Indian rock music is superficial: Javed Akhtar

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By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Sep 4 (IANS) Acclaimed lyricist Javed Akhtar says Indian rock music is very superficial, with most songs having archaic lyrics, but he has experimented with words for his son Farhan Akhtar's acting debut "Rock On" to make the songs interesting.

"In India, rock music is a very shallow and superficial genre. They dress and style themselves like American rockers but the words and lyrics are archaic and obsolete. The words in an average Indi-Rock number revert to trite filmy clichés like balma, baliye and mahiya," Akhtar said.

"When they came to me to write lyrics for my son Farhan in 'Rock On', I wasn't really sure I could pull it off. I had never done a rock album before and I'm not familiar with the genre.

"The language in 'Dil Chahta Hai' was that of traditional lyrics... zamana, dewaana. In 'Rock On', where Farhan makes his debut as an actor, I've moved completely away from the traditional lyrics," he added.

"In 'Rock On', I wanted to create a new idiom that I don't think I had been able to do in 'Dil Chahta Hai' in spite of its modern context and characters. There I was still falling back on traditional thoughts and rhymes.

"In 'Rock On' I've experimented with words and thoughts. For example, songs about dreamers have been done to death. I've used the parallel of 'Sinbad The Sailor' to bring out the theme of derring-do. Then I was asked to write a song about an individual's losses in a week. Writing about a laundry bill, denim jacket, chandi ka ring... you can't use angoothee for ring... This is the lingo of rock," the lyricist said.

Asked about Farhan's performance in the film, Akhtar said: "I can't separate the father from the critic. But yes, Farhan has acted very well. As for his singing, I leave that to the audience to decide."

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