Javed Akhtar On Young Poets And The Importance Of Working On Aesthetic Sense

Javed Akhtar

Poet, scriptwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar is to present a special act in the upcoming show on Zee Live, titled India Shayari Project, that premieres on August 15.

In an interview with The Indian Express, Akhtar is of the belief that Shayari is getting its due appreciation. “I keep getting this question where people ask me that the younger generation is losing interest in poetry. I tell them: ‘It is not correct’. Maybe the source of communication has changed but if you go on YouTube or other platforms, you will realise that there is a huge audience and following of poetry and poets. So, the younger generation have found what is missing in their lives, if I may say so. They are discovering poetry on their own.”

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He is lauding the ways in which the generation today is taking the craft forth, “I’m very happy to tell you that the young poets have developed a new metaphor, a new language and a new style. I am positive about poetry and its future as well as the connection between the young generation and the old. An initiative like India Shayari Project (which will stream on Zee5) has collected poets across generations to celebrate poetry.”

However, he does feel an absence of refinement; “I have always believed in perfecting the craft. However, with the new generation, I feel that these young people have a lot of passion. Very often they have some new ideas but they do not have control over their craft.”

“Every art has two aspects: fantasy, imagination, dreams, romanticism etc. On the other side, there is something exactly the opposite: the craft which is as romantic as mathematics or algebra. They need to carry these incompatibles together. On one hand, while writing they are dreaming. On the other hand, they should be ruthless, objective and hone their craft. They should have better control over their craft to avoid basic mistakes whether it’s grammatical or related to meter, rhythm or rhyme,” he said.

He does have some words of wisdom for whoever is looking to hone their craft. “Shayari/poetry is not like Aspirin or a pill you can pop to get rid of your headache. Poetry is like vitamins. If you keep consuming, if you keep taking it, it gradually helps your aesthetic and muscles of your intellect develop. Aesthetics sense is necessary because they tell you what is ugly and what is beautiful. Whatever is crude, indecent and unjust becomes ugly and whatever is just, fair and empathetic is beautiful.”

Javed Akhtar thinks that if one keeps consuming Shayari, poetry, literature, prose, novel and short stories, ultimately, they will end up with two realisations. “One, people are so different from each other and, two, how similar they are. Both these facts may sound contradictory, but that is how life is. When you start understanding people, you start understanding beauty that develops sympathy in you. That develops a better person in you and ultimately a better poet.”

The show will also feature lyricist-writer Kausar Munir, comedian-poet Zakir Khan and poet-politician Kumar Vishwas.

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