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Jadu moments with Javed Akhtar Saab

It was a chance of a life time and still reeling under the shock like a fan boy, getting my moments of fame. Call it the stroke of luck or destiny. There are some souls that touches your life in such a short span of time and Javed Akhtar Saab is one of them. The very fact of sitting in the same frame as Javed Saab, asking him questions during the interview makes it a memory of a life time. I will never forget the moment I was speaking to Tanvi Azmi, when Javed Saab walked to me following the request made 10 minutes earlier.

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The humility, smile and down-to-earth attitude despite being a gem held me in awe and didn’t want the moment to die. It was soulful and divine. The very fact of facing Javed Saab speaking made my heart beat thousand times and was just listening to him sparkling words of wisdom. It was a moment in my life like thunder. You just gotta sit and listen to him, feeling a chill down the spine.

As I share the moments with you people and insight into the interview I conducted with Javed Saab, just sit down and enjoy. As media people, we waited for Akhtar family to come, Javed Saab, Shabana Ma’am, Tanvi Azmi and Baba Azmi. My heart was beating furiously and was getting hyper. We were told that he is sitting in the lounge and requested Javed Saab, dressed in his trademark Kurta and this time in green for a picture together, along with Shabana Ma’am. The fan boy in me told him, “Javed Saab, aapko aksar dekhta hoon NDTV mein.” He was surprised and enthusiastically said,”Yahan bhi milta hai, Zee bhi milta hai.”

“Haan Sir,” I replied. He spoke with such warmth and from the heart, treated me with respect. We were back during the media conference and I constantly referred to by my diary, worried that with the horde of media people, I may just end up with one question. I introduced myself and threw my first question to Javed Saab.

The first question got to be on his children, Farhan and Zoya Akhtar considered to be powerhouse of energy and talent, the work done and what the discussion is all about at home. Javed Saab smiles and says: “I feel very happy that they are doing good work, different kind movies for a certain class and unique in a way. At a certain age, we discuss food with them when they come home.”

Post the media briefing, I requested Javed Saab, “Saab, aap ke saath ek chota sa interview karna chata hoon” and he agreed, “Mein abhi aata hoon.” It was the time for our conversation on movies, poetry, cinema and music. I started off with the role played by cinema in uniting people and the pearl of wisdom that Javed Saab is says, “Films or literature tells two things, how different and similar people are. Films like literature, create empathy in us for other people and a good movie make us understand that we are human beings.”

Javed Saab observes how cinema influence people and the latter influence city. A very sharp point was made, “Hindi cinema has changed in various decade as a result of change in society. I don’t believe cinema provides basic morality or code of conduct but articulates what’s tangible in society. Cinema gives a voice or face that turns into an icon, as we send back in society what we believe in. India is changing fast and one can see it through altering moral values in our youth expressed in Hindi cinema.”

Being one of the most respected poet whose striking words in ‘Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga’, the obvious question is the sharp drop in the level of lyrics in movies. For Javed Saab who agrees with it, he says, there has been a drop in the 80s as well. Wearing a serious look, the lyricist rues,”Wherever I go, people complain about it and there is massive disapproval at such large scale. I am confident we will come out of the pit with the revival of better lyrics and poetry.”

Javed Saab

Being a huge Amitabh Bachchan fan, I can’t help myself asking Javed Saab of his creation along with Salim Saab (Khan) of the angry young man in ‘Zanjeer.’ Imagine his humility when he says, “I never created Amitabh Bachchan. He is an exceptionally good actor and gave good performances that he had to find a place under the sun. It was my good fortune that we worked together.”
I wasn’t going to let Javed Saab go like that and asked how the character Vijay was created. Read what Javed Saab had to say: “During the scripting of the character Vijay, we didn’t want it to be diluted. There were angry characters and for commercial experience, same character had streak of romance and comedy where actors like Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna and Sanjeev Kumar played such roles. In Deewar and Zanjeer, the character Vijay was ‘undiluted’ and we didn’t bring any facet but scripted it in such a concentrated manner that it made such an impact on the people.”
It’s natural to ask Javed Saab what does he think of his better half, Shabana Azmi as an actor. The proud husband shares, “Shabana is an actor who gave exceptionally great performances and even her average were very good. In Fire, she got it right and hit the bull’s eye. She’s one of those actors who really understands her craft, can talk about it and gives emotional depth to the character.”
Now, you can understand how much I was in awe meeting Javed Saab and the very fact of sitting and listening to him speak, I just raved. It’s called Javed Saab ka jadu. And, I am not yet done.!
Post script:
Never thought in my life that I will get to meet Shri Javed Akhtar. He caught me by surprise in his own charming way when I ask how he dabbles so many roles in life, Rajya Sabha MP, lyricist and poem,”Everybody plays so many roles in life. You area  journalist, son, brother an citizen.” We spoke for a few minutes and told him how I wanna be back to Mumbai since during my college days, I had a small stint at FTII, assisting some friends in their film-making projects. He asked where I studied and I told with pride, “Fergusson College.” Javed Saab eyes beamed, “WoW! It’s a very good college.” Reason for me to be more proud of alma mater. As he sets off he told me, “I can see you are very interested in films. All the best.”
Touche Javed Saab! My famed moment July 29, Wednesday:)
Cinematically Yours


Work-in-progress, seeker and bundle of contradictions. Stubborn and Refusal to grow up and constantly in search of myself, I blurt it out on my space. Drop in and share some love. Indian by choice.

26 thoughts on “Jadu moments with Javed Akhtar Saab

  1. You are one lucky guy! I too am a great admirer of Javed Akhtar and amply enough admirer of his better half, Shabana 🙂

    Right now I am watching his program on Zee TV about classic legends, he is absolutely amazing, these days I am watching two contrasting programs- this one and another anmol baaten anchored by DJ anmol, he is absolutely cute 🙂

  2. Wow, Vishal! I am so happy for you:-) Loved reading about that meeting, and how you tell it. Can feel your energy and positivism through this post- awesome!:-)

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