Zoya Akhtar (born 14 October 1972) is a contemporary Indian film director. She made her debut as director with critically acclaimed Luck By Chance (2009). In 2011, she directed the critically and commercially successful film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and won her Filmfare Award for Best Director.
Zoya Akhtar was born on 14 October 1972 in Mumbai to poet, lyricist and screenwriter Javed Akhtar and screenwriter Honey Irani. Zoya's stepmother is Shabana Azmi. Zoya is the elder sister of Farhan Akhtar and granddaughter of Urdu poet Jan Nisar Akhtar. She went to school at Maneckji Cooper and earned her Bachelors of Arts degree at St. Xavier's College, both in Mumbai. Later, she joined the New York University Film School to learn film production.
Zoya started her career as an actress in Kamasutra movie, where she played one of the disciples of Rekha. Zoya has worked on a number of commercials including Pepsi and Finolex. She has co-directed a music video called "Price of Bullets" for a rock band. She has worked as a casting director for films including Dil Chahta Hai, Kamasutra: A Tale of Love and Split Wide Open, and as an assistant director for her brother Farhan's films, Lakshya and Dil Chahta Hai. She then worked as an executive producer for her longtime friend Reema Kagti's Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., also produced by Excel Entertainment.
Zoya made her directorial debut with Luck By Chance which was well-received by critics, despite not doing well at the box office. In 2011, she directed Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, a multistarrer with Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin. It turned out to be a huge box office success and was well received by critics and won her Filmfare Award for Best Director. After the film's release, Zoya Akhtar expressed an idea to make a sequel of the film. Speaking about it, she said "You never know, I might or may not make a sequel. It all depends on the right content." She is currently working on Dil Dhadakne Do, a film based on a dysfunctional Punjabi family starring Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra as a brother and sister, with Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar as their respective love interests and Anil Kapoor as their father.
She appeared on the Valentine's Day charity show of Kaun Banega Crorepati along with her brother Farhan Akhtar. She also produced the soundtrack of Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela to favorable critical response.