Farhan Akhtar
Farhan Akhtar Image Credit: Instagram/FaroutAkhtar

Acclaimed poet, lyricist and screenwriter Javed Akhtar, who is here to attend the 16th Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), said on Friday that Indian cinema is one of the strongest goodwill ambassadors in the world and hence Indian films should be respected.

Answering a query by IANS at a presser on the sidelines of JLF on the current ‘Boycott Bollywood’ trend, Akhtar said, “This ‘Boycott Bollywood’ trend will not help. People in India love movies, be it in north, south, west or eastern part of the country. We are a nation of ‘Movie Bhakts’... It is in our DNA to listen to stories, to tell stories, and this has been the trend for ages. Our stories always come along with songs... Hindi films did not invent it. One should respect Hindi cinema.”

“Our films are released in 35-36 countries worldwide. Indian cinema is one of the strongest goodwill ambassadors in the world. If we start doing a headcount, our stars are better recognised in the world than even Hollywood stars. You go to Egypt or Germany and tell people ‘I am an Indian’, they immediately ask if you know Shah Rukh Khan. Our films spread goodwill in the world,” Akhtar added.

Reputed author and documentary film-maker Nasreen Munni Kabir, who was sitting next to Akhtar, recollected an incident during the release of the film ‘Veer Zara’ in Germany.

“It was a special screening. Tom Cruise was staying in the same hotel where the screening took place. When someone from the hotel said, ‘Oh! it’s Tom Cruise’, the crowd shouted, ‘No, we have come for Shah Rukh Khan’. That is the amount of love people have for Indian cinema abroad,” she said.