Finding your own voice is important in any creative profession: Prasoon Joshi at IFFI 2018

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GOA, 22st NOVEMBER 2018: …. The Masterclass titled, ‘Lyrical Imagination Unleashed’ saw Prasoon Joshi evoke the audiences’ emotional side by singing some of his timeless songs … The exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi was inaugurated at the hands of Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore … The State Focus section on Jharkhand was also inaugurated The delegation from Israel, as part of the Country Focus on Israel at IFFI 2018, and singer Arijit Singh who is debuting as a director with his film ‘Sa’ at IFFI 2018, walked the red carpet with his wife, Koyel Singh … A panel discussion on Ingmar Bergman – ‘Wild At Heart, Master At Craft’ was held at Maquinez Palace as a mark of tribute to the Swedish filmmaker.

 The second day at IFFI 2018 saw some great action unfold on-screen, but even more interesting events played out off-screen at the multiple venues of the coveted film festival. One of the events to unfold early in the day was the inauguration of the Mahatma Gandhi exhibition at Kala Academy by the Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore accompanied by filmmaker Subhash Ghai and actress Poonam Dhillon

Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, while speaking at the occasion said, “Along with entertainment and education, I am promoting films of business as well. We have also taken the opportunity to put an exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi, which is one of the finest exhibitions on the Father of the Nation. It is a very interactive exhibition that has been taken around the country earlier. Now we have brought it to Goa taking the opportunity of 49th IFFI.”

This was followed by the inauguration of the State Focus section on the state of Jharkhand.

At the occassion, Amit Khare, Secretary I&B, Govt of India said, “We have begun with the State focus for the first time and we chose Jharkhand because we want to promote the filmmakers of the state. We believe that they are no less than the others. This not only increases the employment opportunities to the people but also trains them and hones their skills. Through IFFI, we want to tell that India has arrived on world platform. This has been made possible only because of positive intervention of states. Through the section of State Focus we want international artists to know how the artists from smaller cities are a powerhouse of creative talent and that they too can make some amazing films. By keeping Jharkhand as State Focus, we aim to promote culture, language and talent. We will continue to do so every year with different states.”

The delegation from Israel, as a part of Country Focus on Israel at IFFI 2018, walked the red carpet. The red carpet saw more action as the versatile playback singer Arijit Singh, who is debuting as a director with his film Sa at IFFI 2018, walked the red carpet with his wife.

Maquinez Palace, an important venue of IFFI 2018 saw a busy day with a Masterclass and a panel discussion being held in the first half of the day. The masterclass by Prasoon Joshi, titled, ‘Lyrical Imagination Unleashed’ was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the day.

Not that he needs an introduction but for the uninitiated, Prasoon Joshi wears many hats –a lyricist, screenwriter, poet, the Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and that of being the CEO of McCann World group India and Chairman (Asia Pacific). While his achievements in the field of advertising have won him and the country accolades in the international circuit, Mr Prasoon Joshi graced the audiences at IFFI 2018 with his presence.

In this session moderated by Mr Sachin Chatte, the National Award winning lyricist Padma Shri Prasoon Joshi spoke at length about the factors that inspire his creative process, the difference and similarities between writing lyrics and poetry, and the need to find one’s true voice / style. The session also saw the singer-songwriter croon to the audiences, thereby setting a very emotional tone for the session.

Mr Joshi spent his formative years in the lap of nature – in places like Almora, Nainital, Tehri and other scenic parts of India. When asked if nature plays a role in inspiring the stellar body of work that has won him laurels internationally, Joshi declined the notion, in his signature poetic fashion saying, “It would be unfair to those creative people who have not grown up in the lap of nature.” Mr Joshi further said, “People have written in confinement too. It is the certain mental preparedness, sensitivity and the ability to express that plays a role. The human mind creates a narrative around the things and the places that we observe and experience. This process is personal and beautiful. Every place has its fragrance that gets imprinted on your subconscious. When writing, all of this influences and reflects in the end product.”

While advising budding poets and lyricists, Mr Joshi said, “It is okay to be confused. The youngsters are restless, partly because of the pressure from the society. That is okay. If you’re definitive about your way, there’s no growth in it. You can’t experience something till you touch it. It is important to explore. Unless it is a truth which is experienced by you, it is not authentic. If you want to write, or in any creative profession, my understanding is that one has to look for an authentic voice. It is a difficult journey but one that to have to take.”

The Masterclass was followed by a Q&A session where Mr Joshi took questions from potential lyricists and creative artistes. While trying to answer a question on how to get past the Writer’s Block, Mr Joshi said, “One should not be alienated from one’s thoughts. There should be a union between the person and his thoughts. Then, the writing happens naturally. Also, one should be sensitive to the myriad experience and feel the subject. And finally, read a lot to have a rich vocabulary which will come handy in expressing with greater efficacy.”

IFFI 2018 had on its schedule a panel discussion on Swedish master craftsman Ingmar Bergman, as part of paying him tribute on his birth centenary. The panel discussion titled, ‘Wild At Heart, Master At Craft’ saw Mr Sunit Tandon moderate the session that featured Ms Jannike Ahlund and Ms Ulrika.

For those unfamiliar with Ingmar Bergman – 10 of his films are listed in the 5th edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (edited by Steven Jay Schneider). He is the third best-represented director (behind Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks) and has the greatest number of writing credits on that list of any screenwriter. On the list are the films Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Winter Light (1963), Persona (1966), Hour of the Wolf (1968), Shame (1968), Cries and Whispers (1972) and Fanny and Alexander (1982).

IFFI 2018 is celebrating the birth centenary of this master filmmaker by showcasing 7 best films of his career.

While speaking about the effect that Bergman had on him growing up, Sunit Tandon said, “He is one of the few filmmakers who has led to the coining of an adjective. ‘Bergmanesque’ is a word you can look up in the dictionary. It means films of the kind that Bergman made. Bergman has had a huge impact on the world of cinema.”

When asked about where Bergman and his legacy would be placed in today’s times, Ms Jannike Ahlund said, “The social issues that Bergman touched upon in his films are timeless. We will always be interested in the lack of human relationships, the lack of communication which seemed to be his overall theme. Most of his films age very well, with the exception of some of his early works.”

The panel discussion was followed by the screening of Ingmar Bergman’s film, Wild Strawberries.

The 49th International Film Festival of India begins on Tuesday, 20 November 2018 and ends on Wednesday, 28 November, 2018, in Panaji, Goa.

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