One hears pensive words written in chaste Urdu, one listens to heart-rending lyrics of a song and one remembers Javed Akhtar, a person who perhaps has only Gulzar for a living competitor. He is today the most sought-after lyricist in Bollywood.
Akhtar was born to a well-known poet and lyricist Jan Nisar Akhtar and a teacher-cum-writer Safia Akhtar on 17th January,1945 in Gwalior. The poet christened his son Jadoo after being influenced by the line " Lamba, lamba kisi jadoo ka fasana hoga..." The name Javed emerged from Jadoo. Akhtar has poesy flowing in his veins - his ancestors were poets too. It is worth mentioning that he is Muzter Khairabadi, the Urdu poet of maximum renown. Having lost his mother at a tender age, Akhtar and his brother grew up mostly among relatives. He matriculated from the Aligarh Muslim University and then went on to Saifiya College, Bhopal to pursue his undergraduate studies. Alongside academics, the young man excelled in debating.
The year 1964 brought him to Mumbai and he lent his verses to some minor films. He then started working as an assistant in dialogue writing. Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar were close associates and they worked in tandem in many films before they split permanently in the year 1980. He married Honey Irani, a script writer with whom he had two children - Farhan and Zoya. The marriage however was not to succeed for too long a time and following the break-up, Akhtar married Shabana Azmi, the daughter of Kaifi Azmi.
Javed Akhtar's poetry is evocative and reflective. Apart from writing for Hindi films, he also writes Urdu poetry independently. Eminent singers like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Jagjit Singh have lent their heart-rending voices to Akhtar's lines.
Akhtar has been honoured by the government of India twice - the Padma Shree in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2007. He has 5 National Film awards and 7 Filmfare awards to his credit and the future anticipates many more of these recognitions.