Lyricist Javed Akhtar and His Creations

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Javed Akhtar [ জাভেদ আখতার ] is an Indian poet, lyricist, screenwriter and progressive political activist. He is famous for his contribution to Indian Hindi cinema. He has been awarded five National Film Awards. He has been awarded 13 Filmfare Awards. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2006.

Lyricist Javed Akhtar and His Creations, Javed Akhtar [ জাভেদ আখতার ]
Javed Akhtar [ জাভেদ আখতার ]
Javed Akhtar started working in Hindi cinema as a duo. His partner was Selim Khan, the father of Filmstar Salman Khan. They debuted as Selim-Javed duo. They achieved his success as screenwriters in the 1983 film Zanzibar.

Then in 1975 he wrote two films “Diwar” and “Shole”. These two films became so popular that at one stage they had a significant impact on the culture of the time. Then he started writing songs. He quickly gained acclaim for his work as a lyricist.

Awards and nominations to Javed Akhtar:

Year Award Category Outcome Work
1996 National Film Awards Best Lyrics Won Saaz
1997 National Film Awards Best Lyrics Won Border
1998 National Film Awards Best Lyrics Won Godmother
2000 National Film Awards Best Lyrics Won Refugee
2001 National Film Awards Best Lyrics Won Lagaan
1995 Filmfare Awards Best Lyrics Won “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha” from 1942: A Love Story
1997 Filmfare Awards Best Lyrics Won “Ghar Se Nikalte” from Papa Kehte Hai
1989 Filmfare Awards Best Lyrics Nominated “Ek Do Teen” from Tezaab
1990 Filmfare Awards Best Dialogue Won Main Azaad Hoon
1998 Filmfare Awards Best Lyrics Won “Sandese Aate Hai” from Border
1998 Filmfare Awards Best Lyrics Nominated “Chand Taare” from Yes Boss
1999 Filmfare Awards Best Lyrics Nominated “Mere Mehboob Mere Sanam” from Duplicate
1984 Filmfare Awards Best Story Nominated Betaab
1985 Filmfare Awards Best Story Nominated Mashaal
1986 Filmfare Awards Best Story Nominated Arjun
2001 Filmfare Awards Best Lyrics Won “Panchchi Nadiyaan” from Refugee
2002 Filmfare Awards Best Lyrics Won “Radha Kaise Naa Jale” from Lagaan
2002 Filmfare Awards Best Lyrics Nominated “Mitwa” from Lagaan
2011 Mirchi Music Awards Album of The Year Nominated Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
2011 Mirchi Music Awards Lyricist of The Year Won “Khwabon Ke Parindey” from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
2011 Mirchi Music Awards Lyricist of The Year Nominated “Senorita” from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
2012 Mirchi Music Awards Lyricist of The Year Won “Jee Le Zara” from Talaash
2014 Mirchi Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award Won
2015 Mirchi Music Awards Album of The Year Nominated Dil Dhadakne Do
2015 Mirchi Music Awards Lyricist of The Year Nominated “Phir Bhi Yeh Zindagi” from Dil Dhadakne Do

Rajiv Vijayakar, an Entertainment journalist who interviews stars, filmmakers, music people, writers & technicians in Hindi Cinema, wrote about Javed Akhtar:

Javed Akhtar discovered his genetic trait quite late. Born on 17 January 1945 to the brilliant but not very prolific poet-lyricist Jan Nisar Akhtar, he came to Bombay to become a writer and, after a stint as an assistant director with Kamal Amrohi, he first wrote dialogues for a stunt film called Sarhadi Lutera (1966).

Javed Akhtar
Javed Akhtar

In 1970, he joined G.P. Sippy’s Sippy Films as a writer, which also employed Salim Khan. They struck up a friendship with superstar Rajesh Khanna who was doing Andaz and joined hands when they were commissioned to do the screenplay for a film made in the south, Haathi Mere Saathi (1971). Though they worked a bit on Andaz and contributed a lot to Seeta Aur Geeta, they turned independent writers with Zanjeer (1973).

