‘I have tried not to shy away from chal­lenges’

Hindustan Times (Gurugram) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Nikita Deb ■ nikita.deb@htlive.com

Un­til last year, Prasoon Joshi was only re­garded as one of the many fine lyri­cists that Bol­ly­wood could boast of. But things changed in Au­gust 2017, when he was ap­pointed as the chief of the Cen­tral Bureau of Film Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion (CBFC). Although, he was pre­ceded by a rather in­fa­mous Pahlaj Ni­ha­lani, Joshi has more or less been less strin­gent when it came to cer­ti­fy­ing con­tent for the big screen. Joshi be­lieves that no art is made to cause harm but as the chief of CBFC, he deems it his re­spon­si­bil­ity to main­tain a fine bal­ance be­tween art and so­ci­ety, and ex­pres­sion and re­spon­si­bil­ity. As he turns 47 to­day, we catch up with him to talk about his birth­day plans and his ap­pre­hen­sions of tak­ing up the po­si­tion as the CBFC chief.

What are your birth­day plans this year?

The plan is to fin­ish my book. It is a col­lec­tion of thoughts and ob­ser­va­tions across our so­cial and cul­tural mi­lieu. I was to fin­ish work­ing on it some­time back but be­cause of a lot of work and travel, it got de­layed. What bet­ter day to fin­ish a pend­ing project than to­day?

Are you a birth­day per­son? Do birthdays ex­cite you?

I am not nec­es­sar­ily a birth­day per­son. I be­lieve in cel­e­brat­ing life’s mo­ments spon­ta­neously. Th­ese mo­ments build a nar­ra­tive and find rea­sons for friends and fam­i­lies to get to­gether and cre­ate spe­cial me­mories amid the ev­ery­day bat­tles of life.

As CBFC chair­man, your pre­de­ces­sor Pahlaj Nahlani set an ex­tremely in­fa­mous prece­dent. Were you con­scious about how your im­age and re­la­tion­ships with the peo­ple in the in­dus­try would be af­fected if you took up this po­si­tion?

Let me be clear on this, I took up this re­spon­si­bil­ity for no other rea­son but to pro­vide my ser­vices at a time when I felt there was a gen­uine need for it. I re­alised this in my in­ter­ac­tions with the film fra­ter­nity and other stake­hold­ers. I felt I would be like any other arm­chair critic if I didn’t ac­cept the re­spon­si­bil­ity of at­tempt­ing to set things on a dif­fer­ent course. The ‘bolne mein aage but kaam se bhaage’ type is not my cup of tea. Be­sides that, in my opin­ion, be­ing a critic has rel­e­vance but get­ting on and at­tempt­ing to set things on a bet­ter course is more con­struc­tive. I have taken on var­i­ous roles and have tried to not shy away from chal­lenges. Also, let’s not for­get that Sharmila Tagore, Vi­jay Anand, and Hr­ishikesh Mukher­jee, too, have held the same po­si­tion, and they added their di­men­sion to it. I am hope­ful that be­ing an artist, I am able to un­der­stand the nu­ances bet­ter. I know there is still a lot of work to be done, and we need to be on the same page.

I took up this re­spon­si­bil­ity for no other rea­son but to pro­vide my ser­vices at a time when I felt there was a gen­uine need for it. I re­alised this in my in­ter­ac­tions with the film fra­ter­nity and other stake­hold­ers.

PRASOON JOSHI LYRI­CIST,

CBFC CHIEF

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