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Content is supreme, lyrics are vital, says Farhan Akhtar at NDTV conclave

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MUMBAI: "If the story is not good, then no matter where you shoot the film it doesn't matter. Content has to be supreme. There was a time when music became more important than lyrics. Audience would not even remember the lyrics. That is changing now. The thought that if you have one hit number in the movie and that can ensure success of the film is also changing," said actor-director Farhan Akhtar at the NDTV conclave in New Delhi on Monday.

NDTV saw the culmination of its Youth for Change Conclave, a day-long event that aims to focus on solutions for challenges that our youth face today. This year saw a host of personalities from diverse fields come together to address the issues that are concerned with today’s youth.

The sessions also featured celebrities like Kangana Ranaut, Ajay Devgn, Arjun Kapoor, Ileana D’Cruz, Emraan Hashmi, Esha Gupta, Armaan Malik, Neeti Mohan, Irshad Kamil, Sachin Jigar and the stars of the women cricket team – Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Punam Raut, among others. The sessions covered issues ranging from Gender divide, challenges of fake news and is social media a bane or boon.

Ranaut shared the travails of being a superstar: "Big cities are money-oriented, small towns are more concerned about what people - buaji, mausiji - will say. I come from an extreme environment, a conservative background. I felt stifled and just wanted to be free. On being discriminated against as a child: I could never feel pride in my lineage and I don't feel like I belong when I go home. I want to tell women that they should fight for their own dignity, be it against fathers, husbands or children."

Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Punam Raut talked about setting new records against all odds.

Raj, Captain, Women Cricket Team, said: "PM Modi tweeting about the women's team was a moment of pride for us. My grandparents did not want me to take up cricket. Cricket is not life to me. There is life beyond cricket too."

Goswami, cricketer, said: ""World Cup final defeat will continue to hurt all of us. After beating Pakistan in the World Cup league match, even their fans applauded us. Unfortunately only one day out of 365 is celebrated as Women's Day."

Arjun Kapoor, actor, shared his views on the gender divide: ""I am not very educated. I didn't clear my Class 11. But, my upbringing has been such that despite this lack of education, I got a chance to move on in my life to do what I wanted to do. I don't think women get such opportunity. I have grown up among women, predominantly with my sister and mother, and I have seen how strongly women face adversity. We should incorporate it in the syllabus itself how men should treat women. We always hear, 'Stop crying like a woman.' We inadvertently are implying that women are the weaker gender. I have a sister and somewhere there is always a concern about her safety. It is not just about urban or rural areas, world over security of women is an area of concern. We are moving forward and progress is everyone's right. It cannot be gender specific. Gender parity means that both are equal not one is superior to the other."

Armaan Malik, singer: "I was a 10-year-old when I got to know that I am from Music composer Hasrat Jaipuri's family. In my family everybody is a composer, I am the first one to get into singing. My grandmother makes me listen to Hasratji's music and always asks me if such good music is being composed today as well. I feel good music is still being created."

Irshad Kamil, lyricist: "Today the films are closer to reality and so the scope of music in the films have gone down."

Sachin-Jigar, music composer duo: "The shelf life of songs have not gone down. Today lot more songs are being made and so audience has a lot of options to keep sifting through. But good songs live on for a long time even today."

Ajay Devgn, actor: "Always look ahead and not dwell on the past, just focus on rectifying the errors as we move forward."

Emraan Hashmi, actor, said: "If you are from a family connected with film industry then getting a break may be easier but at the end of the day you have to be good in acting. At the end of the day the audience is the decision maker. There is more pressure on 'star kids'."

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