Veteran lyricist-writer Javed Akhtar has said only he can translate the life and journey of the late iconic poet Sahir Ludhianvi on the big screen.

The screenwriter opened up about sharing a close bond with Ludhianvi, who was his family friend.

“He was a friend of my father and my mamu’s (maternal uncle) friend. He used to meet with a lot of love and affection. I shared a great bond with him. If anyone can make a film on him or his life, it is only me because no one knew him that well as I know him. Those who did know him are not alive,” Akhtar told reporters when the subject of the biopic was raised on Tuesday.

Asked who would be apt to play him on screen, he said any good actor would be the right fit.

Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been planning to make a film on the life of Ludhianvi for some time. Names of several actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Irrfan Khan, Priyanka Chopra had cropped up for the project but nothing is finalised.

Recently, there were reports about Abhishek Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu starring in the project.

Akhtar was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of a chat show “Shemaroo Me Living Legends” with Komal Nahta.

He believes people always yearn for older days to come back but do not take any lessons from those times.

“We have an interesting relationship with nostalgia and it is not just the film industry but the entire country. We often praise the olden days as if everything was just amazing then. But at the same time we do not respect the old times.”

However, he said the quality of filmmaking has improved a lot over time.

“Even in the ’50s, ’60s and even in ’70s bad films were made the fact is that by and large the standard has improved today,” he added.

Shabana Azmi, who was accompanying Akhtar, said the industry has started giving importance to casting directors.

“I believe a lot of changes have happened in Indian cinema and people have realised content is king and a lot of importance is given to writing. I am happy that today even the (art of) acting has changed.

“Also, today casting directors play a crucial role in getting the right cast. Earlier we had stock actors who were meant to do only certain kind of roles,” she said.

Film personalities like Jeetendra, Bindu, Moushmi Chaterjee, Jaya Pradha, Poonam Dhillon, Ameen Sayani, Kamini Kaushal and Satish Kaushik were also among the attendees.