August 11, 2017, marked the appointment of noted lyricist, screenwriter, poet and adman, Prasoon Joshi as the new chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). He replaced the controversial former chief Pahlaj Nihalani, who served from January 2015 and was asked to step down a few days ago.
As the film industry and the rest of the country heaves a sigh of relief, welcoming the change with arms wide open, here’s all you need to know about the new CBCF Chief, Prasoon Joshi:
- Born on September 16, 1971, Prasoon Joshi is an eminent lyricist, screenwriter, poet and marketer, and CEO of McCann Worldgroup India. He is also the chairman of Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of global marketing firm McCann Erickson.
- Prasoon grew up in Almora in Uttarakhand, where his father, D.K. Joshi served as a PCS officer with the Civil Services of the state government and later became the additional director of the state’s Education Services. His mother, Sushma Joshi, a lecturer in political science, performed for the All India Radio for over three decades. Being qualified classical vocalists, his parents impacted his strong sense of music and culture.
- Prasoon published his first book at age 17, titled Main Aur Woh, a ‘conversation with himself’, inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. His latest book, Sunshine Lanes, which is a collection of his songs, was launched at the Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2013.
- Prasoon completed his BSc and post-graduation in Physics, and pursued an MBA from the Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, opting for a career in advertising.
- His advertising career started with Ogilvy & Mather in Delhi, where he worked for over 10 years and became the executive creative director at the Mumbai office. In early 2002, he joined McCann-Erickson as executive vice president and national creative director, and was appointed as executive chairman for McCann Worldgroup India and regional creative director for Asia Pacific by 2006.
- His notable advertising campaigns include NDTV India’s Sach dikhate hain hum, Saffola’s Abhi to main jawan hoon, LG, Marico, Perfetti’s Alpenliebe, Chlormint, and the Cannes-winning Thanda matlab Coca-Cola campaign with Aamir Khan. His Happydent television commercial was listed by Bob Garfield of Advertising Age as one of his personal choices for the Cannes Gold in 2007. It was also chosen by a Gunn Report poll as one of the 20 best ads of the 21st century. He also wrote the lyrics for CNN IBN’s advertising jingle ‘India Rising’ and Coke’s popular Ummeed wali dhoop.
- He made his debut as a film lyricist with Rajkumar Santoshi’s Lajja, which was a critical and commercial success, and continued to work on successful films like Fanaa, Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par, Black and Delhi 6. In 2006, Rang De Basanti, marked his career as a dialogue writer.
- He received the National Film Award for Best Lyrics twice for his work in Taare Zameen Par (2007), and Chittagong (2013) and won the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award for ‘Chand Sifarish’ from the film Fanaa in 2007 and for ‘Maa’ from Taare Zameen Par in 2008. He was the scriptwriter of award-winning film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2014).
- He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award by the Government of India in 2015, for his contributions in the field of arts, literature and advertising.
- In 2006, he was chosen as a ‘Young Global Leader 2006’ by the Forum of Young Global Leaders, an affiliate of the World Economic Forum.
- He was also a part of the select three-member Core Creative Advisory Committee for the Commonwealth Games 2010 opening and closing ceremonies, with Shyam Benegal and Javed Akhtar.
- Prasoon has won more than 200 national and international awards including the 2002 ABBY for Best Copywriter and the Best Ad Campaign, 2003 Cannes Lion Award for Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola campaign and ‘No. 1 Creative Director in Asia Pacific 2007’ by Media magazine.
- Married for over a decade to his wife Aparna, who is an advertising professional at O&M Delhi, they have a daughter named Aishaanya.