Zoya Akhtar

Last updated

Zoya Akhtar
Zoya Akhtar gracing 'Filmfare Glamour & Style Awards 2016' (cropped).jpg
Akhtar at Filmfare Glamour & Style Awards in 2016
Born (1972-10-14) 14 October 1972 (age 48)
Alma mater
Occupation
  • Director
  • screenwriter
Years active1999—present
Notable work
Parents
RelativesSee Akhtar family
Family Farhan Akhtar (brother)

Zoya Akhtar (born 14 October 1972) is an Indian film director and screenwriter. After completing a diploma in filmmaking from NYU, she assisted directors such as Mira Nair, Tony Gerber and Dev Benegal, before becoming a writer and director herself. Akhtar is the recipient of several accolades, including 6 Filmfare Awards. [1]

Contents

She has directed movies such as Luck by Chance (2009), Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011) and Sheila Ki Jawani, a segment of Bombay Talkies (2013). She has co-written Talaash (2012) alongside Reema Kagti. She then went on to direct Dil Dhadakne Do (2015) and Gully Boy (2019).

Personal life

Zoya Akhtar was born to poet, lyricist and screenwriter Javed Akhtar and screenwriter Honey Irani. Akhtar's stepmother is actress Shabana Azmi. [2] Her younger brother, Farhan Akhtar, is an actor and director. She attended Maneckji Cooper and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Xavier's College, both from Mumbai. Later, she joined the New York University Tisch School of the Arts to learn film production.

Her great-grandfather, Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, a scholar of Islamic studies and theology, edited the first diwan of Mirza Ghalib on his request and later became a figure during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 in his native Khairabad. [3]

She is great-granddaughter of Urdu poet Muztar Khairabadi and granddaughter of poet Jan Nisar Akhtar.

Akhtar grew up in an agnostic environment and along with her brother Farhan and father Javed Akhtar, and does not believe in any religion. [4] [5]

Career

Akhtar started her career as the co-director of a music video called Price of Bullets for a rock band called Pentagram. She has worked as a casting director for films including Split Wide Open (1999) and Dil Chahta Hai (2001), and as an assistant director for her brother Farhan Akhtar's films Dil Chahta Hai and Lakshya (2004). She then worked as an executive producer for her longtime associate and friend Reema Kagti's Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007), also produced by Excel Entertainment. [6]

Zoya (right) with Reema Kagti Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar.jpg
Zoya (right) with Reema Kagti

Akhtar made her directorial debut with Luck By Chance (2009), starring her brother Farhan Akhtar and Konkona Sen Sharma. It tells the story of a struggling actor who breaks into the industry. The film was well received by critics, despite underperforming at the box office. [7] [8]

In 2011, she directed Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara , which starred an ensemble cast of Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin. [9] It turned out to be a huge commercial success at the box-office and won her the Filmfare Award for Best Director.

In 2013, Akhtar teamed up with Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar for Bombay Talkies . It was made as a celebration of 100 years of Indian cinema. [10] [11] She then went on to direct Dil Dhadakne Do (2015), a film based on a dysfunctional Punjabi family starring Anil Kapoor as an egotistical industrialist, Shefali Shah as his bitter socialite-wife, and Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh as their children. The film also featured Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar as love interests for Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra respectively. [12] [13]

In 2018, she then again teamed up with Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar for Lust Stories , which premiered on Netflix in June 2018.

After Dil Dhadakne Do, Akhtar directed Gully Boy starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt., [14] loosely based on the lives of Mumbai rapper Naezy. [15] Gully Boy won a second Best Director award at Filmfare. She thus became the only female director to win the award twice.

