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Javed Akhtar walks Atlanta fans through his musical journey

NRI Pulse Staff Report
Photos by Tracy Marshall Productions

 Atlanta, GA, November 9, 2018: Javed Akhtar’s “Main Koi Aisa Geet Gaaoon“, held at the Rialto Center for the Arts on October 21, was a completely immersive experience even for those with only working understanding of Hindi. The master lyricist switched from Hindi to English and back as he kept the focus of his three-hour long interactive session on the often funny, sometimes emotional back stories behind some of his hit songs.

The outstanding concert was brought to Atlanta by Navin Gurnaney of White Tiger Entertainment.

Akhtar kept the audience hooked right from the time he walked on stage with the story of how he became a lyricist at age 32- an age when most poets retire from writing. He said even though he belonged to a lineage of seven generation of illustrious poets, he had no idea he would end up following the family tradition, especially since he had moved out of his family home and lived alone.

“Like a shop-keeper’s son eventually sits in the shop, I eventually sat to write poetry,” he said.

Javed Akhtar (L) with Navin Gurnaney. Photo by Tracy Marshall Productions.

Akhtar already had a successful screenwriting career as one half of the famous Salim-Javed duo (who wrote some of the iconic hits of the 70s and 80s) when Yash Chopra convinced him to write the lyrics for his romantic film ‘Silsila’ in 1981. There was no looking back for the closet poet after that, even through the period when the quality of movies fell drastically.

He said, there was a time when he rejected more offers than he accepted them because of the vulgar themes of the songs. And yet, some of his biggest hits as a lyricist came during what he described as the “dark low phase of Bollywood in the 80s” (Tezaab, Mr. India).

Amongst the many anecdotes Akhtar shared were the funny stories behind the creation of “Ek Do Teen” and his struggle to find pure gibberish words for “Hawa Hawai”.

Akhtar devoted stories to some of the iconic names he has worked with- Jagjit Singh, R.D. Burman, Lakshmikant-Pyarelal, Karan Johar, A.R. Rahman etc.

The last segment of the first half of the concert was a showcase of his son Farhan and daughter Zoya’s movies- and his work with the brilliant musical trio- Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (Dil Chahta Hai, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Dhadakne Do).

The talented story-teller was ably supported by singers Raman Mahadevan (singer), Parthiv Gohil (singer), Jahnvi Shrimankar (singer), and an exceptional band of live musicians – Vishal Dhumal (keyboard), Dharmesh Joshi (keyboard), Hiten Prasad (tabla), Rahul Kahar (drums) and Sunil Pandya (Percussion & production).

Throughout the evening, the audience could be seen dancing in the aisles to foot tapping hits. Even those who did not dance were certainly mesmerized with the wit and charm of Akhtar and entertained by the live music.

It was certainly a musical journey to remember.

Earlier in the evening, concert promoter Gurnaney talked about Project Prakash, a mission close to his heart.

“The overarching mission of Project Prakash is to bring light into the lives of curably blind children and, in so doing, illuminate some fundamental scientific questions about how the brain develops and learns to see,” he said.

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