Javed Akhtar: 53 years of amazement

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Javed Akhtar

“Dilon mein tum apni betabiyan leke chal rahe ho, toh zinda ho tum. Nazar mein khwabon ki biljliyan leke chal rahe ho toh, zinda ho tum.”

Javed Akhtar, the poet, lyricist, screenwriter and the man of Rekhta marks his 75th birthday today. His poems are a pure piece of art whereas the lyrics such as of Madhuri Dixit’s iconic “Ek do teen” are nothing less than amazing! Akhtar’s contribution to Hindi cinema is a blessing and his part of poetic journey inspires people like nothing before. Starting his career as a dialogue writer in films such as 1969’s ‘Yakeen’ from being a part of the story writing at Sippy Films, the man has come a long way since then. The immeasurable piece of success slightly share’s its share with legendary duo of Javed- Salim’s story writing as seen in the film ‘Sholay’. Whether be it his poems or lyrics, they all talk about life and the art of living.

“Elaaj Dard e dil tum se maseeha ho nahin sakta, tum acha nahin kar sakte, main acha ho nahin sakta!”- Muztar Khairatabadi.

These lines talks about how cruel life can be to the one and how slowly we adjusts with it magnificently. A part of these phrases also reflects the unfulfilled love, we each have in ourselves. We all have sorrows to share, but these silent sorrows is what makes us strong and helps us understand the beauty of being alone yet the power of togetherness. Inspired by his grandfather Muztar Khairatabadi, who too was an Urdu poet, Akhtar brings light to his poetic world through his words. While most of Hussain’s poems were appreciated or published mainly after his death, Javed’s work on the other hand is well documented. Javed Akhtar through his poetry has been conferred with dozens of accolades and awards for his incredible art of words. Ladies and Gentlemen! Let’s dive into the poetic journey of Javed Akhtar and explore the gems of his creativity!

Javed Akhtar- A man made of words!

“I started writing poetry around 1978-1979. It’s not surprising that I started writing poetry, but what is indeed more surprising is that why didn’t I start writing poetry earlier in life… This is because, on my father’s side, poetry has been a part of our family for seven generation.” Javed Akhtar said on the last episode of The Golden Years: 1950-1975.

Javed Akhtar

Born in 1945 Gwalior, Javed Akhtar’s real name wasn’t Javed but Jadoo. He was given this name by his father who penned it from one of his poetry “Lamha, lamha kisi jadoo ka fasana hoga”! But later he was officially given the name Javed since it was closest to the word Jadoo. Having a family of poetry, Javed wasn’t exceptional, he started writing poems since a young age. Javed Akhtar was greatly inspired by a Pakistani poet Ibn-e-Safi and also from his own grandfather with whom he shared a great bond. Well, his entry in the Hindi Cinema wasn’t out of nowhere but what followed was struggles, sacrifices and several starving nights. When he first came to Mumbai, Akhtar was a homeless man without any money for food or shelter. He slept several nights under the trees on shallow corridors of Mumbai and later took shelter in Kamal Amrohi Studio in Jogeshwari.

He entered Hindi Cinema during 1970’s, a time when there was no credit given to the writers involved in the film and nobody includes the same writer for screenplay, lyrics or dialogue writing while making any. The credit goes to Rajesh Khanna who gave Akhtar and Salim a chance to write the screenplay by themselves in the film ‘Haathi Mera Saathi’. Together they wrote almost 24 films such as ‘Andaz’, ‘Adhikar’, ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’ and many more, also including 2 Telugu films ‘Manushulu Chesina Dongalu’ and ‘Yugandhar’. They together also wrote one Kannada film ‘Premada Kaanike’. Their major hit was ‘Zamana’ and ‘Mr. India’. Akhtar’s first film as songwriter was ‘Silsila’ released in 1981. His work ‘Main aur meri awaargi’ for the film ‘Duniya’ was incredibly delightful which still gives a nostalgia about the remising melody of the retro era.   

The lyrical maestro Javed Akhtar has been awarded by the prestigious Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1999, later followed by the Padma Bhushan in the year 2007. He has been also conferred by second highest literary honour of India Sahitya Akademi award, 14 Filmfare Awards and almost five National Film awards! Akhtar is a man of uncomplicated words, and that’s the beauty of his poetry which lies in his simplicity. No one needs a translation for the words he wrote and maybe this the reason why people explode with cries of Wah! Wah! every time the man steps on the stage. His poetries are richer of life whereas his songs are full of emotions and melodies. And perhaps his inspiration lies in the phenomenon of time which is nothing but the core of Javed Akhtar’s poetries. He is indeed a master craftsmen when it comes to influencing one from the power of words.  

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