February 16, 2020
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On the Sahitya Akademi award for his Urdu collection of stories, Dhuan

What does this award mean to you?
This is my first Sahitya Akademi award, and obviously it feels wonderful.

Describe Dhuan.
It is a collection of short stories and was published in languages other than Urdu, as Raavi Paar.

What do you like more—poetry or prose?
Poetry is a bigger passion for me. I'd rather be recognised as a poet.

Is writing really more satisfying than cinema?
It's not a question of more or less satisfying. I've always been more passionate about writing.

Do you attribute your readership to cinema?
It's hard to tell if they read my books after coming to my films or see my films after reading my books.

You are recognised more for your cinema writing. Has that been a handicap?
Because of films I am recognised. As a writer it has been a handicap because the literary circle perceives me as a man from films. I've actually had difficulty in getting the approval of the literary masters.

How do you explain your interest in Urdu?
The credit must go to two people—Ahmed Nadeem Qazmi from Pakistan, who encouraged me to write, and an Urdu critic, Gopichand Narang.

Is Urdu a dying language.
The language is not. But the script is changing.

But it is not as much the spoken language as Hindi.
Devnagari isn't a vehicle to communicate only Hindi but also for Urdu. In the course of time, the prejudices against Urdu will die down.

How do these prejudices end?
Eventually, the people's language will prevail.

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