He claims to believe in excellence, not perfection. But his literary work so far seems close to perfect — if not closest. Prasoon Joshi is visibly excited about Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. The movie also marks his collaborative return with Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who are providing the music. In a frank chat with us, the National Award-winning writer-lyricist throws light on several aspects of life and career…
Do you think direction is the next step for you?
As long as I have people such as Rakeysh (Omprakash Mehra) working with me, I don’t think I need to go behind the camera. Directors like him do justice to my words. Having said that, if I come up with a script tomorrow which will require me at the helm, I’ll definitely take up the challenge.
‘Writing is more of a curse than blessing’
Both of us go back a long time and I instinctively trust him with my vision and vice versa. Our personalities and thoughts match to a huge extent and we both come from a common background be it our upbringing or our early advertising days.
How do you balance the Bollywood with the advertising world?
I brainstorm a lot whether it’s for a film or for an ad. It’s important to exchange ideas. But coming back to writing, I feel it’s more of a curse than a blessing (laughs). You have these characters in your head who speak only to you and you put yourself in a position where you convey them to the outside world through you.
Interestingly, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag has your name written all over it.
(Smiles) Indeed. During Delhi 6, Kamlesh Pandey was involved in the script and then there was Rakeysh himself. This time around, I have written everything from the script to screenplay to dialogues to lyrics.
But why Milkha?
I’m not someone who was heavily into sports and funny as it may sound, that’s also the reason why I did this film. When you take up a sportsman’s story, you try your best to relate to the human story behind the person. These are the factors that intrigued me about Milkha Singh because he comes across an ordinary man with extraordinary strengths.
So where do you draw the line between reality and fantasy?
We blended facts with fiction to find the DNA that belongs to him alone so technically, it’s not really a biopic. Like he told me, he fell in love with a girl and being the writer, I have to take the lead so as to create scenes which might be imaginary but true to his character. In any case, it’s impossible to condense a lifetime into a film of less than three hours.