An Interview With Javed Akhtar: Talking About Tarkash, Lava, and More

“We should have risen at the crack of dawn,
But we slept on, engulfed in pleasant dreams.” [1]

What is the taste and aroma of poetry, when it has been left to brew for fifteen years? How big is the echo of the gulp of these poems? Javed Akhtar, one of the most prolific and celebrated poets of India released his second book, Lava, after a very long pause in February 2012.

In his first book Tarkash (Quiver), Akhtar looked back into the nostalgia of childhood years, capturing adolescent moments of emotional and visual experiences, along with his passionate words for women’s rights, and deploring social injustices.

Now, about fifteen years later, his passion and intensity has only got stronger. When was the last time you read a poem about the birth, youth, ageing and fall of a tear drop? When did you last hear words about how the distance between a tear drop about to fall and the heart that it originates from like an orphan, is painfully traveled from one alley to another?

In this interview, Akhtar speaks about his new book, Lava, recites a poem in Urdu titled Aansu (‘Tear Drop’) from this collection, and speaks about several challenges facing the modern Indian society, contemplating the social role and responsibility of Indian Cinema.

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[1] Akhtar, J., 2008. Quiver: Poems and Ghazals. New Delhi: HarperCollins.

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Global Poetry Editorial Team.

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