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Noorings: When I think Prasoon Joshi…. ‘Shine on you, Crazy Diamond’

27-December-2010
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Noorings: When I think Prasoon Joshi…. ‘Shine on you, Crazy Diamond’

The first time I met Prasoon Joshi (seven years back), he was not already an award-winning lyricist or someone whose poetry (the one word I think describes Joshi’s writing the best) had made a strong mark across India. He was someone who had given us ‘Thanda Matlab Coca Cola’, amongst other such outstanding work, in the advertising domain. He headed McCann Erickson India and he was amongst the top three names that were taken in the same breadth when it came to reigning creative geniuses from India.

Of course he was a writer even then – Joshi is amongst those rare creative breeds that need more than just one way of expressing their creativity, and he clearly loved writing. Writing books, ads, songs, movies…

I recollect that in the first three times that I had met him, mostly at advertising events, I had to introduce myself all over again – he was very polite, he never asked who are you, but just very warmly, ‘hello, how are you?’. But I was briefed well – don’t assume he knows you just because he smiles at you. So I would ask him, do you remember me? And he would try, but couldn’t. And then one day, I told him ‘well if you took your name from the reverse and removed S, A and P, that would be my name’. I cannot be sure if that had irritated him then, he didn’t let it show even if it did - but the next time, he remembered my name.

And for me, that was WOW.

Now, many years later, when I speak to him, it is still WOW.

In the last seven years, Prasoon Joshi has worked towards making a place for himself not only in the Indian advertising industry, but even in the Indian film industry. His journey in song writing began with ‘Lajja’ and ‘Aankhen’, went on to the likes of ‘Hum Tum’ and ‘Black’. Then came ‘Rang de Basantii’ and ‘Fanaa’ and then after half a dozen more (that included ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘Ghajini’), the latest from him is ‘Break ke Baad’. Now I cannot say much about the movie itself – you don’t think with impact Person of the Year just around the corner, we have the time to watch movies!!! But the music – the music I absolutely love, especially ‘Adhoore Tum, Adhoore Hum’. If it is not playing on my system, it is playing in my head.

And of course, I was not listening to the song, thinking Prasoon Joshi wrote this or other such details – somehow I never think like that. Anyway, this time I had heard the song on radio, and it was still buzzing in my head. With that I got busy, filing a report for the next day, and re-reading comments from McCann Worldgroup’s global CEO Nicolas Brien, and suddenly his comment ‘Prasoon is a shining star’ triggered a whole train of thoughts.

Just a month back, McCann Worldgroup had created a Creative Leadership Council, where its top creative brains were pooled to monitor the creative product of the agency. And Joshi was appointed the Chairman of this Council. The post is a moving one, and Joshi became the first Chairman. For an agency that doesn’t believe in a Chief Creative Officer Worldwide, this is the senior-most creative position. From an India standpoint, this was a very important development because it puts Indian creativity right on top.

While Coca-Cola India itself is a savvy advertiser, with creative work that clicks, the latest from the company, ‘Coke in Shadow’, seems to have become a rage with colleagues in office. They even made me watch Helen’s performance in the song ‘Aaj ki Raat’ after watching the ad!!! Clearly, much that keeps Joshi busy.

Seven years earlier, we all knew he would be amongst those who would do well. But I wonder if anyone imagined it would be this well, and at two completely different levels of working. No wonder, Pink Floyd’s song ‘Shine on you, Crazy Diamond’ popped into my head when I was thinking Prasoon Joshi… 

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