Today it\'s all about \'Baby baby aaja aaja\': Javed Akhtar

PTI Posted: Jan 25, 2013 at 1802 hrs
Jaipur For Javed Akhtar, who has penned scripts and lyrics for numerous Bollywood films, cinema and society are not watertight compartments but representations of two sides of the same coin.

Akhtar, who is also one of the country\'s leading urdu poets today used a session at the Jaipur Literature Festival to express his dismay at the decline of language and vocabulary in society and thus in cinema too.

"Language is shrinking in society and for this perhaps my generation is responsible as we didn\'t care enough about it.

Young people now have smaller vocabulary compared to their elders," he said.

"When language in society is shrinking then obviously it will reflect in cinema as well," he said quoting an old film song to make a case in point about decline of language and etiquette in cinema.

"Khayalo main kisi ke aaya nahi karte kisi ko khwabo main aake yun tadpaya nahi kerte. You wont find this \'tamiz\' in today\'s songs. Today it will be \'Baby Baby Aaja Aaja\' types.

It is not just about language but also about etiquettes," said Akhtar.

The 68-year-old writer and poet in the session "Bollywood and National Narrative" elaborated on the journey of films, in India, which is celebrating one hundred years of cinema this year.

"If you see the profile of villains in Indian movies over the years you can easily make out the profile of our country over the years. In the 40s we had the zamindar(as the villan), in 60s when we were dealing with the ideas of socialism we had the industry owners as the villains. Then you had the urban mafia," said Akhtar.

"Then we had politicians as villains and after that there was a time when we had the Pakistanis as villains and then we got tired of all this. Now, we don\'t have any villain because whatever we looked for in the villain has become our ideal," said the writer.

The lyricist pointed out that movies were reflection of the socio-political situation of its time.

"We are celebrating hundred years of cinema and I must say we have come a long way but we still have to go a long way. If we watch cinema of the last many years it tells us about the society of its time," said Akhtar.

The national award winning writer addressed a session on "Bollywood and National Narrative" at the event.

"The fact is cinema and society is same. Cinema is the manifestation of society.It is not a watertight relationship."

He also expressed dismay that nature has gone out of film songs. "Old romantic songs were beautiful because of involvement of nature. You saw a man and woman and universe and that was big romance. But now with urbanisation nature is missing from everywhere," he said.

Addressing an audience question at JLF, Javed Akhtar said there was need to make anti-war movies and not war movies.

"I think we should make anti-war movies and not war movies," he said.

The poet-author however said all hope was not lost yet.

"I am not pessimistic at all. I believe this too shall pass but not because of us, but in spite of us. I can feel the younger generation has realised that they are deprived of something.

"Now they want poetry, art, music and literature. It\'s a matter of time that you will again see intellectual movies. I have faith in younger generation that they will see to it that we somehow regain what we have lost," he said.

What is a ghazal? Javed Akhtar sheds light at JLF

Attendees at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Friday were taken on an educational journey on the 'ghazal' by eminent songwriter-poet Javed Akhtar who told them about its real meaning and difference with 'geet' or 'nazm'.

The session 'What is a Ghazal? Form, Structure, Spirit' saw Akhtar speaking about the art of ghazal singing and the extensive 'riyaaz' (practice) that goes into it.

He started with the fact that not many people could differentiate between a ghazal and geet or nazm. While a nazm is a poem with one single thought, a ghazal is a compilation of couplets, he said.

“Ghazals are not just written by Urdu writers,” he said, adding, “I know a few German writers who write ghazals. Ghazal is by temperament liberal, secular, and even agnostic.”

The session included a wider discussion on poetry and language.

“Poetry is the collective dream of a society... Language isn't a script and it isn't vocabulary. Instead it is syntax and grammar,” said the veteran lyricist.

He rued that Urdu has been “sacrificed” for socio-political reasons. “Language belongs to a region, not a religion,” he emphasised.

Festival co-director Namita Gokhale said it is important for people to know about the ghazal in India because it belongs to this region.

“With this session I'm sure that people here at the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival will now know, what is a ghazal,” she said.

Ending the session, Akhtar said it is the world's misfortune that it doesn't have access to great Urdu writers. He narrated one of his ghazals, which was met with a round of applause by the audience.

The session was introduced by Canada-based spoken word artist and author Sheniz Janmohamed, whose first book 'Bleeding Light' is a collection of poems in ghazal form that traces the steps of a woman's journey through night.