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Prasoon Joshi: following the heart

Lyricist Prasoon Joshi speaks to Roshmila Bhattacharya on the trials and triumphs of childhood and his inspiration behind the songs of Taare Zameen Par.

music Updated: Dec 19, 2007 12:19 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

Aamir Khan is known to be a hard-to-please perfectionist. How difficult was it working with him on

Taare Zameen Par


I'd heard that Aamir is an analytical actor who spends long hours agonising over small details. But he turned out to be just the opposite.. emotional and instinctive. I'd narrate something to him. If he liked it, it was like, "Wow, lets go with that!" Everyone talks about his mind but I'd like to talk about his heart that he follows.

Did the instructions change when the director changed.. from Amole Gupte to Aamir Khan?

Amole was always around.. it was his script. As for Aamir, when he gives the nod to a project, he's not just the actor or producer but a friend, philosopher and guide as well. He was completely involved with

Rang de Basanti


We'd heard that AR Rehman was to have composed the track earlier?

I have no idea. When I entered the picture it was Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy.

AR Rahman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy or Jatin-Lalit, which one of them would be your first choice composers?

They're all different people with their own distinctive styles. Rahman's more conceptual and spiritual in his approach. Jatin and Lalit will complete a song in one go. Shankar can create tunes at the drop of his hat.. one, two, three. It's magical!


The songs of


… may sound simple but writing them couldn't have been easy..

No, there were innumerable narrations and discussions. Once I stopped using my mind and listened to my heart, the going was easier. My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Ishana, was an inspiration.

Watching her play, getting up to mischief, helped me string together similes and metaphors. (Laughs) My wife insists I'm a


too. I hope that's true because once that child disappears the words sound pretentious.

You grew up in a small town in Uttaranchal that must have been very different from Mumbai?

Yeah, I had more friends and freedom. There was no TV then and I spent a lot of time climbing trees and playing cricket with my sisters. I could be alone for hours together too.. dreaming, talking to myself and writing stories.

We've heard that when Karan Johar heard Maa he was tears?

Yes, even my mother was very moved. I was always mama's boy and shared all my joys and fears with her. Once, when my cousins were blackmailing me for using the word


, I went to her crying and confessed. After that every time they threatened to tell on me, I'd say, "Go, right now." (Laughs) They must have wondered at this sudden show of bravado.


You sound like you were a good, little boy.

I was, mostly. Only once, I joined my classmates to spit into a tank in the school compound. When the principal heard of our prank, he ordered our faces to be blackened. I cried so much that the teachers later joked that one should learn how to repent from Prasoon.

You once admitted to being a Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay fan. Which one of his literary works would you want to adapt on screen?


..Most of his novels have already been adapted. Given a chance I'd like to make his biography. Its been beautifully translated in Hindi as

Aawara Masiha

and talks about Sarat


living in Sonargachi, a red-light area in Kolkata, in a room crowded with books, writing close to life. But for now I'm busy writing the songs for Kunal Kohli's next.

Isn't that a


Mary Poppins


Sorry, can't reveal anything.

Why aren't you doing more private albums?

They take time. And now they have no takers.

We've heard that you are a good singer and could easily give the playback for one of the songs you write..

Classical music runs in the family. But to take up singing you need to do regular


. No time for that. For now, I say I express all that I need to through my songs and dialogue.. and my ads.

Yes, your Alpenleibe commercial featuring Kajol and the crocodile is a hit with all the kids.

(Smiles) Yes, even Nysa loves it and Kajol's very influenced by her daughter. The brand was stagnating. They needed to create some


. The idea of the croc came in a flash and we created it out of a box.

Any new coke ads with Aamir Khan?

Let's keep that a surprise. For now there's Aamir and