The Talented Maestro: Javed Akhtar

Jan Nisar Akhtar and Safia Akhtar gave birth to Javed Akhtar seventy one years ago. Little did they know that their son would grow up to be a legend the nation will be very proud of. Javed Akhtar was born in Gwalior. His father was a Bollywood songwriter and Urdu poet while his mother was a singer, a teacher and a writer. His father named him Jadoo from a line of one of his poems: "Lamba, lamba kisi jadoo ka fasana hoga". After completing his education in Lucknow, Aligarh and Bhopal, Javed Akhtar came to Bombay in 1964. 

After a couple of tough years, he met Salim Khan and the celebrated duo was born. Salim-Javed churned out some stellar screenplays and entertained the world. They became the resident scriptwriters for G. P. Sippy’s Sippy Films. Most of their films turned to be massive successes and are ranked among the best work in Hindi cinema. Some of their films include Andaz, Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay, Deewar, Don, Shaan, Mr. India and many more. Javed Akhtar used to write his scripts in Urdu while his assistants would translate them into Hindi and English. Together, Salim-Javed were the best in the business

Sadly, the duo parted ways in late-80s and it remains one of Bollywood’s biggest losses. In the eighties, he started writing lyrics and gave us some great songs. His best work includes Ek Ladki Ko Dekha in 1942: A Love Story, Sandese Aate Hain for Border, Panchhi Nadiyan Pawan Ke Jhonke in Refugee, Radha Kaise Na Jale in Lagaan, Kal Ho Naa Ho in Kal Ho Na Ho, Tere Liye in Veer-Zaara and more recently, Jashn-e-Bahara in Jodhaa Akbar. His poetry in daughter Zoya Akhtar‘s Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara won hearts too. 

"Dilon mein tum apni betabiyan leke chal rahe ho.
Toh zinda ho tum!
Nazar mein khwaabon ki bijliyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum!"

He has given us many such beautiful and touching words in the form of Urdu poetry and his best work has been compiled into Tarkash. Javed Akhtar‘s ability to touch hearts with words makes him the best we have today. The maestro won numerous awards including the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2007.  

To many more awards and to a celebrated life, Javed Saab. Happy birthday!

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