In the capital for a poetry recital recently, eminent lyricist and script writer Javed Akhtar wore his heart on his sleeve as he spoke at length about everything from wife Shabana Azmi, children Zoya and Farhan to how the current condition of all Indian languages troubles him.
Akhtar recited verses from his book, which were then translated into English by Ali Hussain Mir. The poetry recital session left the audience in awe of the magic Akhtar wove with his words. The informal question-answer session that followed, had the lyricist at his wittiest best as he answered questions about practically everything under the sun.
The audience was left in splits when on being asked about his relationship with wife Shabana, Akhtar said, "Most of the times we are living out of suitcases. Kabhi kabhi hi mulaqat hoti hai, isse rishte bade acche rehte hain." He then went on to recite a poem titled 'Shabana' which received a thunderous applause. When asked to draw a parallel between his own success and the success of his children, the lyricist said that it was impossible to do so because the satisfaction and pride of seeing your children excel and doing well in life cannot be compared to anything.
During the session, the Sahitya Akademi Award winner also raised certain concerns he had about the current scenario of all Indian languages including Hindi, Urdu and 'Hindustani'.
While answering a question about writing poetry and the writer's block, Akhtar said, "Writing is the last thing you should do. How do you learn to write? Or can you write without learning? Not possible, you learn writing by reading. Read all kinds of classics and poetry. Reading just hardcore literature makes you very academic, and there is a certain dryness which creeps in. A writer should have a child-like quality in order to connect with people. When I underwent a writer's block and I couldn't write anymore, I used to think that I should go to Sanghli. Why Sanghli? Even I don't know. I have never been to that place, but it fascinated me," he added which brought a smile on the faces of the audience.
As the session was nearing a wrap, a gentleman asked Akhtar as to what profession he would have chosen, if he wasn't a lyricist, to which he responded, "Had I not been a lyricist, I think I would have been a lawyer. I got to know later that lawyers earn much more money than I do."
Akhtar along with Ali Hussain Mir then, proceeded to sign copies of the book.