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Director in the Spotlight: Zoya Akhtar

Comments  Comments [ 0 ]    By Gurprit K. | 10 March 2015 | 9:26pm

A film is the sum of its parts. It is a collaboration between many different people, but ultimately, the vision of one, and that visionary is the director. Yes, the screenwriter is the one to tell the story, but it is the director who who leaves his personal touch on what we ultimately see on screen. This month, in celebration of International Women's Day, we bring to you a special edition of Director In the Spotlight, where we shine the light on one of the most talented young female directors of our time, Zoya Akhtar.

Born on the 9th of January 1974 in Mumbai, Zoya Akhtar is the daughter of renowned poet, lyricist and screenwriter Javed Akhtar and screenwriter Honey Irani. It is no wonder that Zoya herself turned to the film industry to find her passion. Film is in her blood, after all. Her stepmother is actress Shabana Azmi, and her brother is singer, director, actor, producer and screenwriter Farhan Akhtar.

Her directing career started with a music video called "Price of Bullets" for a rock band. However, she started out with baby steps in Bollywood. First, she worked as a casting director for numerous projects, including the widely successful Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and Split Wide Open (1999), a parallel cinema project directed by Dev Benegal. She then climbed the next rung in the ladder by taking on the role of an assistant director, first in her brother's film Dil Chahta Hai, and then in the Hrithik Roshan starrer Lakshya (2004).

Finally, Zoya took the last step and made her directorial debut in 2009 with Luck By Chance, which was critically acclaimed but did not do well on the box office. 2011 saw her don the director's cap for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, which starred Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol, her brother Farhan, Katrina Kaif and Kalki Koechlin. The movie was not only well-received by critics, but was also a huge box office success. It catapulted Zoya to a new level of success and garnered her numerous Best Director awards, including the Filmfare Award, IIFA Award,  Zee Cine Award and Apsara Award!

Did You Know?

  • Zoya studied at the New York University Film School to learn film production.
  • She was an executive producer for longtime friend Reema Kagti's Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. (2007).
  • Like the rest of her biological family, Zoya is also a screenwriter, having written for Luck By Chance, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and 2012's Talaash.
  • The Filmfare Award for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is not her first. In 2009, she shared the Filmfare Award for Best Debut Director with Ayan Mukerji.
BollyCurry wishes Zoya many more accomplishments in her career. We are eagerly looking forward to the Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra starrer Dil Dhadakne Do, and hope Zoya continues to make entertaining films for a long time to come! Until our next edition, do tell us your thoughts on Zoya's films in the comments below.

Writer: Aradhna K.
Editor(s): Nisha M. and Gunia K. 
Graphics: Marsh P.

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Katrina Kaif Katrina Kaif

Hrithik Roshan Hrithik Roshan

Farhan Akhtar Farhan Akhtar

Abhay Deol Abhay Deol

Zoya Akhtar Zoya Akhtar

Kalki Koechlin Kalki Koechlin

Javed Akhtar Javed Akhtar

Shabana Azmi Shabana Azmi

Reema Kagti Reema Kagti

Year : 2004

Luck by ChanceLuck by Chance
Year : 2009

Honeymoon Travels Pvt. LtdHoneymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd
Year : 2007

Dil Chahta HaiDil Chahta Hai
Year : 2001

Split Wide OpenSplit Wide Open
Year : 1999

Zindagi Na Milegi DobaraZindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Year : 2011

Year : 2012