Synonymous with some of the sweetest and most melodious lyrics and poetry in Hindi and Urdu, Javed Akhtar was born on January 17, 1945 in the former state of Gwalior, colonial India. Her father was legendary Bollywood lyricist and Urdu poet Jan Nisar Akhtar, who was also a member of the Progressive Writers’ Movement. Her mother, Safia Akhtar was a singer, teacher and writer. Javed Akhtar was named Jadoo Akhtar at birth; however his official name was Javed Akhtar. It also inherits a family heritage of seven generations in which there were eminent writers and poets. It’s no wonder that young Jadoo Akhtar has become a multi-faceted personality as a poet, lyricist and screenwriter. Her maternal uncle was the famous Urdu poet Asrar ul Haq Majaz while her grandfather was Iftikhar Hussain Muztar Khairabadi, most famous for his poem “Main kis ke dil ka ghubar hun”. He is also linked to the philosopher and poet Maulana Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi who participated in the Sepoy mutiny of 1857.
Javed Akhtar grew up in Lucknow and Aligarh. He lost his mother as a child and was sent to study at Colvin Taluqdar College in Lucknow. Then he moved to live with his maternal aunt, Hamida Salim in Aligarh. He studied at Minto Circle in Aligarh and graduated from Aligarh Muslim University and graduated from Saifiya College in Bhopal.
In 1964, Javed Akhtar moved to Mumbai and his date with Bollywood began. He was the screenwriter for Yakeen, which was not a success. He formed a partnership with Salim Khan to work on the Adhikar stuff. GP Sippy Films Sippy hired Salim-Javed to write the scripts for films such as: Andaz, Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay and Don. He also wrote a lot of poetry in Urdu outside of the realms of Bollywood and some of it was published in Tarkash. He worked with his son Farhan Akhtar in films such as Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, Rock On! He worked with his daughter Zoya Akhtar at Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
In 1999 he received the Padma Shri from the Indian government and in 2007 he received the Padma Bhushan. He won 14 Filmfare Awards: seven times for Best Screenplay and eight times for Best Lyrics! He has also been the recipient of the National Award, the Videocon Screen Award, the Zee Award and the Lux Zee Cine Award. He won the National Integration Award from the All India Anti-Terrorist Association and the Avadh Ratan from the UP government and the Hakim Khan Sur Sammaan Award from the Maharana Mewar Foundation, Udaipur. He is a member of the advisory board of the Asian Academy of Film & Television.
Javed Akhtar is an atheist. He is married to movie personality Shabana Azmi.