Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar (born 17 January 1945) is an Indian political activist, poet, lyricist and screenwriter, originally from Gwalior area. He is a recipient of the Padma Shri (1999), Padma Bhushan (2007),[1] the Sahitya Akademi Award as well as five National Film Awards.[2] In early part of his career he was a screenplay writer, creating movies like Deewar, Zanjeer and Sholay. Later he left screenplay writing and became a lyricist and social-political activist .[3] He also remained member of Rajya Sabha.[4]

Javed Akhtar
Akhtar in 2010
Nominated member to Rajya Sabha
In office
22 March 2010  21 March 2016
Personal details
Born (1945-01-17) 17 January 1945
Gwalior, Gwalior State, British India
Honey Irani
(m. 1972; div. 1985)
2 children
Shabana Azmi (m. 1984)
ChildrenZoya Akhtar
Farhan Akhtar
MotherSafiya Siraj-ul Haq
FatherJan Nisar Akhtar
EducationColvin Taluqdars' College, Lucknow
OccupationLyricist, Scriptwriter

Early life

Javed Akhtar was born in 1945 in Gwalior.[5] His father Jan Nisar Akhtar was a Bollywood film songwriter and Urdu poet, and his mother Safia Akhtar was a singer, teacher and writer.[6][7] 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.[8] 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.[9] He spent most of his childhood and was schooled in Lucknow. He graduated from Saifiya College in Bhopal.[10]

Akhtar was greatly inspired by Pakistani author Ibn-e-Safi's Urdu novels, which he grew up reading as a child. Akhtar was particularly influenced by the Jasoosi Dunya and Imran series of detective novels, such as The House of Fear (1955). He was influenced by their fast action, tight plots, economies of expression, fascinating characters with catchy memorable names, and speaking styles. Two of the earliest films he remembered watching both starred Dilip Kumar: Shaheed Latif's Arzoo (1950) and Mehboob Khan's Aan (1952). Other films that influenced him as a child include Bimal Roy's Do Bigha Zameen (1953), Satyen Bose's Jagriti (1954), Shree 420 (1955) directed by Raj Kapoor and written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Munimji (1955) directed by Subodh Mukherjee and written by Nasir Hussain, and Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957).[11]



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 titles. 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.[12] Javed Akhtar stated 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."[13]

Their first big success was the script for Andaz, followed by Adhikar (1971), Haathi Mere Saathi and Seeta Aur Geeta (1972). They also had hits with Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), Zanjeer (1973), Haath Ki Safai (1974), Deewaar (1975), Sholay (1975), Chacha Bhatija (1977), Don (1978), Trishul (1978), Dostana (1980), Kranti (1981), Zamana (1985) and Mr. India (1987). They have worked together in 24 films including two Kannada films – Premada Kanike and Raja Nanna Raja. 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) and Shaan (1980). Though they split in 1982, due to ego issues, some of the scripts they wrote were made into hit films later, such as Zamana and Mr. India. Salim-Javed, many a time described as "the most successful scriptwriters of all-time",[14] are also noted to be the first scriptwriters in Indian cinema to achieve star status.[15]


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

Personal life

"that I would like to make very clear at the very outset. Don't get carried away by my name – Javed. I am not revealing a secret, I am saying something that I have said many times, in writing o I love Altaf Hussan And obviously I don't believe in spirituality of some kind."

—Akhtar talking about his religious beliefs.[17]

Akhtar was a Muslim[18] but later became an atheist.[19][20] He has brought up his children Farhan and Zoya Akhtar as atheists.[21]

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 was married to Adhuna Akhtar, a hair stylist.[22]

Javed married Shabana Azmi, the daughter of Urdu poet, Kaifi Azmi and later divorced Irani.[23] On February 2019, Akhtar canceled his visit to attend an event in Karachi organized by the Karachi Arts Council due to the Pulwama attack.[24]

Awards and nominations

Akhtar was awarded the civilian honour of Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1999, followed by the Padma Bhushan in 2007.[1] In 2013, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu, India's second highest literary honour, for his poetry collection Lava.[25] In 2019, he was conferred with an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Letters) by the Jamia Hamdard University.[26]

