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`I learn from young filmmakers'

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WAY WITH WORDS Javed Akhtar
WAY WITH WORDS Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar on remakes, books and film appreciation

Lyricist and social activist Javed Akhtar has a way with words, naturally. His take on six topics close to his heart. Generation Next: A proud father of filmmakers Farhan and Zoya Akhtar, he says, "My writing doesn't change whether I write for my children or for others. The work is credited to my name and I need to do justice to that. Writing the script of `Lakshya' for Farhan was no different. I'm a father to a filmmaker who happens to be a son (laughs). Farhan and Zoya approach me for suggestions, some of which are taken up and others rejected. I might sound politically correct, but I learn from young filmmakers."Remakes, dearth of ideas: Quiz Javed Akhtar on Ram Gopal Varma's `Sholay' and he quips, "It would be amusing to see how it develops." Agreeing that remakes signal a dearth of new ideas, he says, "Some films reach a high point and you cannot better them. `Gone With The Wind,' `Benhur' or `Sound of Music' cannot be remade. Then why remake `Sholay?'Having said that, there have been good remake attempts as well - P.C. Barua's and Bimal Roy's versions of `Devdas' for instance." On the new Don, he says, "My son made a slick film but my loyalty stays with my version."Writing, then and now: He has penned two scripts which will soon be made into films and he says, "Earlier, the scripts had more rhetoric and drama. Today's directors respect the intelligence of the audience." Ashutosh Gowarikar's `Jodha Akbar,' Harry Baweja's `Love Story 2050' and `Tara Rum Pum' are some forthcoming films for which Javed Akhtar has written the lyrics.Co-authoring books: `Talking Films' and `Talking Songs,' two books that he has co-authored with Nasreen Munni Kabir, are widely read in film institutes in the United States. "Nasreen has an incisive mind. We've shared our ideas with people and I will consider writing more such books."For the archives: Lamenting on the dearth of books and documentaries, he explains, "In Europe, I've come across houses with placards stating that Bernard Shaw stayed at the place for three days. Papers and accessories used by Charles Dickens and Wordsworth are treasured. We as a nation don't even protect our monuments. Likewise, we haven't documented our work on cinema."A museum for films: He feels film appreciation courses in schools will help youngsters understand good cinema. "You can't expect someone to suddenly appreciate quality work. Why didn't `Dor' or `Iqbal' become big hits? We need film libraries and a museum to protect that original scripts."

SANGEETHA DEVI K

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