Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar is reportedly dissapointed with Salman Rushdie and feels that the famous author has a distorted notion of freedom.
Javed Akhtar was among one of the strongest voices to support Salman Rushdie last year when the latter was not allowed to visit Jaipur for Jaipur Literature Festival. Just a year after the incident, Salman Rushdie again faced security threats and avoided a visit to Kolkata last month. So what transpired between the two that made Javed Akhtar change his mind?
Javed Akhtar had criticsed Salman Rushdie's writings last year which apparently infuriated the Booker prize winner. An English daily said on Monday that Salman Rushdie wrote a rude, nasty and uncivilzed mail to Javed Akhtar's wife Shabana Azmi reacting to the criticsm. Javed Akhtar was quoted by the English daily as saying, "I'm rather disappointed with Salman Rushdie. My experience with him has been very dismal. Last year,the same thing happened in Jaipur. And among the few people who publicly supported his rights was me. Later, in an interview on TV, I happened to compliment Taslima Nasreen and mildly criticised Rushdie for his writing. In no time, he sent Shabana (Azmi) an extremely nasty, rude and uncivilised letter." Salman Rusdhie wrote to Shabana Azmi as he did not have Javed Aktar's mail ID, the Bollywood lyricist added.
Salman Rushdie attends a promotional event of 'Midnight's Children' in Mumbai. AP Photo
"On the one hand, he asks me to talk about him and pretends to be some kind of messiah.On the other hand, he can't take criticism. This is double standards. He doesnt interest me anymore. I was the man who said he has the right to be in Jaipur.And then if I criticise his writing it was not even severe he cant take it! It means you want freedom of expression only for yourself. Then you go ahead and find it," the daily further quoted Javed Akhtar.
Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children based on Salman Rushdie's book released on February 2.