To a crowd saturated with serious debate and the tension of the never-ending Salman Rushdie affair, Javed Akhtar and Gulzar brought a welcome relief as they discussed the art of storytelling and even read out from their endearing poetry at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF).

The fourth and penultimate day of the event began on a poetic note as two of India’s finest poets-lyricists Akhtar and Gulzar joined ranks with Prasoon Joshi to woo a packed audience here. Gulzar also took the occasion to introduce and present Akhtar’s second book, Lava that is a collection of some of his finest poetry.

“Mere mukhalif ne chaal chaal di hai, aur ab meri chaal ke intezaar me hai (My opponent has played his move, and now waits for mine),” went on Akhtar as the audience hung on to every syllable and loved it to the hilt.

The two also discussed the art of storytelling and how it had changed over the years, with the changing times. “The storytelling in the Indian films is getting thinner, and I do not mean it is good or bad. The concept of hero is also changing with the changing morality and aspirations.

“So while years back, a youth who drank himself to death over his love, was a hero to that generation, Devdas cannot be a hero to this generation,” said Akhtar.

Gulzar said while stories and way of telling them might have changed, climax is something that will always be important to a story.

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