‘I have tried not to shy away from challenges’
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,