Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar Biography

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January 17, 1945


Javed Akhtar is a renowned poet, scriptwriter and lyricist. He has written scripts for blockbuster movies like Sholay, Haathi Mere Saathi, Deewar and Don along with Salim Khan. He is also known for penning the lyrics of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha, Sandese Aate hain, Kal Ho Na Ho and Tere Liye among others.

Early Life

Javed Akhtar was born with the name Jadoo, picked from a line of his father’s poem ‘Lamba lamba kisi jadoo ka fasana hoga. ’ Later, he became officially known as Javed, as it was the closest to the word Jadoo. In his early days, he studied in Colvin Taluqdars’ College in Lucknow and the Minto Circle, finishing his matriculation from Aligarh Muslim University. In October 1964, he arrived in Mumbai, working as an assistant and trying to get an entry into Bollywood. During the shooting of the film Sarhadi Lootera in 1966, he met minor actor Salim Khan.

Salim Khan used to assist writer director Abrar Alvi, Salim used to form stories and plots while Javed helped in forming the dialogues. Soon, the duo made their presence felt as Salim - Javed. They were hired as resident screenwriters by G P Sippy’s, Sippy Films and produced many successful films. In the 1970’s the concept of same writer for screenplay story and dialogue did not exist, nor were credits given to writers in the title.

Entry in Bollywood

Salim–Javed’s first success story came with scripting of the 1971 film Andaz; the film Adhikar followed it in the same year. Soon, Rajesh Khanna gave them the chance to become screenplay writers for the epic movie Haathi Mere Sathi. Other success stories ensued rapidly with films like Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), Zanjeer (1973), Haath ki Safai (1974) and Deewar (1975). The year 1975, saw Salim-Javed scripting for the Blockbuster Sholay. The idea for the film began with a four line snippet by Salim-Javed which was liked by Ramesh Sippy, who hired the Duo to develop it further. The original idea of the film involved an army officer who hires two ex- army men to avenge the murder of his family. The army officer was later changed to a police officer as Sippy thought it would be difficult to get permission to shoot army activities. Salim-Javed soon incorporated the names and personality traits of the various actors and their friends and finished the script for Sholay within one month.

The other films, the duo are famous for include Don (1978), Trishul (1978), Dostana (1980), Kranti (1981), Zamana (1985) and Mr. India (1987). Together, the duo wrote 24 films, out of which 22 were big hits. The Salim- Javed duo is often considered as the most successful scriptwriters of all-time and the first scriptwriters in Indian cinema to reach star status.

After the split, Javed Akhtar wrote lyrics for films like Silsila in 1981, carrying on scripting for movies like Kuch Naa Kaho (2003), LOC Kargil (2003), Kal Ho Na Ho (2003) and more recently Ek Deewana Tha (2012), Talash (2012) and Vishwaroopam (2013).


In 2013, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu, India's second highest literary honour, for his poetry collection Lava.


• National Award for Best Lyricist five times

• Film Fare Award for Best Script / Best Lyricist sixteen times

• Screen Award for Best Lyricist four times

• Zee Award for Best Lyricist five times

• IIFA Award for Best Lyricist three times

• Sansui Viewers Choice Award four times and countless others


1. Padmabhushan by the Government of India

2. Avadh Ratna from Government of Uttar Pradesh in 2000

3. National Integration Award from All India Anti-Terrorist Association 2001

4. National Integration Award from Mewar Foundation 2001

5. Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration, 2006

6. Nagrik Samman by Mayor of Bhopal 2002 amongst countless other awards.


• Padma Shri 1999,

• Padma Bhusan 1997.

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