'I never wanted Dil Waale Dulhanya Le Jayenge to be my identity'.

KARACHI -- A big number of lovers of cinema and literature gathered on Friday evening at the Arts Council of Pakistan at an event held to pay tribute to the distinguished Indian playwright and screenwriter Javed Siddiqui, who has iconic films such as Shatranj Ke Khiladi, Umrao Jan, Baazigar and Dil Waale Dulhanya Le Jayenge to his credit. He is also the author of Langarkhana (pen sketches) and Tumhari Amrita, an adaptation of A R Gurney's popular play Love Letters.

The programme began with the cutting of cake because it was also Mr Siddiqui's birthday. The council's president Ahmed Shah welcoming the guests said he'd been in touch with the author over the phone but now since he's here to attend a wedding of a member of his family in Karachi it's an opportunity to meet him.

Then Zia Mohyeddin read a sketch written by Siddiqui titled Bi Huzoor prior to which he told the audience that he'd known the author through his two plays Begum Jaan and Salgirah, which were performed at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa).

The reading was followed by a show-reel of some of the movies that Mr Siddiqui has penned dialogue for. When a clip from Dil Waale Dulhanya Le Jayenge aka DDLJ was shown, a certain section of the crowd clapped in excitement.

The chitchat with the writer was moderated by Dr Fatema Hassan and Zehra Nigah.

Replying to a question, Mr Siddiqui said he's lucky that he was born in an educated family which comprised many luminaries such as Maulana MohamAmad Ali, Maulana Shaukat Ali, Hafiz Ahmed Ali Shauq (his great grandfather) and painter Shakir Ali (his uncle).

Ms Nigah initiating the conversation said she first read Mr Siddiqui's book of sketches in London, and had always wanted to meet him. She wondered why, despite writing notable works of art, whenever she talks about Mr Siddiqui with anyone, they immediately mention DDLJ arguing that the film is timeless (purani hoti he nahin hai). 'I tell them he's done many things that are timeless.'

To this, the author responded, 'It pains me to see that DDLJ is becoming my identity. It is not my...

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