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Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar , born January 17, 1945, is an Urdu and Hindi (Hindustani) poet, lyricist and scriptwriter from India. Some of his most successful work was done in the late 1970s and 1980s with Salim Khan as half of the script-writing duo credited as Salim-Javed.

Life and Career

Javed Akhtar was born on January 17, 1945 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh to Jan Nisar Akhtar, a Bollywood film songwriter and Urdu poet, and Safia Akhtar, a teacher and writer. His lineage can be traced back to seven generations of writers. The highly respected Urdu poet Majaz was his maternal uncle and the works of his grandfather, Muzter Khairabadi, are looked upon as a milestone in Urdu poetry. Akhtar has one sibling; his younger brother is renowned psychoanalyst Salman Akhtar. After his birth, his parents moved to Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, and later to Aligarh. Young Javed Akhtar lost his mother at a tender age and his father frequently moved back and forth between Lucknow and Bombay, so he and his brother spent most of their time with relatives. At the age of eight, he was admitted to the sixth class in a well-known school of Lucknow, the Colvin Taluqdars' College. From Lucknow he moved to Aligarh to live with his maternal aunt. He took admission in a well known school of Aligarh, the Minto Circle. The school is part of famous Aligarh Muslim University. He completed his matriculation from Aligarh Muslim University. After completing his matriculation, Akhtar entered and began attending Saifiya College in Bhopal where he earned a B.A.. He was a keen debater in college and won the Rotary Club Prize frequently. He arrived in Mumbai on October 4, 1964. In his early years living in Mumbai, he managed to write the dialogue for a minor film for Rs. 100. Occasionally, he used to work as an assistant.

Javed Akhtar is the father of the film director Farhan Akhtar, the father and son duo have recently worked together in movies such as Dil Chahta Hai and Lakhshya, for both of which Javed wrote the scripts. Javed Akhtar has not worked with his old associate Salim Khan, the father of Salman, Arbaaz, and Sohail Khan since their split up. Incidentally, Salim's superstar son Salman Khan has not worked in any movie in which Javed has been involved.

Javed 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 lasted until 1980. After this Javed wrote some scripts on his own but mostly moved into writing lyrics for films, in which he achieved remarkable success.

Javed Akhtar's songs are rhythmic, reflective on life and very melodic and catchy. Javed has also attempted more serious Urdu poetry aside from writing lyrics for movies. A major set of his works were compiled in Tarkash, which was also rendered into audio in his voice. Singers such as Jagjit Singh and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan have sung some of his non-movie poetry.

Currently Javed Akhtar is also a judge alongside Anu Malik, Udit Narayan & Alisha Chinai on india's famous singer hunt Indian IdolSeries 3. He is also on the advisory board of Asian Academy Of Film And Television.

Personal life

His father Jan Nisar Akhtar was also a famous Urdu poet. Javed's 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 an official name of Javed since it was the closest to the word jadoo.

Javed Akhtar was married to Honey Irani, a script-writer for Hindi films, with whom he had two children Farhan Akhtar, a film director, and Zoya Akhtar. He is also the uncle of director Kabir Akhtar. His marriage proposal to Honey Irani was made on his behalf by Salim to her mother Perin Irani. Salim gave an unflattering description of Javed to her and portrayed him as a drunkard who visited prostitutes. This incident was later parodied in one of Salim-Javed's most famous films Sholay, with the character of Jai proposing to Basanti's aunt(mausi) on behalf of his friend Veeru (played by Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini and Dharmendra respectively). Another view is that this scene was inspired by an old poem by an Urdu poet from Hyderabad, India.

After Javed's divorce with Irani, he married actress Shabana Azmi, the daughter of another famous Urdu poet, Kaifi Azmi.


Javed Akhtar has won 5 National Film Award for Best Lyrics and 7 Filmfare Best Lyricist Awards for his Hindi lyrics. In the year 2004-2005, all the nominated songs were written by him.

He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1999 and received the Padma Bhushan in 2007. In 2007 he even received Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award., 2003-2005. All Rights Reserved.
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