For better or for verse: Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar turned 70 on January 17

On January 17, poet, screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar turned 70. Son of renowned poet-lyricist Jan Nissar Akhtar, Javed shares his thoughts with us.

How do you look back on the 40 years of your career as a scriptwriter and lyricist?
There have been achievements and failures; both are equally integral to life. But in totality life has been kind. Without trying to be too modest, I’d say that I wasted about 10 of those 40 years. That’s a lingering regret. I’m trying to compensate for that lost time. But I don’t think I can. Today, I’m in competition with only with myself. If I look at the mediocrity around me, I can only get depressed.

How do you manage to keep your head above water?
It has taken me a lot of time to get where I am today. Today I work one-fifth of other successful lyricists. You ask me how I seek out good projects. I think such projects seek me out. I admit there aren’t too many filmmakers and composers I’m comfortable with. No bad language, no grammatically incorrect meters for me. Poets can take liberties but within the given grammatical structures.

Who have been your idols as a lyric writer?
Shailendra and Sahir Ludhianvi have written mind blowing songs.
Then there is Majrooh Sultanpuri, Jan Nissar Akhtar, Raja Mehndi Ali Khan and more. I’ve set certain standards for myself. I believe language is for communication. My father used to say, it’s very easy to write difficult songs and very difficult to write easy songs. I shy away from ambiguity.

Why aren’t you writing screenplays any more?
At one stage, I felt I was becoming a mechanical scriptwriter, moving towards mediocrity. Before that happened I stopped and concentrated on what excited me lyric writing. In recent times, I was enthused to script my son’s film Lakshya. I’ll not do commissioned screenwriting. Gulzar saab is an exceptionally talented dialogue writer. But yes, we need scriptwriters. The good screenplay writers are filmmakers themselves, for example Karan Johar, Ashutosh Gowariker, Farhan Akhtar and Aditya Chopra.

( Source : dc )
Next Story