Javed Akhtar – the poet, lyricist and writer par excellence – has given Indian cinema momentous pieces of art. Starting off as a clapper boy to writing  the most memorable dialogues and song lyrics, Javed Akhtar has won several esteemed awards including the coveted Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.

He started off his career in Hindi cinema along with Salim Khan and they went on to revolutionize the writing culture in Bollywood.  They became an iconic writer duo, fondly called as Salim-Javed, who met on the sets of Sarhadi Lootera. Salim was a small actor and Javed was the clapper boy who later became the dialogue writer for the film. They became friends while working on this film and forged an exemplary writing relationship. As a result of this union, today we have dialogues like “Mere pas maa hai”, Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin, naa mumkin hain” and topping the list is “Kitne aadmi the”, statements that have gone down in the history of Indian cinema.

Today we take a look at some of the most revered works of Javed saab.

As a Writer

Sholay

Still from Sholay

Still from Sholay

Sholay is  a cult classic with all the ingredients required to make a blockbuster Bollywood film. And we’ll have to thank Javed Akhtar and Salim Khan for writing it. Be it action, romance, humor or dance, this movie had it all and will always hold a special place in in Indian cinema. It was Javed Akhtar who had proposed Amjad Khan’s name for ‘Gabbar Singh’ after having spotted him in the play Ai Mere Watan Ke Logo in 1963. Salim-Javed sold two ideas to the producers of the film – the Sippys, the story for Majboor (1974) and a four-line idea which later on went to become Sholay.

Deewar

Still from Deewar

Still from Deewar

Deewar is yet another epochal film starring legendary actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, and Bollywood’s very own Maa – Nirupa Roy. This movie, also written by Salim-Javed gave us one of the most iconic dialogues – ‘Mere pas maa hai’. Finding it’s way in various references in pop culture and memoirs, this movie is loved by Indians. In 2015 Deewar completed 40 years and Amitabh Bachchan thanked Salim-Javed for writing ‘the most perfect script’.

Saagar

Still from Saagar

Still from Saagar

Saagar is one of the beautiful love stories made in Bollywood. Starring Kamal Hassan, Dimple Kapadia and Rishi Kapoor this movie was written by Javed Akhtar. This was one of the few romantic films that Akhtar wrote during this period that was dominated by action cinema. He also wrote the lyrics for the chartbusting songs of the film. Saagar was praised for its story and narration and remains close to our hearts along with the beautiful music it featured.

Mr. India

Still from Mr.India

Still from Mr.India

A film loved by kids and adults alike, Mr.India can easily be called the first Hindi movie with a super hero theme. We all remember the quintessential villain Mogambo and his famous dialogue,“Mogambo khush hua.” Penned by Salim- Javed, this was the last film that they wrote together. Although they had split much before in the early 1980’s, they came back for one last time to script this remarkable movie.

Lakshya

Still from Lakshya

Still from Lakshya

Lakshya was not just any other army-based film. It was a coming of age story with a  unique inspirational and motivational thought. Written by Javed Akhtar, the film was directed by none other than Farhan Akhtar and the father-son duo gave us a memorable movie. Javed Akhtar returned to script writing with this movie after a gap of more than 14 years. His last movie as a scriptwriter was Main Azaad Hoon, released in 1989.

READ: SALIM-JAVED: WRITING DUO THAT REVOLUTIONIZED INDIAN CINEMA

As a Lyricist

Silsila

Still from Silsila

Still from Silsila

Someone says Holi and the first song that comes to mind is, ‘Rang barse bheege chunar wali!’ We owe these exciting and fun lyrics to Javed Akhtar who wrote this and the timeless other songs of the unrivalled love story Silsila. This movie made a mark with its romantic scenes and songs like ‘Neela aasman so gaya’ which is continues to be a favorite of many.

Silsila was Javed Akhtar’s debut as a lyricist. Director Yash Chopra asked him to write lyrics, which surprised Akhtar as he was not inclined to writing songs. But Chopra insisted and that’s how Akhtar’s career as a lyricist started. ‘Dekha ek khwab’ was his first song.

Border

Still from Border

Still from Border

None other than Javed Akhtar could have conveyed the feelings of Indian soldiers away from home in a more authentic manner. The song ‘Sandese aate hai’ and ‘Jaate hue lamhon’ were heart-wrenching numbers that brought tears to the eyes of listeners. The picturisation of the songs and the lyrics beautifully complemented each other and made for soulful war songs in Hindi cinema. Javed Akhtar won several awards for the lyrics of this film that is amongst the most patriotic films in India.

Dil Chahta Hai

Still from Dil Chahta Hai

Still from Dil Chahta Hai

What good is a youth-oriented film without amazing songs that the youth can resonate with? Javed Akhtar knew just that and keeping that in mind, he penned beautiful lyrics for the songs of this applauded film. He wrote songs for every mood, be it a long drive, an energetic dance number or young romance. All the songs from Dil Chahta Hai acquired a cult following and continue to be loved even today. This was his son Farhan Akhtar’s directorial debut and their first official project together.

READ: SEQUELS THAT WE’ LOVE TO SEE IN HINDI CINEMA

Veer Zara

Still from Veer Zaara

Still from Veer Zaara

The music of Veer Zara was legendary and aptly supported by profound lyrics by Javed Akhtar. He captured every essence of the story through his words that celebrated the various emotions in the film – be it eternal love or celebration. The songs of Veer Zara were what wove this film together. Yash Chopra was a very close friend of Javed Akhtar and they have worked together on several films. In fact, Akhtar credits Yash Chopra for making him a lyricist.

Swades

Still from Swades

Still from Swades

One of the most celebrated movies in Hindi cinema, which showcased patriotism in a subtle manner  had Javed Akhtar behind the stirring lyrics of the songs. The lyrics create a sense of love for the country and a profound respect for our roots. Akhtar’s words and A R Rahman’s music have given this album iconic status. Akhtar took home several awards for this film.

These are just a few of our favorites from Javed Akhtar’s esteemed body of work which cannot be encompassed in one article. Tell us about your favorites and they might just make it to the list!

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Javed Akhtar - Creating magic with words
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A look at some of the finest works of the maestro Javed Akhtar.
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