbide flight. The icing on the cake was Amitabh Bachchan reading his verses.
Prasoon’s “Gustakhiyan Hai” from Amitabh Bachchan’s 2002 version, Aankhen, became a winner, followed by Hum Tum, Yash Raj Films, which sealed his reputation as a lyricist. This is also the phase in which he consolidated his friendship with Bachchan and Aamir Khan.
In the following years Prasoon wrote Khan’s movie lyrics, including Taare Zameen Par (Joshi, who won a national award in 2008), Rang De Basanti, Fanaa and Ghajini.
Prasoon Joshi is not an unknown name in the Delhi Lutyen circles, either during the time of the UPA, or the NDA governments. During the UPA regime, Finance Minister P Chidambaram asked to conceptualize the government services tax campaign to reach the masses.
When Aamir Khan spoke of Atithi Devo Bhavo as part of the incredible Indian campaign, the whole subject was created by agency Erickson Prasoon McCann.
When the BJP has thought to give a new flavor to Lok Sabha’s electoral campaign in 2014 and to structure things Narendra Modi, the person addressed was Joshi (this was in addition to industry veterans Sam Balsara and Piyush Pandey).
While Piyush Pandey invented slogans ABKI Baar Modi Sarkar and Acche Din Aane Wale Hai was Prasoon Joshi who turned out to be dynamite throughout the BJP election campaign. The success of this campaign was a case study in several management courses.
It was during the same campaign that Prasoon wrote a hymn entitled “Saugandh”, which has been voiced by Narendra Modi. Modi even thanked Joshi in a tweet, March 25, 2014.
The Joshi BJP connection dates back to the days of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was one of his fans and loved the poetry of Prasoon. Prasoon’s poem titled “irade Naye Bharat Ka,” has even become one of Vajpayee’s speeches.
In the 2009 elections, when BJP expected Lal Krishna Advani to be his first ministerial candidate, Prasoon Joshi was also responsible for managing the entire campaign.