After Javed Akhtar, one of the most talented poet-lyricists of our time, set the mercury soaring as he fired a salvo at the AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi saying "Bharat Mata ki jai" is his right as an Indian, acclaimed actress and Bollywood legend Shabana gave it a fresh twist. At India Today Conclave 2016, she asked, to thundering applause of course, if Owaisi would be okay saying "Bharat Ammi ki jai" instead, to suit his religious sentiments!
With that gem of a politically provocative potshot, Akhtar and Azmi, Bollywood's golden love birds offered a captive audience quip after quip on Indian democracy, politics of intolerance, dissent, food and of course, a whole lot of romance. Talking to India Today's consulting editor Rajdeep Sardesai at the session "The Stories of Modern Love", the poet and the actor voiced many a thought tugging at the heartstrings of Indian across the religious divide.
|Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi in conversation with Rajdeep Sardesai at India Today Conclave 2016. [Photo credit: M Zhazo]|
Here are some of the key quotes.
"Are you both essentially misfits in Parliament?" asks Rajdeep Sardesai.
"I won't contest election; you lose your independence if you join a party." - Shabana Azmi.
"Democracy needs multi-party system, democracy needs citizens." - Javed Akhtar.
"I grew up in a communist family." - Shabana Azmi.
"My identity is first I'm a woman then I'm a Muslim."- Shabana Azmi.
"Bias is prevalent in every community. This is what we have to fight as secular Indians." - Javed Akhtar.
"Confrontational attitude causes problem."- Javed Akhtar.
"Fight is not between Hindus and Muslims. It is fight between ideology." - Shabana Azmi.
"Best thing is which appeals your mind and appeals your heart." - Javed Akhtar.
"Javed and I are such good friends that even marriage couldn't break our friendship." - Shabana Azmi.
"Everybody is a star in a relationship. There is a kind of mutual attraction." - Javed Akhtar.
"He doesn't have a single romantic bone in his body." - Shabana Azmi when asked if Javed Akhtar is romantic.
"Do people who perform trapeze hang themselves upside down at home as well?" - Javed Akhtar.
Javed Akhtar sings Jagjit Singh's Tumko Dekha To Yeh Khyaal Aaya ghazal at the India Today Conclave.
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"I provide the inspiration." - Shabana Azmi when asked whether she is a poet like her husband, father and father-in-law.
"After a very long gap, I have come back to script writing. I'm working on another script on Indian Hockey team." - Javed Akhtar.
"Intolerance has always existed and it will continue to exist." - Shabana Azmi.
"If you don't want to watch a movie, don't watch it, but don't take my right of watching a movie if it has been duly certified." - Shabana Azmi.
"You can say anything, this is not the definition of tolerance." - Javed Akhtar.
"Our family is obsessed with food." - Shabana Azmi.
"We don't have beef." - Javed Akhtar.