The Eleventh Edition of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest
Monday, November 16th to Sunday, November 22nd 2020

Virtual Festival
Real Books

Live on YouTube, Facebook,
Twitter & Instagram

Javed Akhtar

Poet & Lyricist, India

Son of well-known Urdu 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. The highly respected Urdu poet, Majaz was his mother’s brother and the work of Muzter Khairabadi, his grandfather, is looked upon as a milestone in Urdu Poetry.

Javed Akhtar did his schooling at the Cambridge School in Bhopal, Calvin Talukadar College in Lucknow, Minto Circle at Aligarh, and graduated from Saifiya College, Bhopal in 1964.

His body of work can be categorized under four distinct categories:
a) Script Writer b) Lyricist c) Poet d) Activist

5 National Awards by Government of India as Best Lyricist three of them in a row an unprecedented achievement.
15 Film Fare Awards which are considered to be India’s Oscars as Best Script Writer and Best Lyricist.

Hon. Doctorate(Doctor of Letters) by Symbiosis International( Deemed University) 2019
Lifetime Achievement Award – Times Litfest 2019
Hon. Doctorate(Doctor of Letters) by Jamia Hamdard University 2019
Ghalib Award for poetry 2018
Sankat Mochan Shanti Doot Award 2018
Hindi Akademi Shalaka Award 2018
Sahitya Akademi Award 2014 ( The Central Academy of Literature )
Hon. Doctorate( Doctor of Letters) by Pondicherry University 2010
Padma Bhushan Award 2007 ( 2nd highest civilian honour for excellence in writing ) by Government of India.
Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration 2006
Padmashri in 1999 by the Government of India


Harvard University
Columbia University
University of Mary Land
Berkeley California
University of Cambridge
University of Oxford
London School of Economics

His first collection of poetry ‘Tarkash’ is in its twenty first edition in Hindi, and ninth edition in Urdu. It has received rave reviews both as a book and as India’s first audio book. According to a recent survey done by a publisher’s organization, ‘Tarkash’ is the most sold book of verses in the last 60 years in India. It has been translated in English, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi and recently in French ‘D’Autres Mondes’ to rave reviews and he was invited to recite at the historic Musee De La Poesie in Paris. It has now been translated in Italian ‘In altre parole, altri mondi’. He was invited to recite at University of
Rome(Sapienza), Italy. The book was released by the Ambassador of India in Italy. His 2nd publication of verses titled Lava was released in 2012 and is still on the list of 10 best sellers in Hindi.

His books ‘Talking Films’ & ‘Talking Songs’ published by Oxford University Press have been hailed by film critics as the most definitive works on Indian Cinema and are in the libraries of major Ivy League Universities in USA

Javed Akhtar has been nominated to Rajya Sabha (Upper House) as Member of Parliament by President of India 2010. He is the architect of the Copyright Amendment Bill passed by both Houses of Indian Parliament which after a long struggle has finally given Copyright royalties to Writers and Music Directors.

He was the Vice – President of International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) the first Asian to be on the Governing Board of CISAC. Javed Akhtar is the Chairman of IPRS which is the Government recognized Copyright Society of India.

A multi-faceted personality Javed Akhtar is also a celebrated T.V anchor who has had talk shows on Zee TV, Epic Channel and Tata Sky has dedicated solely to him on which he explains the intricacies of poetry in a language that is simple to understand and relates dohas ( two line poems in Hindi) and urdu poetry to everyday living.

Highly regarded as a social commentator and respected for his liberal progressive values Javed Akhtar is considered one of India’s 50 most powerful people in a survey conducted by India today.

He is married to film actress Shabana Azmi and has two children Zoya who is a writer – director and Farhan Akhtar who is and actor, singer, writer, director and producer.



Tata Literature Live! 2020 Poet Laureate

  • 20th November
  • 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Presentation to Javed Akhtar with a citation by Ashutosh Gowariker, followed by a reading of his poems; accompanied by Rakshanda Jalil; and a conversation with Anil Dharker.

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