After this, they produced a series of hits and superhits, emerging as Hindi cinema’s highest-paid writers who, for the first time, were given higher billing than the composers. Yaadon Ki Baraat, Haath Ki Safai, Majboor, Aakhri Dao and the brilliant Deewaar were the films they scripted before Hindi cinema’s biggest hit ever, Sholay (1975). This was followed by films like Chacha Bhatija, Don and Trishul.

Javed Akhtar’s Contribution as Screenwriter:

Year Film Language Director Cast Written as
1971 Andaz Hindi Ramesh Sippy Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini, Shammi Kapoor, Simi Garewal Salim-Javed
1971 Adhikar Hindi S.M. Sagar Ashok Kumar, Nanda, Deb Mukherjee Salim-Javed
1971 Haathi Mere Saathi Hindi M. A. Thirumugham Rajesh Khanna, Tanuja Salim-Javed
1972 Seeta Aur Geeta Hindi Ramesh Sippy Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar Salim-Javed
1973 Yaadon Ki Baaraat Hindi Nasir Hussain Dharmendra, Vijay Arora, Tariq Khan Salim-Javed
1973 Zanjeer Hindi Prakash Mehra Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Pran Salim-Javed
1974 Majboor Hindi Ravi Tandon Amitabh Bachchan, Parveen Babi, Pran Salim-Javed
1974 Haath Ki Safai Hindi Prakash Mehra Randhir Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Simi Garewal, Ranjeet Salim-Javed
1975 Deewaar Hindi Yash Chopra Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh Salim-Javed
1975 Sholay Hindi Ramesh Sippy Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri Salim-Javed
1975 Aakhri Dao Hindi A. Salaam Jeetendra, Saira Banu, Danny Denzongpa Salim-Javed
1976 Premada Kanike Kannada V. Somashekhar Rajkumar, Aarathi Salim-Javed
1976 Raja Nanna Raja Kannada A. V. Seshagiri Rao Rajkumar, Aarathi Salim-Javed
1977 Immaan Dharam Hindi Desh Mukherjee Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar, Rekha Salim-Javed
1977 Chacha Bhatija Hindi Manmohan Desai Dharmendra, Randhir Kapoor, Hema Malini Salim-Javed
1978 Trishul Hindi Yash Chopra Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini Salim-Javed
1978 Don Hindi Chandra Barot Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Pran (actor) Salim-Javed
1979 Kaala Patthar Hindi Yash Chopra Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Rakhee Gulzar, Shatrughan Sinha, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh Salim-Javed
1980 Dostana Hindi Raj Khosla Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Zeenat Aman, Pran (actor), Amrish Puri Salim-Javed
1980 Shaan Hindi Ramesh Sippy Sunil Dutt, Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Rakhee Gulzar, Kulbhushan Kharbanda Salim-Javed
1981 Kranti Urdu Manoj Kumar Manoj Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Hema Malini, Shashi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha, Parveen Babi Salim-Javed
1982 Shakti Urdu Ramesh Sippy Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Raakhee, Anil Kapoor Salim-Javed
1983 Betaab Urdu Rahul Rawail Sunny Deol, Amrita Singh Javed Akhtar
1984 Duniya Urdu Ramesh Talwar Dilip Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Amrita Singh Javed Akhtar
1984 Mashaal Urdu Yash Chopra Dilip Kumar, Anil Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman Javed Akhtar
1985 Zamana Urdu Ramesh Talwar Rajesh Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Poonam Dhillon, Ranjeeta Kaur Salim-Javed
1985 Saagar Urdu Ramesh Sippy Rishi Kapoor, Kamal Haasan, Dimple Kapadia Javed Akhtar
1985 Arjun Urdu Rahul Rawail Sunny Deol, Dimple Kapadia Javed Akhtar
1985 Meri Jung Urdu Subhash Ghai Anil Kapoor, Meenakshi Sheshadri Javed Akhtar
1987 Mr. India Urdu Shekhar Kapur Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Amrish Puri Salim-Javed
1987 Dacait Urdu Rahul Rawail Sunny Deol, Raakhee Javed Akhtar
1989 Main Azaad Hoon Urdu Tinnu Anand Amitabh Bachchan, Shabana Azmi Javed Akhtar
1992 Khel Urdu Rakesh Roshan Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit Javed Akhtar
1993 Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja Urdu Satish Kaushik Anil Kapoor, Sridevi Javed Akhtar
1995 Prem Hindi Satish Kaushik Sanjay Kapoor, Tabu Javed Akhtar
1998 Kabhi Na Kabhi Hindi Priyadarshan Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff Javed Akhtar
2004 Lakshya Urdu Farhan Akhtar Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, Amitabh Bachchan Javed Akhtar
2006 Don: The Chase Begins Again Urdu Farhan Akhtar Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra Javed Akhtar

