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Javed Akhtar (Urdu: جاوید اختر; ), (born January 17, 1945) is an Urdu and Hindi (Hindustani) poet, lyricist and scriptwriter from Indiamarker. 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. Akhtar continues to be prominent in Bollywood and is a sought-after lyricist.

Early life and background

Akhtar was born in Gwalior State (now Gwaliormarker, Madhya Pradeshmarker) to Jan Nisar Akhtar, a Bollywood film songwriter and Urdu poet, and Singer 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. By him, he is also connected to Maulana Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, the philosopher, poet, religious scholar who was one of the main figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and who edited the first works of Ghalib. Akhtar has one sibling; his younger brother is renowned psychoanalyst Salman Akhtar.

After his birth, his parents moved to Lucknowmarker, Uttar Pradeshmarker, and later to Aligarhmarker. Young Javed Akhtar lost his mother at a tender age and his father frequently moved back and forth between Lucknow and Bombaymarker, 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 Bhopalmarker where he earned a B.A.. He was a keen debater in college and won the Rotary Club Prize frequently.


Akhtar 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.

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 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, Lakhshya, Rock On!! etc. the latter script was written by Javed. Javed Akhtar has not worked with his old associate Salim Khan, the father of Salman, Arbaz, and Sohail Khan since their split up.

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 the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan have sung some of his non-movie poetry.

Javed Akhtar was also a judge alongside Anu Malik, Kailash Kher & Sonali Bendre on India's famous singer hunt Indian Idol 4. He is also on the advisory board of Asian Academy Of Film And Television.

Personal life

Akhtar was married to Honey Irani, a script-writer for Hindi films, with whom he had two children Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar, both film directors.

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


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

Javed has won the National Award for five times. In 1996 for Best Lyricist for the film 'SAAZ' and 1997 National Award for 'Border'. It was a hat trick when he again won the National Award in 1998 for "Godmother". In the year 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’.

He has won the 1995 &1997 Screen Videocon Awards. He also won first 'ZEE AWARD' for Best Lyricist for 'Sandese Aate Hain' from the film 'Border'. He was awarded Videocon Screen award as well as Zee Lux Cine award for 'Panchhi Nadiyan Pawan Ke Jhonke...' for 'Refugee'.

In the year 2001 Javed received 'National Integration Award' from 'All India Anti-Terrorist Association' and 'Avadh Ratan' from U.P. Government. He also won 'Hakim Khan Sur Sammaan Award 2003' from Maharana Mewar Foundation, Udaipur.



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

He has been awarded the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award 14 times.


See also


  • Chopra, Anupama, Sholay - The Making Of A Classic (Penguin Books) 2000 ISBN 0-14-029970-X


He Holds shares through the company Jack Fish Ltd

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