Javed Akhtar

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Javed Akhtar
جاوید اختر
जावेद अख्तर
Javed Aktar 2010.jpg
Born (1945-01-17) January 17, 1945 (age 69)
Khairabad, Sitapur, Uttar Pardesh
Occupation Poet, lyricist, scriptwriter
Nationality Indian
Subjects Love, philosophy
Children Zoya Akhtar
Farhan Akhtar

Javed Akhtar (Hindustani: जावेद अख्तर, جاوید اختر ; born 17 January 1945) is a poet, lyricist and scriptwriter from India. Akhtar is a mainstream writer and some of his most successful work was carried out with Salim Khan as half of the script-writing duo credited as Salim-Javed between 1971 to 1982. Hailing from a family of freedom fighters, Javed Akhtar is the great-great-grandson of Allama Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, a notable name in the Indian Freedom Struggle and one of the main figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 who was hanged at the Kālā Pānī prison in 1861.[citation needed] He is a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award.

Early life[edit]

He was born into a Muslim family in Khairabad, (Uttar Pradesh) to Jan Nisar Akhtar, a Bollywood film songwriter and Urdu poet, and singer Safia Akhtar, a teacher and writer.[citation needed] His original name was Jadoo, taken from a line in a poem written by his father: "Lamba, lamba kisi jadoo ka fasana hoga". He was given the official name of Javed since it was the closest to the word jadoo.[1] Amongst his family members who are poets are Majaz, Eitbar Hussain bartar and Yadgar Hussain Nashtar. His grandfather, Muztar Khairabadi, and Maulana Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, a noted philosopher, poet and religious scholar of the nineteenth century.[citation needed]

Having lost his mother while very young, Akhtar's early years were spent in Lucknow, Aligarh, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai, mostly with relatives.[citation needed] He studied in Colvin Taluqdars' College in Lucknow and the Minto Circle where he completed his matriculation from Aligarh Muslim University. After matriculation, Akhtar acquired a B.A. from Saifiya College in Bhopal. A debater in college, he won the Rotary Club Prize several times.[citation needed]


Akhtar arrived in Mumbai on 4 October 1964. In his early years there, he wrote the dialogue for a minor film for Rs. 100.[citation needed] Occasionally he worked as an assistant. He got a job as a dialogue writer on Yakeen which flopped.[citation needed]He struggled to get work in film industry between 1964-1970 but was not successful in any of his ventures till 1970.

Career (1971-1982)[edit]

Salim met Javed Akhthar for first time during the making of the film Sarhadi Lootera. Salim was a small-time actor, and Sarhadi Lootera was one of the last films he acted in before he turned his attention to writing. Javed was a clapper boy for the film and was later made the dialogue writer as director S.M. Sagar was unable to find a dialogue writer. While working in this film their friendship began. Salim Khan used to assist writer/director Abrar Alvi at first and Javed Akhtar used to assist Kaifi Azmi. Abrar Alvi and Kaifi Azmi were neighbours, from there on Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar became friends. The duo hit it off well and formed a script-writing team that came to be known as Salim-Javed. Salim used to form stories and plots whereas Javed used to help Salim with the dialogues for those films. They used to brainstorm and come to conclusions regarding the final draft of the film.Akhtar used to write his scripts in Urdu, which were then written out in Hindi by his assistant. Another assistant would type out a one-line summary in English. His association with Salim Khan lasted until 1982.

Initially in 1970's there was no concept of having same people for to write both screenplay, story and dialog and also giving them credits in title. Rajesh Khanna is credited with giving Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar their first chance to become screenplay writers by offering them work in Haathi Mere Saathi.[2]jJaved Akhtar accepted in an interview that "One day, he went to Salimsaab and said that Mr. Devar had given him a huge signing amount with which he could complete the payment for his bungalow Aashirwad. But the film was a remake and the script of the original was far from being satisfactory. He told us that if we could set right the script, he would make sure we got both money and credit."[3]Salim-Javed were hired by G. P. Sippy's Sippy Films as resident screenwriters and produced the screenplays for successful films like Andaz, Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay and Don.

Their first big success was the script for Andaz, followed by Adhikar (1971), Haathi Mere Saathi andSeeta Aur Geeta (1972). They also had hits in Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), Zanjeer (1973), Haath Ki Safai (1974), Deewaar (1975), Sholay (1975), Premada Kaanike, Chacha Bhatija (1977), Don (1978), Trishul (1978), Manushulu Chesina Dongalu, Yugandhar, Dostana (1980), Kranti (1981), Zamana (film) (1985) and Mr. India (1987). They have worked together in 24 films including 2 Telugu films - Manushulu Chesina Dongalu, Yugandhar and one Kannada film - Premada Kaanike. Of the 24 films they wrote 20 were hits. The scripts they wrote but which were not successful at box office include Aakhri Dao (1975), Immaan Dharam (1977), Kaala Patthar (1979),Shaan (1980). Though they split in 1982, due to ego issues, some of the scripts they wrote were made into hit films later like Zamana and Mr. India. Salim-Javed, many a time described as "the most successful scriptwriters of all-time",[4] are also noted to be the first scriptwriters in Indian cinema to achieve star status.[5]

Career (1982-present)[edit]

Javed Akhthar started writing lyrics for films beginning with Silsila in 1981 and since 1982 has written lyrics for around 80 films and scripts for over 20 films.[citation needed] After the split with Salim he wrote some scripts on his own but mostly moved into writing lyrics for films.[citation needed]