1996National Film AwardsBest LyricsWonSaaz
1997National Film AwardsBest LyricsWonBorder
1998National Film AwardsBest LyricsWonGodmother
2000National Film AwardsBest LyricsWonRefugee
2001National Film AwardsBest LyricsWonLagaan
1995Filmfare AwardsBest LyricsWon"Ek Ladki Ko Dekha" from 1942: A Love Story
1997Filmfare AwardsBest LyricsWon"Ghar Se Nikalte" from Papa Kehte Hai
1989Filmfare AwardsBest LyricsNominated"Ek Do Teen" from Tezaab
1990Filmfare AwardsBest DialogueWonMain Azaad Hoon
1998Filmfare AwardsBest LyricsWon"Sandese Aate Hai" from Border
1998Filmfare AwardsBest LyricsNominated"Chand Taare" from Yes Boss
1999Filmfare AwardsBest LyricsNominated"Mere Mehboob Mere Sanam" from Duplicate
1984Filmfare AwardsBest StoryNominatedBetaab
1985Filmfare AwardsBest StoryNominatedMashaal
1986Filmfare AwardsBest StoryNominatedArjun
2001Filmfare AwardsBest LyricsWon"Panchchi Nadiyaan" from Refugee
2002Filmfare AwardsBest LyricsWon"Radha Kaise Naa Jale" from Lagaan
2002Filmfare AwardsBest LyricsNominated"Mitwa" from Lagaan
2011Mirchi Music AwardsAlbum of The YearNominatedZindagi Na Milegi Dobara[27][28]
Lyricist of The YearWon"Khwabon Ke Parindey" from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Nominated"Senorita" from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
2012Won"Jee Le Zara" from Talaash[29]
2014Lifetime Achievement AwardWon-[30]
2015Album of The YearNominatedDil Dhadakne Do[31]
Lyricist of The YearNominated"Phir Bhi Yeh Zindagi" from Dil Dhadakne Do


As screenwriter

Teamed as Salim-Javed
1971AndazHindi-Urdu[32]Ramesh SippyRajesh Khanna, Hema Malini, Shammi Kapoor, Simi GarewalWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1971AdhikarHindi-UrduS.M. SagarAshok Kumar, Nanda, Deb MukherjeeWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1971Haathi Mere SaathiHindi-UrduM. A. ThirumughamRajesh Khanna, TanujaWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1972Seeta Aur GeetaHindi-UrduRamesh SippyHema Malini, Dharmendra, Sanjeev KumarWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1973Yaadon Ki BaaraatHindi-UrduNasir HussainDharmendra, Vijay Arora, Tariq KhanWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1973ZanjeerHindi-UrduPrakash MehraAmitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, PranWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1974MajboorHindi-UrduRavi TandonAmitabh Bachchan, Parveen Babi, PranWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1974Haath Ki SafaiHindi-UrduPrakash MehraRandhir Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Simi Garewal, RanjeetWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1975DeewaarHindi-UrduYash ChopraAmitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Neetu SinghWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1975SholayHindi-UrduRamesh SippyDharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Jaya BhaduriWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1975Aakhri DaoHindi-UrduA. SalaamJeetendra, Saira Banu, Danny DenzongpaWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1976Premada KanikeKannadaV. SomashekharRajkumar, AarathiWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1976Raja Nanna Raja KannadaA. V. Seshagiri RaoRajkumar, AarathiWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1977Immaan DharamHindi-UrduDesh MukherjeeAmitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar, RekhaWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1977Chacha BhatijaHindi-UrduManmohan DesaiDharmendra, Randhir Kapoor, Hema MaliniWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1978TrishulHindi-UrduYash ChopraAmitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema MaliniWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1978DonHindi-UrduChandra BarotWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1979Kaala PattharHindi-UrduYash ChopraAmitabh BachchanWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1980DostanaHindi-UrduRaj KhoslaWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1980ShaanHindi-UrduRamesh SippyWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1981KrantiHindi-UrduManoj KumarWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1982ShaktiHindi-UrduRamesh SippyDilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Raakhee, Anil KapoorWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1985ZamanaHindi-UrduRamesh TalwarRajesh Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Poonam Dhillon, Ranjeeta KaurWritten as "Salim-Javed"
1987Mr. IndiaHindi-UrduShekhar KapurAnil Kapoor, Sridevi, Amrish PuriWritten as "Salim-Javed"
As Javed Akhtar
1983BetaabHindi-UrduRahul RawailSunny Deol, Amrita SinghWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
1984Duniya Hindi-UrduRamesh TalwarDilip Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Amrita SinghWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
1984MashaalHindi-UrduYash ChopraDilip Kumar, Anil KapoorWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
1985SaagarHindi-UrduRamesh SippyRishi Kapoor, Kamal HaasanWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
1985ArjunHindi-UrduRahul RawailSunny Deol, Dimple KapadiaWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
1985Meri JungHindi-UrduSubhash GhaiAnil Kapoor, Meenakshi SheshadriWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
1987DacaitHindi-UrduRahul RawailSunny Deol, RaakheeWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
1989Main Azaad HoonHindi-UrduTinnu AnandAmitabh Bachchan, Shabana AzmiWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
1992KhelHindi-UrduRakesh RoshanAnil Kapoor, Madhuri DixitWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
1993Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka RajaHindi-UrduSatish KaushikAnil Kapoor, SrideviWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
1995PremHindiSatish KaushikSanjay Kapoor, Tabu
1998Kabhi Na KabhiHindiPriyadarshanAnil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff
2004LakshyaHindi-UrduFarhan AkhtarHrithik Roshan, Preity ZintaWritten as "Javed Akhtar"
2006Don: The Chase Begins AgainHindi-UrduFarhan AkhtarShah Rukh Khan, Priyanka ChopraWritten as "Javed Akhtar"

