‘I Was Always Worried He Writes Better Than Me’: Video Of Camaraderie Between Gulzar And Javed Akhtar Goes Viral

‘I Was Always Worried He Writes Better Than Me’: Video Of Camaraderie Between Gulzar And Javed Akhtar Goes Viral

New Delhi: The Internet is going gaga over veteran poets and screenwriters Javed Akhtar and Gulzar’s camaraderie that was seen during the launch of Javed Akhtar’s biography.  

A video from their interaction has gone viral where Gulzar is seen joking about the popular song Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga. He says that it appears that the writer (Javed Akhtar) is talking about a different girl in every paragraph rather than one girl. 

Gulzar then said he has also written a few lines about a girl and he reads the poem. It is about a fan who is very excited to meet him at an event. She was scared she may forget her name in the excitement of meeting him. She then took a selfie with him and when the girl bid him goodbye, she referred to him by a different name. Gulzar then points towards Javed Akhtar and said, “I always feared that he wrote better than me”, suggesting that the fan thought him of as Javed Akhtar.  

अदब के दो धुरंधर एक दूसरे की तारीफ़े भी क्या कमाल के लहजे में करते हैं।जावेद अख़्तर साहब और गुलज़ार साहब की जुगलबंदी

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— Imran Pratapgarhi (@ShayarImran) January 11, 2023 Javed Akhtar and Gulzar first met while working on Ramesh Sippy’s 1971 romantic drama Andaz and from there began a friendship that has endured the test of time. While Akhtar wrote the additional screenplay of Sippy’s Andaz with former writing partner Salim Khan, Gulzar was tasked with penning its dialogues. The film starred Shammi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Rajesh Khanna, and Simi Garewal. 

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“Gulzar sahab was writing the dialogues and we were writing the additional screenplay. The film became a hit and both Gulzar sahab and I became good friends. We may not meet often but whenever we meet we talk for hours,” the 77-year-old lyricist said. 

As industry colleagues, Akhtar said, they exchange notes even today. 

According to Akhtar, he and Gulzar (88) have never viewed each other as competitors and have rather been each other’s cheerleaders. “Our writing style is different from each other but one thing common between us is that we both write well. For example, Kaifi sahab (eminent poet and his wife Shabana Azmi’s late father) and Sardar Jafri were like brothers. It is not that you are in one profession, so you would be jealous of each other.” 

“I believe a person who has less confidence will have a feeling of jealousy. Rather good work should be appreciated. I have so many times praised Gulzar sahab for the songs or lines that he has written 20 years ago,” he added. Gulzar, regarded as one of greatest Urdu poets of his era, said he often seeks out Akhtar to help him with the ins and outs of Hindi since he isn’t well-versed with the language. 

“I am not that educated a person. I failed in college,” said the acclaimed filmmaker behind films such as Koshish, Mausam and Maachis. 

“The Urdu language that I learnt is from the people living around me but before the Partition in Delhi. Post the partition, Hindi was spoken (a lot). I can’t read and write Hindi a lot. I read and write in Urdu and I have learnt a bit of Devanagari from signboards. Javed sahab has learnt the language and whenever I am short of words, I call him,” he said. 

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Describing the reclusive Gulzar as “Eid ka chaand” (a rare sight), Akhtar said he was grateful to the veteran writer for releasing the book. 

“Eid ke chand ki minimum guarantee hai ki saal mein ek baar dikhta hee hai, yeh minimum guarantee bhi inn se nahi milti (There is a minimum guarantee that moon will be sighted on Eid, but there is no such guarantee that comes with him). I am thankful to Gulzar sahab. He doesn’t go anywhere much and I am happy that he has come here to unveil the book,” he added. 

Jadunama is a compilation of extracts from Akhtar’s public speeches, interviews and quotes. 

(With inputs from PTI)