 

About his transition to lyrics writing (he last wrote dialogues for Gold this year), Akhtar feels that his genetic leaning finally spoke, not just from his father but also his grandfather Muztar Khairabadi. His maternal uncle also was the famous poet Majaz.

Akhtar was always interested in poetry and is a voracious reader, besides being an avid film music buff. He started writing around 1979 and showed some work to Yash Chopra, who liked it enough to sign him for Silsila. Around the same time, Raman Kumar signed him for his first solo film as a lyricist in Saath Saath. Sadly, Akhtar’s father died three years before seeing his son take up his profession.

Javed Akhtar
Javed Akhtar

With his newfound ability to write lyrics, Akhtar opted out of his partnership with Salim Khan and went his own way, though in his first independent film as a writer, Betaab, as well as in a few other movies, he did not write lyrics.

Despite rich lyrics in later films like Duniya, Mashaal, Arjun and Saagar (all scripted by him too). Akhtar got recognition as a commercially saleable lyricist only with Mr India (1987) which he also completed as it was a script originally penned by the Salim Javed duo.

There were reasons for this: Akhtar had been branded as a poetic lyricist and his films had not done too well, whereas in Mr India, two songs of the kind no one expected him to write the crazy ‘Hawa Hawaif and the seductive ‘Kaate nahin kat te yeh din yeh raat were superhits. When Tezaab (1988) followed, with the cult ‘Ek do teen char and other hits, Akhtar arrived he stopped writing scripts as he gradually grew as a songwriter.

List of Film’s & Songs written by Javed Akhtar:

1942: A Love Story (1994)

  • Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To – Kumar Sanu
  • Kuchh Na Kaho (Sad) – Lata Mangeshkar
  • Pyaar Hua Chupke Se – Kavita Krishnamurthy
  • Rim Jhim Rim Jhim – Kumar Sanu, Kavita Krishnamurthy
  • Rooth Na Jaana – Kumar Sanu
  • Yeh Safar – Shibaji Chatterjee

1947 Earth

  • Ruth Aa Gayee Re – Sukhwinder Singh
  • Banno Rani – Sadhana Sargam
  • Ishwar Allah – Anuradha Sriram, Sujatha Mohan
  • Dheemi Dheemi – Hariharan
  • Raat Ki Daldal Hain – Sukhwinder Singh
  • Yeh Jo Zindagi Hain – Srinivas, Sujata Trivedi

A

Abhay [ Tamil – Aalavandhan ]

  • Aa Hi Gaya Dekho Abhay – Shankar Mahadevan
  • Hans De Hans De – Shankar Mahadevan, Kamal Haasan, Mahalakshmi Iyer
  • Hey! Who Are you – Kamal Haasan, Manisha Koirala
  • Kal Tak Mujhko Gaurav Tha – Kamal Haasan
  • Koyal Se Mili Tumko – Shankar Mahadevan, Sujatha Mohan
  • Zingoria (Joote Ke Chaal Liye) – Nandini Srikar

Agni Varsha

  • Anchal Ki Chhaya – Pamela Jain
  • Chal Re Sajan – Jaspinder Narula
  • Din Andhiyaare – Ustad Sultan Khan
  • Dole Re – KK, K S Chithra
  • Prem Ki Varsha – Alka Yagnik