Akhtar has attempted more serious Urdu poetry aside from writing lyrics for movies. A major set of his works were compiled in Tarkash, which was rendered into audio in his voice.[citation needed] Singers such as the late Jagjit Singh and the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan have sung some of his poetry.[citation needed]

Javed Akhtar was a judge alongside Anu Malik, Kailash Kher and Sonali Bendre on India's singer hunt Indian Idol 4. He is on the advisory board of the Asian Academy of Film & Television.[citation needed]

Akhtar was nominated to the Parliament upper house Rajya Sabha on 16 Nov 2009.[6]

Personal life[edit]

"There are certain things that I would like to make very clear at the very outset. Don’t get carried away by my name – Javed Akhtar. I am not revealing a secret, I am saying something that I have said many times, in writing or on TV, in public…I am an atheist, I have no religious beliefs. And obviously I don’t believe in spirituality of some kind."

—Akhtar talking about his religious beliefs.[7]

Akhtar is an atheist.[8][9] He has brought up his children Farhan and Zoya Akhtar also as atheists.[10]

Akhtar was married to Honey Irani, with whom he had two children, Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar, both film directors and actors. The father-and-son duo have worked together in films such as Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, Rock On!! and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara with Zoya. Farhan is married to Adhuna Akhtar, a hair stylist.[11] Javed is the uncle of Nishat and Kabir Akhtar.

Javed divorced Irani, allegedly due to his relationship with Shabana Azmi, the daughter of another Urdu poet, Kaifi Azmi, whom he subsequently married.[12]


Javed Akhtar was awarded the Padma Shri by the government of India in 1999 and received the Padma Bhushan in 2007. Akhtar has won the Filmfare Award fourteen times, seven times for Best Script, and eight times for Best Lyrics for "Ek Ladki Ko Dekha..." in 1942-A Love Story, "Ghar Se Nikalte Hi..." for Papa Kahte Hain, "Sandese Aate Hai" for Border, "Panchhi Nadiyan Pawan Ke Jhonke..." for Refugee, "Radha Kaise Na Jale" for Lagaan, "Kal Ho Na Ho" for Kal Ho Naa Ho, "Tere Liye..." for Veer-Zaara and "Jashn-e-Bahara" for Jodhaa Akbar.

Akhtar has won the National Award five times. In 1996 he won for Best Lyricist for the film Saaz and in 1997 he won the National Award for Border. He again won the National Award in 1998 for Godmother. In 2000 he again won the National Award for the song "Panchhi Nadiyan Pawan Ke Jonke..." from the film Refugee and in 2001 for "Radha Kaise Na Jale" from Lagaan.[citation needed]

He won the 1995 and 1997 Screen Videocon Awards. He won first Zee Award for Best Lyricist for "Sandese Aate Hain" from the film Border. He was awarded a Videocon Screen award as well as a Lux Zee Cine award for "Panchhi Nadiyan Pawan Ke Jhonke..." for Refugee.[citation needed]

In 2001 Akhtar received the "National Integration Award" from the All India Anti-Terrorist Association and the Avadh Ratan from the U.P. Government. He also won the 2003 Hakim Khan Sur Sammaan Award from the Maharana Mewar Foundation, Udaipur.[citation needed]

In 2013, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu, India's second highest literary honour, for his poetry collection Lava.[13]


As scriptwriter[edit]

Movies written as part of the Salim-Javed team are marked as such.

He has been awarded the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award eight times.

As lyricist[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chopra, Anupama (2000). Sholay: The Making of a Classic. Penguin Books India. p. 16. ISBN 0-14-02997-0X. 
  2. ^ http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-07-19/news-interviews/32731341_1_rajesh-khanna-consecutive-solo-superhits-record-in-indian-film
  3. ^ http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/movies/features/type/view/id/3718/
  4. ^ Sholay, through the eyes of Salim Khan, [1],Rediff.com
  5. ^ Ramesh Dawar (2003), Encyclopaedia of Hindi cinema, Encyclopaedia Britannica (India) Pvt. Ltd.
  6. ^ "Javed Akhtar, Dua nominated to Rajya Sabha - India - DNA". Dnaindia.com. 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  7. ^ "Eye on England". Telegraphindia.com. 2012-07-15. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  8. ^ "Being: Javed Akhtar on the angry young man - Movies News - IBNLive". Ibnlive.in.com. 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  9. ^ His bias and hatred towards right wing organization is displayed in most of his interviews or articles. "Spirituality, Halo or Hoax". Javedakhtar.com. 26 February 2005. "There are certain things that I would like to make very clear at the very outset. Don’t get carried away by my name – Javed Akhtar. I am not revealing a secret, I am saying something that I have said many times, in writing or on TV, in public…I am an atheist, I have no religious beliefs. And obviously I don’t believe in spirituality of some kind. Some kind." 
  10. ^ "10 Self-Proclaimed Celebrity Atheists | Entertainment | iDiva.com | Page 4". iDiva.com. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  11. ^ "Transcript of the Javed Akhtar Chat". rediff.com. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  12. ^ "Honey Irani on Divorce, Survival & Shabana Azmi". iDiva.com. Retrieved 2013-03-03. 
  13. ^ "Poets dominate Sahitya Akademi Awards 2013". Sahitya Akademi. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  • Chopra, Anupama, Sholay – The Making Of A Classic (Penguin Books) 2000 ISBN 0-14-029970-X

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