On Javed Akhtar’s 76th birthday, here’s looking back on some soul-stirring lyrics by the poet

Javed Akhtar. Photo: Twitter

A literary figure par excellence who touched many hearts through his soul-stirring writings, veteran poet, lyricist and screenwriter Javed Akhtar turned 76 on Sunday Jan. 27, 2021.

The Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and National Award-winning poet has immortalized his name in the world of Indian poetry and literature through the work that he has done in a career spanning four decades. Akhtar started his career through screenwriting and then shifted to penning lyrics for some of the most loved Bollywood songs revolving around love, loss and life.

On the 76th birthday of the celebrated literary figure, here are few of the songs penned by Akhtar that are always etched in the hearts of art lovers.

1. Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera (Swades)
The song that never fails to raise goosebumps, ‘Yeh Jo Des Hai tera’ from Shah Rukh Khan’s much-loved ‘Swades,’ instills the sense of belongingness in every Indian’s heart. Sung by legendary singer AR Rahman, lyrics of the song take the countrymen on an emotional roller-coaster ride as it talks about how one’s connection to their roots is so strong that it cannot be broken.

2. Ek ladki ko dekha to (1942 A Love Story)
The popular love song from early 90’s ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To’ has been loved so much that a film was made on the title and the song was reprised as the title song of the film. Sung by Kumar Sanu in his magically alluring voice, the song is still the symbol of love even after 27 years of its release. While the original song featured Anil Kapoor and Manisha Koirala, its reprised version had Kapoor’s daughter Sonam Kapoor in the lead.

3. Ghar kab aaoge (Border)
The hard-hitting song narrates the pain of separation that the families of soldiers and the soldiers themselves experience as they are deployed on the border away from home. Even two decades after the release of the song, every Independence and Republic Day celebration in the country is inclomplete without this song from war-drama ‘Border.’ The song has been co-written by Anu Malik.

4. Mehndi Hai Rachnewali (Zubeidaa)
The ultimate wedding song is often played during the ‘Mehendi’ night functions in movies, TV shows and in real life. This song from ‘Zubeidaa’ talks about the light of hopefullness that enters the life of the new bride who is set to begin a new stage of her life as she is about to tie the knot with the groom. The soothing voice of Alka Yagnik adds the perfect wedding vibes to this song.

5. Radha Kaise Na Jale (Lagaan)
The devotional song that depicts the bitter-sweet relationship between gods Radha-Krishna has been the perfect ‘Janmashtmi’ celebration song for years. Based on the playful lyrics of ‘Radha Kaise Na Jale’ is also the song that every woman dedicates to her beloved when it comes to the feeling of possessiveness in romantic relationships.

6. Dil Chahta Hai (Dil Chahta Hai)
The title track of Aamir Khan’s ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ was, is and will continue to remain the friendship anthem for generations. Sung by Shankar Mahadevan, ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ is the song that every group of friends never misses to jam to, when on a trip to Goa. It celebrates the spirit of friendship and depicts the feeling of freezing the moments one spends chilling with their friends.

There are many more gems penned down by Akhtar that have been used in Bollywood for years.

Many of his poems like ‘Ye Kaisa Raaz Hai,’ ‘Toh Zinda Ho Tum,’ and ‘Dil Aakhir Tu Kyu Rota Hai’ have been used directly in his daughter’s directorial ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ which stars his actor son Farhan Akhtar in the lead.

After collecting loads of accolades, Akhtar earlier last year was bestowed with the prestigious Richard Dawkins Award. He made history by becoming the first Indian to be honoured with the award.



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