While most of the family members are related to the entertainment industry in some way or the other, there is also a psychoanalyst and a professor of psychiatry in the Akhtar clan! Did you also know about Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar‘s talented cousin who has an Emmy Award to his credit? In today’s edition of ETimes BFFs (Big Filmy Families), we take you through this diverse family.
Jan Nisar Akhtar
Javed Akhtar‘s father and Farhan Akhtar’s grandfather Jan Nisar was a lyricist in Bollywood, but he was also a prolific poet who wrote ghazals and nazms. In his Bollywood career spanning over four decades, he wrote over 150 songs, the most notable work among them being Aankhon hi Aankhon Mein for Guru Dutt’s CID, Yeh dil aur unki nigahon ke saaye for Prem Parbat and Aaja re for Noorie. His last song was Ae dil-e-naadaan for Kamal Amrohi’s Razia Sultan. He married Safia Akhtar in 1943 with whom he had two sons – Javed Akhtar and Salman Akhtar. After Safia died of cancer in 1953, Jan Nisar married again in 1956 to Khadija Talat with whom he had three kids – Uneza Akhtar, Albina Sharma and Shahid Akhtar.
Screenwriter, lyricist and poet Javed Akhtar needs no introduction. He has won five National Awards and two of India’s highest civilian honours – Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Hindi cinema. Some of his most notable works in Bollywood include cult films like Zanjeer, Deewar, Sholay, Don, Mr India among many others. He was married to actress Honey Irani with whom he has two kids – Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar. He later married Shabana Azmi and divorced Irani.
Honey is an actress who started her Bollywood career as a child artist. She became a homemaker after the birth of her children. After her divorce from Javed Akhtar, she raised her kids by doing embroidery on sarees before eventually making a career in screenwriting. She is the youngest of five siblings – two sisters Menka and Daisy and two brothers Bunny and Sarosh. Their father Noshir Irani was a theatre artist who acted in English and Parsi comedy shows. He later migrated to Sydney and continued with his stage shows while also doing business. Honey’s mom Perin was a film producer who made the film Bachpan.
Zoya is a writer and director who studied filmmaking from NYU. She assisted filmmakers like Mira Nair, Tony Gerber and Dev benegal before making a successful directorial debut with Luck By Chance that starred Farhan Akhtar. Thereafter she added gems like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Dhadakne Do, Gully Boy, Made In Heaven among other projects to her credit. She founded Tiger Baby Films along with Reema Kagti. Their next film The Archies starring Suhana Khan, Khushi Kapoor, Agastya Nanda among others is most awaited.
Farhan is a multi-talented artist. He has acted in films like Rock On!!, Luck By Chance, Karthik Calling Karthik, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Toofan among many more. He is also a singer and songwriter and has lent his voice to several chartbusters in films. Farhan has also ventured into filmmaking and has tasted success with critically acclaimed films like Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, Don franchise, Talaash among many others. Jee le Zaraa and Don 3 are the two most anticipated films being produced by Farhan’s Excel Entertainment.
Farhan was earlier married to hair stylist Adhuna Bhabani whom he had met while making Dil Chahta Hai. They have two daughters – Shakya and Akira. They announced their separation after 16 years of marriage and thereafter Farhan married Shibani Dandekar who is a model, VJ, singer and actor.
Like Javed, Shabana too is a winner of five National Awards, a Padma Shri and a Padma Bhushan for her contribution to Indian cinema. Daughter of poet Kaifi Azmi and stage actress Shaukat Azmi, Shabana made her Bollywood debut with the film Ankur in 1974. She is a women’s rights activist and her ideals also reflect in the kind of films she chooses. Some of her most notable work includes films like Arth, Khandhar, Paar, Godmother, Fire among many others. Most recently she was seen in Rocky Aur Ranii Ki Prem Kahaani wherein her onscreen kiss with Dharmendra made a lot of headlines.
Javed Akhtar has a brother named Salman who is an Indian-American psychoanalyst based in the US. He is also an author and a professor of psychiatry in Philadelphia. He had married Raj Verma with whom he has a son Kabir Akhtar and a daughter Nishat Akhtar. He has now separated from Raj.
Kabir is an American television director and editor who has had multiple Emmy nominations. He won an Emmy Award for editing the pilot episode of musical comedy series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Some of his most notable works include Arrested Development, Never Have I Ever, Behind the Music, Young Sheldon, Superstore, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series among others.