Javed Akhtar, who has to his credit four National Awards for best lyrics besides accolades for film scripts and poems, once considered running away to a small city and living with a pseudonym because he felt he could not write anymore.
The constant pressure of delivering lyrics and scripts within the deadline and at a time when he was stuck with a "writer's block" made the veteran wordsmith feel like escaping to Sangli district in Maharashtra, a place he never visited.
"It has so often happened with me that whenever I would write a script, a producer would come and give me a heavy signing amount. And then when I sat to write I felt I could not even write a single page," Akhtar said.
The filmwriter and poet was here recently to release the book "In Other Words", a translation of his own poetic works in English by Ali Hussain Mir.
During that time there was no television, so nobody recognised me by face and all they identified with was my name. I used to fantasize when I was unable to write, that there was only one way out and that is to run away to some small town and start living there under some other name and start doing something else," he said.
"... And I don't know why every time I used to think of escaping, I thought of going to Sangli, a city that I have never been to. And maybe another reason was that I never came across anybody from Sangli so I thought I can hide there, it will be a safe place," quipped Akhtar.
Famous now for umpteen lyrics in films Akthar had landed in Mumbai in early 60s after a rebelling with father Jan Nisar Akhtar, an eminent poet of Urdu literary world.
Interacting with the audience on the question of how to tackle writer's block , he said, "there is not hard and fast rule for the process of creativity. Within one person there is no permanence reason for logical initiative that makes a person write. As far as writer's block, everyone faces that."
"But, if you are a professional writer, you can't only wait for inspiration, you just have to write. You have to give it on a particular date. When writing script or lyrics for a film, you can't say that I am not getting inspired ...it's not possible, so you better get inspired!," he said.
The noted lyricist poet had in the year 2013 been conferred with Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu, for his poetry collection "Lava."
"Often, people ask me that the songs you write, what is your source of inspiration for it. And I say - deadline! I saw a deadline coming! It doesn't remain a choice anymore and you have to get all your faculties together to write," Akhtar, who won eight Filmfare best lyrics awards, said.