Prasoon Joshi: I have to balance between societal responsibility and creative sensibility- Exclusive! | Hindi Movie News


Eminent lyricist, celebrated writer, ad world guru and the current Chairperson of the Censor Board of India. Prasoon Joshi has a strategic and respected position between the film industry and its administration. ETimes caught up with him a few days after IFFI 52 concluded in Goa to get his perspective on the new initiatives that the government of India backed at the film festival. He also spoke about the complex world of film certification and its varied interpretation by the film fraternity. Excerpts from an engrossing conversation:

You were recently part of a jury that selected 75 young Indians as part of the 75 gen-next creative minds at IFFI 52 in Goa. What was the thought behind this initiative?

This country has gone through a lot. We need to inspire people. Bachche ko sirf faults hee batate rahoge toh woh murjha jaayega (If we only show the faults to a child he’ll end up losing the spark). Our country is like that. Our society is like that. We don’t become each other’s strengths, we don’t share good stories. It is needed to tell what wasn’t achieved over the years, but at the same time, it’s equally important to tell what was achieved, too.

What is the future plan for these chosen 75 kids? How will the exposure that they received in Goa help them reach their future destinations?
This is not a destination. This is to boost their confidence. To make sure that there’s a certain self-belief in them. Whenever they think that some eminent people have chosen them responsibly, they will definitely get self-confidence. And the exposure which they will acquire will give them direction. This is an exercise to give them a direction not the destination.

What support will they get from the establishment?

You know how our industry is. It’s an independent industry. It’s not that the government makes films. But the government has taken a very important step to recognize these people and give them a platform for exposure. Now, the profession that they’re in is mostly independent. They’ll definitely have to find a way to reach to the studios and production houses. But this will give them knowledge. Gyaan se raaste khulte hain. Gyaan se aapko prakash milta hai (Knowledge helps open doors. Knowledge helps enlighten a person). A person who has knowledge is well-versed to deal with the world.

Will this recognition translate into success stories for these young creative minds?
This exercise is for spotting talent. This is not the recognition of their work. This is the recognition of their potential. Let’s not misunderstand. I&B Minister Anurag Singh Thakur ji has done a good thing here in making sure that these people are treated well. The only thing I want to request through media is that this exercise continues every year. That’s my request to the government and all the organizers.

How responsible do you feel about this initiative?

I feel excited. Because, I come from a small town. I am a son of teachers. I did not have any exposure about films or advertising in my family. So, I know how much it would have helped me with my struggle if I had found an exposure like this. So, I understand its importance a lot. Had I got an exposure like this, my career path would have been pacier. The time devoted to figuring out things would have reduced. And I would have had more body of work than what I’ve managed.

How do you balance the bridge between the film industry and the CBFC?

It’s a tight rope to walk on. Because, you can’t keep everyone happy. There’s a societal responsibility on one hand and creative sensibility on the other. As I said on the stage that it can be only handled through an approach of dialogue. The most important thing for a filmmaker or a creative person is to have that relationship with their audience. The audience should have that faith and trust. It is important to understand that we need to balance it out. One can’t say I have expressed myself, rest I don’t know. It’s important to know that when you’re looking for a share of the wallet you have to respect the shareholders.

Do you think modern filmmakers are becoming irresponsible?
I won’t say that the filmmakers are irresponsible. It’s a collective process where you see the creative product is going into the society for the audience to consume it. So, it goes hand in hand where the filmmakers also want to say something but they also need to understand the changing mood of the society. Society is not a constant. You cannot give the logic that 4 years ago, society was like that but why can’t I say this today? Please understand that we’re living in throbbing reality, which is constantly evolving. Whether you like or not things will keep changing.

From all the experience you’ve gained over the years, what do you think about about following question? Does life imitate art or does art imitate life?

It’s both ways. It’s not one way traffic. You can’t say that art will come and society will change. I think art takes from society and gives it also. Does society learn from films? Yes. Does film learn from society? Yes. Both processes happen simultaneously. Let’s not think that films are independent of the society. When we say ‘society’, films are part of it. So, if you think that films are some third entity, NO.

Then why is cinema blamed for so many things that are wrong with society?

Blame nahin karte hain. Rishtey hote hain (No one blames. There are relationships). There’s a relationship with cinema, too. You ask your relatives or friends questions like, ‘Why did you say this to me?’, right? Society should be constantly having a dialogue, too. And that’s what they’re doing with cinema as well.

What about the draft for the new law, shared between the industry and the government?

It’s in discussion. Nothing has gone into law. It is, right now, out for public consideration and public opinion.



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