Zoya and Kagti also worked on a story for a web series produced by Tiger Baby Films and Excel Entertainment for Amazon Prime called Made in Heaven, a story about two wedding planners in New Delhi. [16] [17]

She has also been invited to be a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. [18]

As of October 2019, she is directing a segment of Ghost Stories (2020), an horror anthology film, consisting of 4 short film segments. Other segments are directed by Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, and Karan Johar. [19] Ghost Stories premiered on Netflix on 1 January 2020. [20]

Filmography

Director

YearFilmDirectorWriterProducerNote(s)
2007 Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. NoNoYes
2009 Luck By Chance YesYesexecutiveDirector Debut
2011 Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara YesYesNoco-writer : Reema Kagti
2012 Talaash NoYesNoco-writer : Reema Kagti
2013 Bombay Talkies YesYesNo anthology film; Segement: Sheila Ki Jawaani
2015 Dil Dhadakne Do YesYesNoco-writer : Reema Kagti
2018 Lust Stories YesYesNo anthology film
2019 Gully Boy YesYesYesco-writer : Reema Kagti
2019 Made in Heaven YesYesNoTV series
2 episodes
2020 Ghost Stories YesYesNoAn anthology film; [19] Segement: Story 1

Executive Producer

YearFilmProducer
2007 Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidhwani
2009 Luck By Chance

Lyricist

YearFilm
2004 Bride and Prejudice

Other Appearances

She appeared on the Valentine's Day charity show of Kaun Banega Crorepati along with her brother Farhan Akhtar. [21] She also appeared in a very brief role as Rasa Devi's (Rekha's) courtesan in Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love . [22] She and Shah Rukh Khan had a 'fireside chat' with Jeff Bezos of Amazon in January 2020. [23] [24] [25]

Awards and nominations

FilmAwardCategoryResultRef
Luck by Chance 55th Filmfare Awards Best Story Nominated [26] [27]
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Debut Director (shared with Ayan Mukerji for Wake Up Sid )Won
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara 57th Filmfare Awards Best Director Won [28]
[29]
13th IIFA Awards Best Director Won [30]
Best Screenplay with Reema Kagti Won
18th Screen Awards Best Director Nominated [31]
Best Screenplay with Reema KagtiNominated
Zee Cine Awards Best Director Nominated [32]
Best Story with Reema KagtiWon
Star Guild Awards 2012 Best Director Won [33]
Best Screenplay with Reema KagtiWon
Stardust Awards Dream Director Nominated [34]
Dil Dhadakne Do 22nd Screen Awards 2016 Best Director Nominated [35]
Times of India Film Awards 2016 Best DirectorNominated [36]
Gully Boy 26th Screen Awards Best Director Won [37]
65th Filmfare Awards Best Director Won [38] [39]
Best Story with Reema Kagti Nominated
Best Screenplay with Reema KagtiWon
Zee Cine Awards Best Director Won [40]
Critics' Choice Film Awards 2020Best Director (Hindi)Won [41]
Jagran Film Festival Best Writing with Reema KagtiWon [42]
Indian Film Festival of Melbourne 2019 Best DirectorNominated [43]
Best FilmWon
9th AACTA Awards Best Asian FilmNominated [44]
Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film Won [45]
21st IIFA Awards Best Director Pending [46]
Best Story with Reema KagtiPending
Made in Heaven iReel Awards 2019 Best Writing -Drama with Zoya AkhtarNominated [47]

Related Research Articles

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Farhan Akhtar Indian film director and actor

Farhan Akhtar is an Indian actor, director, screenwriter, playback singer, producer, and television host who works in Hindi films. Born in Mumbai to screenwriters Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani, he grew up under the influence of the Hindi film industry. He began his career in Bollywood by working as an assistant director in Lamhe (1991) and Himalay Putra (1997).

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<i>Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara</i> 2011 film by Zoya Akhtar

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a 2011 Indian Hindi-language buddy road comedy-drama film directed by Zoya Akhtar and produced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani under Excel Entertainment. The film features an ensemble cast consisting of Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, Farhan Akhtar, Katrina Kaif, and Kalki Koechlin. It was filmed in Spain, India, Egypt, and the United Kingdom on a budget of 600 million (US$8.4 million). The music and background score are composed by Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy with lyrics by Javed Akhtar.

