Javed Akhtar born to Jan Nisar Akhtar, a Bollywood film songwriter and Urdu poet, and singer Safia Akhtar, also a teacher and writer. His grandfather Muztar Khairabadi was a poet as was his grandfather's elder brother, Bismil Khairabadi, while his great great grandfather, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, was a scholar of Islamic studies and theology and played an important role in the First Independence Movement of India in 1857. Javed Akhtar's original name was Jadoo, taken from a line in a poem written by his father: "Lamha, lamha kisi jadoo ka fasana hoga". He was given the official name of Javed since it was the closest to the word jadoo.
Salim met Javed Akhthar for the 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 the 1970s there was no concept of having the same writer for the screenplay, story and dialogue nor were the writers given any credits in the 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. Javed 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." 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 (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", are also noted to be the first scriptwriters in Indian cinema to achieve star status.
"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."
^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.