Javed Akhtar
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If item songs are unreal, so is background music: Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar


The world-famous Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), which also debuted in London in 2014, and is America-bound later this year, has kickstarted. Most of Delhi can be spotted at Diggi Palace in Jaipur, with the best of their winter wardrobe on display.

Bollywood scriptwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar, a JLF staple, got the most popular session on day one to his credit. Expressing his views in the packed Char Bagh tent during his session titled Gaate Jaye Banjara: Film Songs — Urdu, Hindi, Hindustani, the veteran said, "Item songs ka films se koi sambandh nahi hai. Agar item songs unreal hote hai, to background music bhi."

Rebellion seemed to be the theme of the day, with Faiz Ahmad Faiz and the art of rapping being discussed, too. Akhtar opined, "We should aim to find a more aesthetic expression of rebellion than rap music. The wrongs of a society can’t be blamed on music that’s being churned out. No country or society has changed due to poetry."

When someone in the crowd asked him to sing one of his songs, the 70-year-old laughed, "I don’t remember my songs’ lyrics because they’ve been sung by better singers, but my standalone poetry, I do."

He also spoke about aggressive marketing of songs, and how only the ones that are picturised on popular actors make the cut.  "Aaj kal gaana suna nahi jaata, dekha jaata hai. Gaana museebat mein hai. Apne merit par pasand nai aata."