Reema Kagti Indian film director

Reema Kagti is an Indian film director and screenwriter, who works in Bollywood. She made her debut as director with critically acclaimed Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007), which was followed by the neo-noir, Talaash (2012) and the historical sports drama Gold . She has collaborated with Zoya Akhtar as a writer on several productions of Excel Entertainment.

"Ik Junoon " is a song by composer trio Shankar Ehsaan Loy for the film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. The song was performed by Clinton Cerejo, Vishal Dadlani and Alyssa Mendonsa while the lyrics was penned by Javed Akhtar.

<i>Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara</i> (soundtrack) 2011 soundtrack album by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is the soundtrack album to Zoya Akhtar's 2011 Hindi film of the same name starring Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol and Farhan Akhtar. The film has seven songs and two remixes composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy with lyrics by Javed Akhtar. The album marks the second collaboration of the trio with Zoya Akhtar, and eighth with Excel Entertainment. The music was released on 17 June 2011 by T-Series.

"Señorita" (transl. Miss) is a song from the 2011 Indian film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. It was composed by Shankar Ehsaan Loy and performed by Farhan Akhtar, Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol and Spanish singer María del Mar Fernández. The lyrics were penned by Javed Akhtar. The Latino-flavoured Spanish flamenco song is about being yourself and having fun.

Arjun Bhasin is an Indian costume designer and stylist, who works both in Hindi cinema as well as Hollywood. He is most noted for his work in Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Rang De Basanti (2006), and has done international films like Monsoon Wedding (2001), The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012) and Life of Pi (2012). He has also remained the fashion editor of GQ India.

<i>Bombay Talkies</i> (film) 2013 Indian anthology film

Bombay Talkies is a 2013 Indian Hindi-language anthology film consisting of four short films, directed by Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap. The film released on 3 May 2013, coinciding with and celebrating the 100th year of Indian cinema and the beginning of a new era in modern cinema. It screened at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on 17 May 2013.

<i>Dil Dhadakne Do</i> 2015 film by Zoya Akhtar

Dil Dhadakne Do is a 2015 Indian Hindi-language comedy-drama film directed by Zoya Akhtar, and produced by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar. The film features an ensemble cast of Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar, with a voice-over performance by Aamir Khan as the family dog Pluto, the narrator of the film. The supporting cast also includes Rahul Bose, Zarina Wahab, Vikrant Massey, Pawan Chopra, Parmeet Sethi, Dolly Mattdo and Manoj Pahwa. The film tells the story of the Mehras, a dysfunctional family who invite their family and friends on a cruise trip to celebrate the parents' 30th wedding anniversary and later reconcile.

<i>Gully Boy</i> 2019 film directed by Zoya Akhtar

Gully Boy is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language musical drama film directed by Zoya Akhtar, and written by Akhtar and Reema Kagti. The film was produced by Ritesh Sidhwani, Akhtar and Farhan Akhtar under the banners of Tiger Baby Films and Excel Entertainment productions, with Nas as an executive producer. It stars Ranveer Singh in the titular role and features Alia Bhatt, Kalki Koechlin, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Vijay Varma, Amruta Subhash and Vijay Raaz in supporting roles. Inspired by the lives of Indian street rappers Divine and Naezy, the film is a coming-of-age story about an aspiring street rapper from the Dharavi slums of Mumbai.

<i>Ghost Stories</i> (2020 film) 2020 Indian anthology film

Ghost Stories is a 2020 Indian Hindi-language anthology horror film, consisting of four short film segments directed by Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap. It is co-produced by Ronnie Screwvala and Ashi Dua under their production banner RSVP Movies and Flying Unicorn Entertainment respectively. The film features an ensemble cast including Mrunal Thakur, Avinash Tiwary, Janhvi Kapoor, Raghuvir Yadav, Sobhita Dhulipala, Vijay Varma and Pavail Gulati. It was released on Netflix on January 1, 2020.

Tiger Baby Films is an Indian film production company owned by film directors Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti. The company was founded in October 2015.

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