Lyricist, screenwriter, poet and an advertising person, Prasoon Joshi, who is also a Padma Shri awardee, speaks to Guardian 20 along the sidelines of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2017.

Q. Coming from Almora in Uttarakhand, would you agree that small towns helped in channelling your creative energy much more so that metropolitan cities you have lived in?

A. Usually, life in a small town is very different but today we don’t experience it due to the growth of the media. Television, Internet are available at most of the places. So, we don’t have the kind of small towns that we used to have. Those places were laid back, gave you a lot of time to think, which is not available anymore. During the time I grew up in Uttarakhand, television was just coming in, there was a lot of time to spend in nature and there was access to various literatures. It was not an action-packed life but full of introspection.

Q. You have expressed yourself in many mediums, be it screenwriting, writing lyrics or advertising. What keeps you going?

A. I had no choice. I was born in a middle-class family. I got published early and I realised nobody buys poetry. I had no option but to do something other than writing poetry. I did business management and joined an advertising agency where I realised that their work is closest to poetry. I found that there is a short story format here, like in 30 seconds I am supposed to write a story which can bring out a character in a short format. I started enjoying that and in parallel I kept on writing for films and more poetry. For me there was no option but to do it. I need to feed myself and take care of my responsibilities towards my parents, my wife and my child. I had to do that. I had to strike a balance. I also tell people that nobody else should be paying the price of your creativity. 

Q. What are you working on next?

A. I am working on a web series with Amazon and writing two movie scripts about which I will announce later.