Javed Akthar raises flag against vulgarity in film lyrics

Jaipur: Vociferous are the protests in society against illegal activities and even stupidity! So what prevents people from raising their voice against vulgarity in various contemporary film songs?

Noted Bollywood lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar posed the same question at the Jaipur Literature Festival here today. "There is so much vulgarity today. When you can protest against something illegal and even at stupidity then why there is no protest against vulgarity?" Akthar asked at a session

"Gaate Jaye Banjara: Film songs- Urdu, Hindu, Hindustani." Decribing the changes song lyrics in the course of time, the lyricist hightlighted that songs of today was missing the "element of goodness" and pointed out that good words contributed to songs staying evergreen even decades after they had been penned.

"Words are the character of a song and ultimately that remains. Only those songs survive which are well written. Earlier, a common man used to get philosophy of life from music and songs. Songs had sensibility...had elements of social justice and human values but that has vanished now and it is very sad that no one is thinking of that," he said.

Akhtar called upon the audience to raise a voice against vulgarity. Citing the example of various songs "Choli Ke Piche" from the 1993 Bollywood flick "Khalnayak" and others he said he would not write such a lyric despite being pressurised and expressed surprise that families could enjoy dancing on such songs.

"Character and situation in today's songs have no emotional depth. So, there is no space for good and emotional lyrics even if a writer tries to compose it," he said.

"Today, a song is not heard but seen, due to aggressive marketing and visuals," he said. The lyricist rued that item songs are taking frontseat in today's films which has seen a decline of traditional narrative songs. "Audience and aggressive marketing makes the song a hit. Marketing people ask us to write such songs which are liked by people but if you reject such songs, it will push
them to make good songs," he said.

Akhtar, also compared the Indian film industry with that of Pakistan's, where he said ghazals and other traditional music formats continued to flourish.

"There is no dearth of talent in our country. However, literature, poetry, art and traditional music has not been on the priority list of people. But now there seems some kind of resurgence, in younger people," he said..

Meanwhile Akhtar, who turned 70 today also launched the French version of his book "In Other Word" at the festival. "When we write as a duty it is never from the heart, when we write as a right, it is always revolutionary. Be its music, poetry or literature," Akhtar said at the launch.

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