Aisha (2010)
Arjun
Arjun Pandit
Armaan
Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya

B

Baadshah
Bada Din
Badhaai Ho Badhaai
Border
Bose: The Forgotten Hero

C

Chalte Chalte
Champion
Charas

D

Darmiyaan: In Between
Dastak
Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal
Dil Chahta Hai
Dil Dhadakne Do (2015)
Dil Jo Bhi Kahey…
Diljale
Dillagi
Dobara
Don 2: The King is Back (2011)
Don: The Chase Begins Again
Drohi
Duniya (1984)
Duplicate

E

Ekk Deewana Tha (2012)

G

Gang
Gardish
Godmother
Gully Boy (2019)

H

Hafta Bandh
Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai

J

Jaadugar
Jamai Raja
Jeans (Dubbed version)
Jodhaa Akbar
Joshilaay

K

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna
Kabhi Na Kabhi
Kal Ho Naa Ho
Karobaar
Karthik Calling Karthik (2010)
Khel
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (2010)
Kisna: The Warrior Poet
Kuch Naa Kaho
Kyun! Ho Gaya Na…

L

L.O.C. Kargil
Laawaris
Lagaan
Lakshya
Love at Times Square
Luck by Chance (2009)

M

Main Hoon Na (2004)
Mangal Pandey: The Rising
Mashaal
Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai
Mil Gayee Manzil Mujhe
Mohenjo Daro (2016)
Moksha
Mr. India
Mrityudand

N

Namastey England (2018)
Namastey London
Narsimha (1991)

O

Om Shanti Om

P

Paltan (2018)
Panga(2020)
Papa Kehte Hai
Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani
Prem Kaa Game (2010)
Pyar Ki Dhun

R

Raees (2017)
Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya
Red Alert: The War Within (2010)
Refugee
Rock On 2
Rock On!!
Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja

R

Saagar
Saath-Saath
Saaz
Sailaab
Sapnay (Dubbed version)
Sardari Begum
Satta
Silsila (1981)
Swades

T

Ta Ra Rum Pum
Talaash (2012)
Tehzeeb
Tezaab
The Hero: Love Story of a Spy
Traffic Signal (2009)

V

Veer-Zaara (2004)
Virasat
Vishwaroop (2013)

W

Wajood
Wake Up Sid (2009)
Welcome
What’s Your Raashee? (2009)

Y

Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai?
Yes Boss
Yugandhar

Z

Zubeidaa

It was Akhtar who turned the tide when a wave of sleazy lyrics hit Hindi cinema in 1993. 1942- A Love Story (1994) initiated the return of poetic, meaningful lyrics and less than eighteen months after it, Akhtar consolidated good poetry’s commercial viability again with the 1996 film Papa Kahte Hain. The music of this film, composed by Rajesh Roshan, sold so well that it made profits for the flop film, as the production company and music label were the same!Javed Akhtar

In the mid- to late ’90s, Akhtar peaked with a variety of work – in films as well as albums, his assorted movies including Border, Virasat, Yes Boss and Duplicate on the one hand and offbeat films like Saaz, Sardari Begum, Mrityudand and 1947 on the other.

In the millennium, after the exit of the last of the titanic old timers, Javed stepped in (alongside Gulzar and Sameer) to fill the vacuum with movies like Refugee, Main Hoon Na, Chalte Chalte, Kisna, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Veer Zaraa, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Lagaan, Swades, Jodhaa Akbar, Om Shanti Om, Namastey London and other films, with some fresh and noteworthy work in his son’s productions Dil Chahta Hai and Rock On!!.

Javed Akhtar, however, had to bear the brunt of his being at the helm of the crucial struggle for Copyright Amendment laws in India. Copyright laws in India have been there for decades in India as per international norms, but only exist on paper. Ignorance and manipulations down the years by music companies had alienated composers and lyricists (who are the two parents of any song) from their rightful dues, which technically must come to them for any public performance of their songs as well as from sales of recorded music.

