Hindustan Times (Lucknow)


Javed Akhtar says that he is doing everything he can to help those in need; adds this is a wake up call for us in terms of the necessity to focus on healthcare

- Sugandha Rawal sugandha.rawal@hindustant­imes.com


Today, people are so worried, tensed and harassed. I never imagined that I’d see my country in this condition,” says lyricist Javed Akhtar, adding that the second wave of Covid-19 has left him reeling with survivor’s guilt. He’s currently isolating with wife, actor Shabana Azmi at his house in Khandala, Maharashtr­a.

“There are big houses here, which are separate from each other. So, people can restrain themselves. Groceries and items come on the gate, and are sanitised. The whole staff has tested negative,” he tells us.

He adds that all this doesn’t keep the stress away. “The news these days is so disturbing. As a matter of fact, it’s so bad that if you’re safe, you feel guilty,” confesses Akhtar, 76. Despite such anxious moments, the veteran writer-poet is finding his strength to go on with the will to help people. “We are doing whatever we can, without putting ourselves in danger. I can be of help as long as I’m healthy,” says Akhtar.

As the chairman of Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS), he’s initiating release of funds to the authors and composers’ community. Last year, too, he helped musicians and technician­s in dire financial need. “We can expect a lot from a government — the centre or state. But this is a time where every decision is to also think about what we can do as a group or as individual­s,” he adds.

He gives a special mention to his son, actor Farhan Akhtar. “Farhan, when he does something, doesn’t mention, not even to us,” says Akhtar.

Farhan, when he does something, doesn’t mention it, not even to us. JAVED AKHTAR,

The lyricist adds that the second wave of the crisis has been a big blow for the showbiz sector. “It has been unbelievab­ly bad. But I’m relieved that we have people like Salman Khan who’re helping daily wage workers,” he says.

Akhtar feels one has to move on with lessons, and not let time wipe away the sour notes of the present realities. “We’ve to see what the national budget for health is. Health has never been given any priority and that’s why all this is happening today. We’ll have to revise our priorities. Health has to come high up,” he concludes.

 ?? PHOTO: AP ??

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