What is wrong if an actor uses his popularity to do some good to society, an irate Javed Akhtar hit back when a journalist asked him if celebrities use social work to hide their black money.
"They don't pocket any black money. If they associate with some NGO to get taps fixed in some village, does that mean they are using black money? If one of them feeds street dogs, does that mean he is trying to hide the black money behind street dogs? I don't agree," Akhtar told reporters here Thursday at an event to launch Zee Classic's show "Classic Legends".
"Film industry had black money when I came into it, in the 1960s and 1970s, but now it is over. Nobody deals in it now. The corporate and bank systems have come, the black money doesn't exist now," said the acclaimed writer, poet and lyricist.
Akhtar gave the example of his wife, actress and philanthropist Shabana Azmi, who is associated with several causes.
"She has been working in a village for the past 20 to 22 years. She has been instrumental in helping 40,000 families. She works for the village Nivara, and people who used to sleep on the footpath there, now have a house, a flat. The flats maybe 450 sq ft only, but it is a flat. She didn't even create a noise about it."
"When I went for the first time, I asked her, 'What will you do with this village?' The village was far away from highway. There was no electricity in the village. Today, there is a pucca road that goes up to that village, there's a school, a computer centre, woman vocation centre, maternity centre, people are learning English through computer."
"There are many others who help Shabana. And there are several people who also send money to Vidarbha and nobody knows about it. So it's wrong to think negatively about it," he said.
Akhtar is returning to the small screen to host the second season of "Classic Legends", where he will share information on personal and professional lives of 11 Bollywood icons like Dilip Kumar and Meena Kumari.