On April 2, Javed Akhtar was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University Of Pondicherry. And proud wife Shabana who has been conferred the doctorate thrice over by Leeds University in the UK in 2005, Jadavpur University in West Bengal 2003 and Jamia Milia University on Delhi in 2008 can't stop preening.
Jokes Shabana, "Now there are two resident doctors in the house, in addition to the doctor who comes daily to look at my fractured leg." To her dismay Shabana couldn't be with Javed for this proud moment in Pondicherry because of her leg. Another dear old friend of hers Farouq Abdullah was also given a doctorate along with Javed Akhtar.
Farouq and Shabana go back a long way. Remember Shabana's infamous pillion ride on Farouq's mo'bike down the main street of Srinagar? Shabana would rather forget it. "That was so long ago. Poor Farouq! He hasn't been able to live it down, although it happened in 1984! It was such a spontaneous action and lasted all of two minutes. Anyway I'd have liked to be there to cheer my husband and Farouq."
Javed who last month got inducted into the Rajya Sabha is more guarded in his enthusiasm. "In the South they take the honorary doctorates very seriously. Kamal Haasan who is a Class 8 drop-out is referred to as Dr. Kamal Haasan in Tamil Nadu. I went, got my doctorate and came back. I feel the same. Now I'm preparing for my maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha."
Whether Javed known to possess a gift of the gab gives an impromptu speech at the Rajya Sabha or goes fully prepared would depend on what issues have to be addressed. At the moment Javed seems to have cut down his film work to focus on various non-cinema activities. He will now direct a film in 2011.
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