Popular screenwriter and lyricist Prasoon Joshi was recently appointed as the new Central Board for Film Certification after Pahlaj Nihalani was sacked. Nihalani’s term as the CBFC chairman was embroiled with controversies regarding the demands for multiple cuts for films like ‘Udta Punjab’, ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ and recently ‘Indu Sarkar’.
The board had ordered 89 cuts and told producers to remove all references to Punjab, elections and political parties in the movie ‘Udta Punjab’, which was based on the state’s drug problem.
The new chief of CBFC, writer-poet and ad man Prasoon Joshi is a well-known name in Hindi film industry. He is famous for writing lyrics for films like Delhi 6, Fanaa, Rang De Basanti, Black, Ghajini and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
Many from the industry, including filmmaker Ashoke Pandit sighted the change as a silver lining for the film industry. In an interview, Pandit said that Prasoon Joshi’s appointment will make sure freedom of expression of filmmakers would be protected.
Parzania and Raees director Rahul Dholakia tweeted that” Delighted that @prasoonjoshi_ is the Chairperson of CBFC. Now let’s get Mr. Benegal on the table. long overdue.”
While Indu Sarkar director Madhur Bhandarkar opined that since Prasoon Joshi was from the advertising field, he will have a modern point of view, Shyam Benegal, who was the head of a panel instituted to make recommendations for changes in CBFC, also considered Joshi as an ‘excellent choice’.
Prasoon Joshi is also famous for spearheading political campaigns by major parties.
During the 2009 elections, Prasoon Joshi was given the charge for creating the campaign concept and he came up with ‘Majboot Neta, Nirnayak Sarkar’. Lal Krishna Advani was being projected as the NDA candidate in that election.
He was asked by P Chidambaram, the then finance minister of the UPA government, to conceptualise the Service Tax campaign. Later, he was also instrumental in the Achche Din Aane Wale Hai campaign by the BJP during 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
While it is rumoured that Pahlaj Nihalani was given the post of CBFC chief after his ‘Har Ghar Modi’ video during the elections, Joshi’s contributions to BJP campaigns are no less.
Joshi also wrote an anthem, ‘Saugandh’, which was voiced by Narendra Modi during the campaign.
The lyricist ad-man is also behind the most popular project of Narendra Modi till date – Swatch Bharath. He wrote the anthem titled ‘Swachch Bharat Ka Irada’ during the campaign.
He was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2015 for his contributions towards the field of Arts, Literature and Advertising.
Joshi has received the ‘Filmfare Best Lyricist Award’ three times, in 2007 and 2008 and again in 2014 for the Hindi movie ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.’
He has also received the National Film Award for ‘Best Lyrics’ twice, for his work in ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (2007) and ‘Chittagong’ (2013).
Prasoon Joshi started his career at Ogilvy & Mather in Delhi after earning a degree in Management from IMT Ghaziabad. He currently heads the Asia Pacific division of McCann Erickson.