Akhtar defends slum b'day cake

Javed Akhtar has been criticised for "insensitivity" for baking a cake designed like a slum for Shabana Azmi’s birthday party. But the lyricist defends himself by saying, "There is no joke that..."

entertainment Updated: Sep 25, 2010 00:19 IST
Neha Sharma
Neha Sharma
Hindustan Times

Ever since actor Amitabh Bachchan tweeted from actor Shabana Azmi’s birthday party on Saturday, saying, “Javed (Akhtar) Saheb’s gift to Shabana – a cake designed like a slum!! Touché!”, everyone has been talking about the ‘slum cake’.

The cake had small huts, with a clothesline running through them. The scene was completed with muck, an open drain and sewage. And there was a big tag that reads Shabana Nagar, Gali no 60, as it was her sixtieth birthday. British newspaper, The Guardian, ran a scathing criticism about the incident, referring to the cake as “tasteless representation of poverty porn”. The article sparked off an online debate, with Akhtar being criticised for “insensitivity.”

However, Akhtar defends, “Shabana has been working for the upliftment of slums for the past 20 years. We keep cracking jokes about her dedication towards this... so I decided to crack this harmless joke by getting the cake designed like a slum. There is no joke that cannot be interpreted as ‘politically incorrect’. Shabana has rehabilitated 40,000 people. Kya ek cake lane se hum kharaab insaan ban jaate hain? I care two hoots about what people say. The cake was not a joke on the slums. It was a harmless joke on her.”

Actor Shazahn Padamsee, who attended the party, says, “Although I could not see the cake, but, what’s wrong with it? People have all sorts of things on their cake.”

First Published: Sep 24, 2010 16:48 IST