An intelligent mind and a romantic heart are what describe noted lyricist-screenwriter Prasoon Joshi (right) best. After having won a National Film Award for Best Lyrics for Taare Zameen Par (TZP) in 2008, he’s won the honour again, this time for the 2012 flick, Chittagong.
However, the 41-year-old says he didn’t see it coming. “I was expecting for TZP as its songs were very popular. This time, it came as a surprise as no one’s really heard of Chittagong. It was such a big movement in history and nobody knew about it. Even the film came and went unnoticed. But I’m glad people will at least listen to its songs now. I’m not cynical about government awards like some people, so I do feel honoured,” he says.
Amidst celebrations of Indian cinema completing 100 years, Joshi talks about the evolution of songs and lyrics in movies, and feels the quality of songs has declined over the decades. “Songs are a reflection of our society. You see people quoting from songs like Sajan re jhooth mat bolo... (Teesri Kasam). This could be a philosophy preached in a religious discourse, but it’s part of our popular culture because songs kept it alive and contemporary. This has reduced over time, but, it can’t die. Also, I feel the entertainment part of the songs gets more attention, which is catchy but nonsense. What took a backseat is wisdom and thought process behind songs.”
When asked to describe his writing style, Joshi says, “I don’t write songs just for titillation or a moment of fun... Very few of today’s songs will survive the test of time. Films and songs are not perishable products like a burger. They should exist with you and live with you like books. I still find people singing Seekho na... which I wrote 14 years back, or Khoon chala (Rang Ke Basanti, 2006). Longevity is very important and such songs are very less in number today.”