Javed Akthar is a famous script writer, lyricist, poet and social activist. He comes from an illustrious lineage of writers and poets. His grandfather was the famous Muzter Khairabad and his father, Jan Nisar Akhtar was a renowned Urdu poet and Hindi film lyricist. Javed's mother Safia Akhtar was a famous Urdu writer.
Javed lost his mother at a young age. He spent most of his childhood with his maternal family as his father was frequently shuttling between Lucknow and Mumbai. Javed completed his matriculation from Aligarh Muslim University. He obtained his B.A from Saifiya College in Bhopal. Javed started his career in Mumbai in 1964 ‘ghost writing’ scripts and dialogues. He struggled in his early days in Mumbai often sleeping in studio sets and getting by on free meals. He was later hired by Sippy Films as a resident screenwriter. It was on the sets of “Seeta and Geeta” that he met his future wife Honey Irani.
Javed met Salim Khan during the filming of “Sarhadi Lootera” in 1966. The two of them would go on to script many hit Bollywood blockbusters like “Zanjeer”, “Deewar”, “Sholay”, “Trishul”, creating the ‘angry young man’ persona for Amitabh Bachhan. When the duo parted ways in 1981, Javed started writing song lyrics and garnered intial success with Yash Chopra’s “Silsila”. He has won numerous awards for lyrics and script writing.
Javed Akhtar's collection of Urdu poetry 'Tarkash' is currently on its eleventh edition in Hindi and seventh edition in Urdu. The book is amongst the most sold book of verses in the last 60 years. He has also written poems which talk about national integration, secularism and women's rights. Javed was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2007.
Javed Akhtar led a movement to lobby for higher royalty distributions to musicians against the IPRS and music companies and was instrumental in the passing of the Copyright Amendment Bill of 2012.
He has two children Zoya Akhtar and Farhan Aktar from his marriage with Honey Irani. Javed Akhtar is now married to actress, social activist and former Member of Parliament Shabana Azmi.