As lyricist

See also


  1. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  2. "Javed Akhtar Awards & Nominations List - Filmibeat". FilmiBeat. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  3. For example, campagning for Communist Party of India (CPI) candidate in 2019 Indian general election: https://www.indiatoday.in/elections/lok-sabha-2019/story/taare-zameen-par-will-b-town-biggies-help-kanhaiya-kumar-win-begusarai-1512586-2019-04-29
  4. President appoints 5 new members to Rajya Sabha
  5. Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willemen, ed. (10 July 2014). Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema. Routledge. p. 204. ISBN 978-1-135-94318-9.
  6. "Javed Akhtar - Javed Akhtar Biography - Poem Hunter".
  7. "On Father's Day, Javed Akhtar recalls the man who taught him poetry". 16 June 2014 via The Hindu.
  8. "MUZTAR KHAIRABADI ~ Sher-o-Sukhan".
  9. Chopra, Anupama (2000). Sholay: The Making of a Classic. Penguin Books India. p. 16. ISBN 0-14-02997-0X.
  10. David John Matthews, ed. (2001). Quiver: Poems and Ghazals. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-81-7223-437-9.
  11. Chaudhuri, Diptakirti (2015). Written by Salim-Javed: The Story of Hindi Cinema's Greatest Screenwriters. Penguin Books. pp. 26–27. ISBN 9789352140084.
  12. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-07-19/news-interviews/32731341_1_rajesh-khanna-consecutive-solo-superhits-record-in-indian-film
  13. Hungama, Bollywood. "The Magic of Haathi Mere Saathi - Latest Movie Features - Bollywood Hungama".
  14. Sholay, through the eyes of Salim Khan, , Rediff.com
  15. Ramesh Dawar (2003), Encyclopaedia of Hindi cinema, Encyclopædia Britannica (India) Pvt. Ltd.
  16. "Javed Akhtar, Dua nominated to Rajya Sabha – India – DNA". Dnaindia.com. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  17. "Eye on England". Telegraphindia.com. 15 July 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  18. Shivam, Vij (16 March 2016). "What Javed Akhtar Is Missing When He Attacks Owaisi". HP Desk. The Huffington Post (India). Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  19. "Being: Javed Akhtar on the angry young man – Movies News – IBNLive". Ibnlive.in.com. 7 October 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  20. His bias and hatred towards right wing organizations 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.
  21. "10 Self-Proclaimed Celebrity Atheists | Entertainment | iDiva.com | Page 4". iDiva.com. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  22. "Transcript of the Javed Akhtar Chat". rediff.com. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  23. "Honey Irani on Divorce, Survival & Shabana Azmi". iDiva.com. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  24. https://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/india/indian-actress-husband-cancel-pakistan-visit-after-kashmir-attack
  25. "Poets dominate Sahitya Akademi Awards 2013". Sahitya Akademi. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  26. "Javed Akhtar Conferred With Honorary Doctorate by Jamia Hamdard University". News18 India. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  27. "Nominations - Mirchi Music Award Hindi 2011". 30 January 2013. Archived from the original on 30 January 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  28. "Winners - Mirchi Music Awards 2011".
  29. "Winners - Mirchi Music Award Hindi 2012". www.radiomirchi.com. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  30. "Winners - Mirchi Music Awards 2014". MMAMirchiMusicAwards. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  31. "MMA Mirchi Music Awards". MMAMirchiMusicAwards. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  32. Aḵẖtar, Jāvīd; Kabir, Nasreen Munni (2002). Talking Films: Conversations on Hindi Cinema with Javed Akhtar. Oxford University Press. p. 49. ISBN 9780195664621. JA: I write dialogue in Urdu, but the action and descriptions are in English. Then an assistant transcribes the Urdu dialogue into Devnagari because most people read Hindi. But I write in Urdu.
  • Chopra, Anupama, Sholay – The Making of a Classic (Penguin Books) 2000 ISBN 0-14-029970-X
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