Javed Akhtar’s body of work can be categorized under three distinct categories:
a) Script Writer
Along with his ex-partner, Salim, he scripted super hits like, ‘Zanjeer’, ‘Deewar’,’ Sholay’, ‘Haathi Mere Saathi’, ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’, ‘Don’, ‘Trishul’, etc. Salim-Javed as a writer-duo gave Indian Cinema the memorable persona of the ‘Angry Young Man’.
After the split from his partner Salim (in 1981), he has written a list of successful films, notable amongst them are, ‘Sagar’, ‘Mr. India’, ‘Betaab’, ‘Arjun’ and Lakshya etc.
Javed started writing Urdu poetry in 1980. His first collection of Nazms and Ghazals entitled, ‘TARKASH’ has had a very successful release in 1995. It is already in its ninth edition in Hindi, and fifth edition in Urdu. It has received rave reviews both as a book and as India’s first audiobook (available on cassettes and CD) brought out by PLUS MUSIC. The audiobook has sold more than a hundred thousand copies.
Javed is also a respected social commentator and activist. He has written a large number of poems against communalism and social injustice and for National Integration and Women’s Rights. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has declared his song, beckoning the misguided youth to come forward and build the country, the National Anthem for Youth in 1995.
He is a founder member of the respected Muslim Intelligentsia group that has been vocal against fundamentalism of all hues and seeks to lead Muslims to concentrate on education and women’s rights.
On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti 2nd October 2003, he released the declaration of Muslims for Secular Democracy (MFSD). MFSD, of which Javed Akhtar is president, was formed after consultation with a large number of organizations and intellectuals from all sections of society. MFSD has not only taken a secular, liberal, and progressive stand but to a great extent has succeeded in building a consensus on controversial issues of Muslims such as the Uniform Civil Code, Triple Talaq, Haj Subsidy, etc. It is heartening to note that MFSD has found support amongst both Teachers and Students Associations of Aligarh Muslim University. Chapters of MFSD have been launched in cities like Aligarh, Allahabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, and Mumbai. It is an ongoing process.
He is an active member of “Citizens for Justice and Peace”. CJP is an organization for eleven people that has kept the Gujarat Genocide issue alive and has taken the Gujarat government to court.
India Today a weekly magazine equal to Time and News Week has included Javed Akhtar’s name in a list of 50 Most Powerful People in the Country.
Javed Akhtar is an avid reader with a keen interest in politics. His poetry reflects both his political awareness and his literary concerns. His latest book of poetry in Urdu LAVA was released in New Delhi by Vice President Sh. Hamid Ansari and in Mumbai by Lata Mangeshkar.
He was awarded the civilian honor of Padma Shri in 1999, followed by the Padma Bhushan in 2007. He has received the Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu for his poetry collection ‘Lava’ and also won several National Film Awards for his contributions to the film industry. Javed Akhtar has been given Hon. Doctorate from Pondicherry University – Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) 2010.
Javed Akhtar was Nominated to Rajya Sabha as a Member of Parliament by the President of India in 2010. He was the leading force behind the recently passed Copyright Amendment bill that restores dignity to lyrics and music composers and gives them what is rightfully theirs in terms of royalty.
A highly respected writer and social commentator Javed Akhtar is admired for his secular, liberal, and progressive values.
AWARDS: FOR FILMS
• National Award for Best Lyricist five times. Of these three of them were in an unprecedented row.
• Film Fare Award for Best Script / Best Lyricist sixteen times.
• Screen Award for Best Lyricist four times.
• Zee Award for Best Lyricist five times.
• IIFA Award for Best Lyricist three times.
• Sansui Viewers Choice Award four times
and countless others.
AWARDS FOR ACTIVISM
• Padma Shri in 1999
• Padma Bhushan by the Government of India, given to eminent citizens for excellence in their field and distinguished contribution to society.
• Avadh Ratna from Government of Uttar Pradesh in 2000.
• National Integration Award from All India Anti-Terrorist Association 2001.
• National Integration Award from Mewar Foundation 2001.
• Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration, 2006.
• Nagrik Samman by Mayor of Bhopal 2002 amongst countless other awards.
Awards for Literature
• Sahitya Akademi Award – 2013 for LAVA (Urdu Poetry Collection)
• Harvard University – Keynote speaker on Secular elements in Urdu poetry.
• Columbia University – Keynote speaker on Social Justice and Communal Harmony.
• University of Mary Land – Keynote speaker on Forces to counter fundamentalism.
• Berkeley California – Indian Politics & Divisive Forces
• University of London – Modern Urdu Poetry
• University of Cambridge – Indian Society – Indian Cinema
• University of Oxford – Indian Cinema & New Icons.
• Jawahar Lal Nehru University
• Aligarh Muslim University
• Vishwa Bharati University