Javed Akhtar once said he was sleeping under trees like ‘homeless and jobless’ when he first arrived in Mumbai | Bollywood

Lyricist and screenwriter Javed Akhtar was not well off when he arrived in Mumbai in the 1960s. He once said he was “homeless” at the time and slept “where (he ) imagined it”, including under the trees.

On Javed’s 77th birthday, here’s a look back at his tough days and how he rose above his circumstances to become a film industry legend.

In an interview with Hindustan Times in 2006, Javed talked about living in different cities, but said he “really came alive” in Mumbai. “I slept wherever I pleased – sometimes in a veranda, sometimes in a hallway, sometimes under a tree where several homeless and unemployed people like me also lived,” he said. “Finally, in November 1969, I got a job which, in film parlance, is called a ‘break’,” he added.

Javed, along with his partner Salim Khan, wrote the screenplay for several blockbusters in the 1970s and 80s, including Seeta Aur Geeta, Deewar, Sholay, Don and Mr India. However, they separated in 1982 due to personal differences.

Javed has also won several national awards, including Best Lyricist three years in a row – Saaz in 1997, Border in 1998 and Godmother in 1999. He received a Padma Shri as well as a Padma Bhushan, two of the highest civilian honors in India.

Read also | Shabana Azmi on her parents’ adversarial relationship with ‘married man’ Javed Akhtar; credits first wife Honey Irani

In 2020, Javed recalled his journey and the day he arrived in Mumbai. He tweeted: “It was October 4, 1964 when I arrived in Bombay. This 56 year journey has had many zigzag roads, many roller coasters, ups and downs, but the grand total is heavily in my favor. Thank you Mumbai, thank you film industry, thank you life. You’ve all been too kind.

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