The method by which creators were deprived of their rights (and therefore huge monies) was simple: companies got them to sign documents surrendering all rights in perpetuity to them. Akhtar pressed for an amendment that said that such letters, even if signed, would be legally invalid and thus nullified.Javed Akhtar

Despite being jettisoned by almost all film-makers, who also were conned into thinking that they would not get their dues if their films’ music did well, Akhtar relentlessly fought on and the Copyright Amendment Act came into force in 2012.

Today, though Akhtar does little work outside his son’s movies, he has been internationally hailed and recognized for his dedication to the copyright issue and been appointed as the vice-president of CISAC, an international apex body on copyright issues with 21 countries as members. Loma

A born raconteur and orator, Akhtar has been a powerful social activist, and has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha in the Indian Parliament in 2010, a post that he used with good effect for his mission in passing the amendment unanimously across political party lines.

Akhtar was probably the first major lyricist I met who conversed with me in English. He was also the first to tell me that a good lyricist must be a harfan moula (adept at every kind of song, an all rounder) and to also explain that all Hindi film songs basically were written for the same eight or ten situations.Javed Akhtar

He confessed that he had failed to make the grade commercially with Silsila, Saath Saath and Saagar, all of which had poetic lyrics, and made his mark only after Mr India and Tezaab, proving the point that only lyricists who could write light verse were taken seriously!

Articulate and intelligent, Akhtar has sharp, clear opinions on composers, and was very clear about the kind of songs he will not write. He has never written a single song with vulgar innuendo in his entire career, either turning down films or backing out of them even after signing them. Instead he chose to write lyrics for films like 1942: A Love Story, which arguably contributed towards ending the passing reign of innuendo.

‘I write what I like to write: if I do not like what I have written, how will others appreciate my work?’ he asked. ‘Also, I do not think that difficult words or esoteric language improve a song Aesthetics and expression are very important. I dislike symbolism, similes and metaphors that cannot be understood by the common man. A song’s most important quality is that it should be in simple words. I do not like limiting my listeners at all.’

Akhtar told me that both his careers – as writer and as lyricist – were unplanned. ‘I had come here to become a director,” he said, revealing a secret not known to many.

He admitted that the distinct element of prose in his songs came from his experience as scriptwriter. But he added that his idol Sahir Ludhianvi’s lyrics also had that element. “Sahir saab tended to write simple sentences like “Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabee ban jaaye hum dono” from Gumrah or “Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayaal aata hai” from Kabhi Kabhie,’ he noted.Javed Akhtar

Every film, says Akhtar, has its own wavelength, texture and sur. ‘Words, like people, are known by the company they keep said Akhtar passionately. “The dictionary meaning of words is not enough, because what they evoke is also because of their associations over so many years in the subconscious mind of listeners. The bhajan, ghazal, thumri and lori (lullaby) all need different words. The intellectual level of the character and the location and timeframe of the movie are also important. In the lyricist’s quiver, there should be every kind of arrow.

The final process, he says, is akin to a driver shifting his foot from accelerator to brake almost like a reflex after everything conscious and unconscious is internalized.

Having worked with some of the greatest spectrum of composers in Hindi films – from Laxmikant-Pyarelal and R.D. Burman to Anu Malik, Jatin-Lalit, Shiv-Hari, A.R. Rahman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Pritam, Ilaiyaraja, Vanraj Bhatia, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and even Amit Trivedi and Sachin-Jigar, Akhtar insisted that there should be thoughts in the songs rather than just a mechanical pandering to meters. But he admitted that the sound of the words was also important.

Like other lyricists, Akhtar also maintains that a writer’s experience, observation and understanding and personal statements, exhaust his imagination when used up’ cathartically in songs, and so there must be a greater intake of reading and observation. At the same time, a writer cannot afford to be like a lawyer who is all facts-cerebral, prosaic and logical. If he loses his powers of imagination and child-like innocence, he will no longer be able to create.’

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