Javed Akhtar's writing tips

He is a recipient of the Padma Shri (1999), Padma Bhushan (2007) (3rd highest civilian award in India), the Sahitya Akademi Award (literary honor in India) and also five National Film Awards.


He has written lyrics for over 100 Bollywood movies and scripts for over 30 movies.

He is the son of well-known poet and film lyricist Jan Nisar Akhtar and Safia Akhtar, teacher and writer, Javed Akhtar belongs to a family lineage that can be traced back to seven generations of writers.

He has been known for his upfront, socially apt and respectable towards woman style of writing. He doesn't objectify people, rather highlights social issues and concerns in the society. Underlining the inferences in the understanding between relationships. 

On his celebrated and lauded style of writing, he says, "You see, screenplay needs a lot of craft. You can have spontaneity when thinking of the story or of characters. I think art is produced in a kind of a paradox, in a kind of contradiction, in Ghalib’s words, ‘Bekhudi wa Hoshiyari’. Any type of art, whether it is music, dance, poetry or writing consists of two factors, which are ostensibly not compatible. One is craft and the other is imagination, passion and emotion. I will give you an example, let’s say you are acting in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as Prince Hamlet and have to say the line - ‘To Be or Not To Be’. On one hand you have to get into the skin of the character and emote in that way and on the other, you have to remember the direction given by the director to reach the chalk mark and face a certain light at the end of the line. The artist does both the things together and that’s why art is a natural paradox."

"Also, when you are writing a story, on one hand you are living the agony, the pain, the feeling, emotions and reactions of the character, and at the same time, there is another person within you who is watching the growth and the direction and warns you not to take a certain direction and warns you that it may lead you to a a dead end. This side is totally calculated and it is happening at the same time. If you are too emotional your calculation will go haywire and vice versa. Both have to happen in the right proportion and at the same time. This is why it is a paradox."

Words of wisdom from a powerful writer.