[YS Lounge] Prasoon Joshi and the power of dreams

Prasoon Joshi

You will agree with me that Prasoon Joshi never ceases to surprise us with his creativity. The whole nation agreed with him on "Thanda matlab coca cola" and sang his tunes from Taare Zameen Par to Delhi 6. A creative journey which Prasoon embarked upon in 1988, at the age of 17, with the launch of his first book, continues to this date. The years have only added to his craft and the brilliance which is so intrinsic to him.

As someone who is responsible for making brands connect emotionally with people, Prasoon sure has built his own brand with as much care. While I was waiting for him, he entered the room wearing his trademark black shirt and at once put me at ease. It was clear that I had his full attention.

As we talked about his childhood, his inspiration and storytelling, he mentioned that there is always a part of the other person we take with us when we exchange thoughts and ideas. I came back carrying a whole lot as you will find out in the following interview.

Importance of being confused

Born to an educated middle class family in Almora (Uttarakhand), Prasoon was brought up with a high regard for moral values, mutual respect and humility. Though insecure about his own creativity in the early days, the sequence of events followed by an MBA pushed him towards a career in the creative field. Music and poetry had been his passion since childhood, much of which came from both his parents who are classical musicians.

Prasoon was confused about how to follow his passion for music and poetry while at the same time make a living. Thus he decided to take up a job in the creative field with Ogilvy & Mather and later with McCann Worldwide which helped in bridging this gap. Along the way he has delighted us with gems like the National Films Awards winning songs of Taare Zameen Par, to the recent biopic on sprinter Milkha Singh, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ for which he wrote the screenplay, and of course ad campaigns like the Cannes-winning ‘Thanda matlab Coca-Cola’.

Prasoon says he learnt that it is very important to be confused in life because it is an indicator of your state of mind just before clarity emerges.

Choosing the right path

According to Prasoon we all have to choose our own path. “People around you can help in sharpening your skills but you have to listen to your own calling. It should be your personal quest without any shortcuts. After that you can look for the right organization to pursue what you love.” He says everyone should follow ‘Swadharma’ which means to find the right place to manifest ourselves as energy. For him, his true calling was to be an effective communicator connecting people with new ideas and emotions.

A story teller at heart

The world might see Prasoon Joshi as a poet, script writer and an advertising copywriter but he considers himself as someone who loves story telling. It comes out as an ad campaign or a song or maybe even a movie. “I was the odd one in my class who would think a lot about things which had nothing to do with studies. I thought that the syllabus was functional and slowly my interest leaned towards music, creativity, meeting people and storytelling.”

Prasoon believes that coming from a small town has proved to be his strength rather than a disadvantage. Owing to first hand experiences of life’s realities he could understand people better and that helped him make the connection in his creations. He has always given importance to the journey without caring about designations and tags.

What inspires him?

Prasoon has no single role model because, as he says, every single meeting ends up inspiring him some way or the other. He seeks inspiration from Neil French and Suresh Malik for advertising, Aamir Khan for cinema, A R Rehman for music and ‘Sadhguru’ Jaggi Vasudev for rejuvenation of his soul.

“People find inspiration in different ways. A book is a compilation of thoughts which can motivate few. But you should consider yourself fortunate if you are able to spend time and share energies with people. Watching a live performance by Kumar Gandharva is a different experience than listening to his album.”

Goals and targets

Prasoon believes it is the journey and not the destination which is important. For him the process of ideating a thought and writing a song is important than the song itself. Applying the same principle in life, he chooses the engagements (with brands) which are immersive in nature. Prasoon says he is like a river. He believes in flowing (read ‘journey’). Goals and targets are secondary; it is the journey that counts. In fact, they (goals and targets) are manifestation of right intent where the intent has to be honest and immersive in nature.

Women behind Prasoon’s success

Prasoon cannot thank his grandmother, mother, wife and now his daughter enough in supporting and inspiring him. The unconditional love from his mother and grandmother have taught him acceptance. It is tough for him to understand how his wife Aparna puts up with his idiosyncrasies. Prasoon’s daughter Aishaanya helps him with her unbiased opinions on his ideas and work.

Dream on entrepreneurs

Prasoon Joshi believes in the power of dreams and encourages entrepreneurs to dream big. “It’s really important for an entrepreneur to understand why he or she is into the business in the first place. If your idea does not have social significance and relevance to human life, there are less chances of its survival. One should get into a business only if it is a dream which he/she wants to live.”

Click here to read the detailed interview of Prasoon Joshi on 'brand building'.

Image courtesy: mxmindia and offbeatworlds


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