Javed Akhtar to team up with Vishal Bhardwaj

Hindustan Times | BySoumya Vajpayee, New Delhi
Oct 20, 2014 04:09 PM IST

Report recently claimed that Javed Akhtar and Vishal Bhardwaj are set to collaborate on a project. The lyricist confirms the news and adds that Vishal is doing "some exceptional work".

There was a time when almost every other song you heard in Bollywood was written by Javed Akhtar. Unfortunately, that might not be the case for very long as Akhtar says he has now been "boycotted" by the industry.

Last week, a report claimed that Javed Akhtar and Vishal Bhardwaj were set to collaborate on a project. Confirming the news, Akhtar says, "Both of us have agreed to work together. I have written songs for him in Godmother (1999), for which I had won a National Award. I believe he has been doing some exceptional work and I am looking forward to the collaboration."

As we caught up with the veteran writer-lyricist on the sets of his upcoming TV show to learn more about this conflict, he also poured his heart out about the current state of Hindi film music, and more.

What do you think of the current state of Hindi film music?
I think it’s a bad patch. But I am an optimist, and I believe that this, too, shall pass. If you look at the ’80s, there was suddenly a dip in the aesthetics of cinema and music, but then the graph recovered. Again, we are going through a rough patch because of different influences or perhaps because there is a wrong perception about the buyers and the listeners of this music. People need to understand that, in India, unlike other places like Europe and the USA, everyone is a singer. They need songs that they can sing along with, and not just listen to.

Is that why you haven’t been writing lyrics of late?
No, that’s not the case. I don’t get work any longer, as I have been boycotted for fighting for royalty for composers and lyricists. But that doesn’t bother me because the copyright bill is amended now, and producers will have to share the royalties.

Where do you see the future of film music and lyrics headed?
I believe frivolous things don’t last for long. People will get hooked to good songs and poetry whenever they emerge. The phase will change. The kinds of films that are made today are brilliant, and I am sure that will happen in the case of poetry and music as well.

Do you believe the industry still has talented writers who have the rich vocabulary that veteran lyricists did?
You don’t necessarily need to have a rich and refined vocabulary to be a lyricist. You just need to understand the situation and you should be able to communicate well.

Do your kids also write?
Yes, both Zoya and Farhan are good writers. Farhan often shows his work to me.

We’ve heard you are writing for Zoya’s film. What’s the status of that?
Yes, I have written for her earlier as well. I have finished writing for the new film.

You will soon be seen on the tube as part of a new show that pays tribute to legendary film artistes. Tell us how the concept of the show came about?
The aim of the TV show is to recall the contribution that various actors, directors, writers and musicians have made to the industry. The younger generations have vaguely heard about them, but they are unaware of all their contributions.

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