Akhtar, along with Salim Khan was responsible for some of the most memorable stories in the films of the 1970s and the 1980s. At the same time, they were also the brain behind melodramatic dialogues such as "Mere paas ma hai".
Akhtar feels in some places things have improved in the industry while it's become worse in some departments.
"Perhaps you can say that the writing standard isn't up to what it was previously. It's also true that the cliches, theatrical dialogues are not seen nowadays. The emotional depth now is insufficient and should be more. Earlier, there used to be so much theatrics and aMa' and other kinds of drama, that this generation got so irritated by it and they went on a separate path," he said. He lavished praise on another writer-lyricist Gulzar's daughter Meghna's recent film "Talwar" for its dialogues. "Any good film of today, the dialogue is of such a type that you wonder, awow, can I write it like this. We recently saw 'Talwar', see the dialogues in the film, there's not one dialogue which looks out of place."