For the Pakistani pop singer, see Saleem Javed.
Salim Khan (l) and Javed Akhtar (r), together formed the pair Salim-Javed.

Salim-Javed were a duo in the Indian film industry who worked for 26 films from 1971–1987 of which 21 were commercially and critically successful films. They worked together in 22 Bollywood movies, 2 Telugu films - Manushulu Chesina Dongalu, Yugandhar and two Kannada films – Premada Kanike and Raja Nanna Raja. The duo, composed of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, made the writer's role popular with their names appearing in the posters of the films, and in some films they shared up to 25% of the profit. Their association lasted until 1982, when due to ego issues both decided to split after which Javed moved into writing lyrics for around 80 films and scripts for 20 films from 1981 till present times whereas Salim wrote for 10 scripts between 1983–1996. They worked on 2 movies like Zamana and Mr. India even after the split, only because these scripts were written earlier and made into film later after they split. During their time working together, the duo won six Filmfare Awards. Although the dilaogues from these movies are considered to be in Hindi, they mostly include vocabulary from Urdu, a register of the Hindustani language.Salim-Javed, many a times described as "the most successful scripwriters of all-time",[1] are also noted to be the first scriptwriters in Hindi films to achieve star status.[2]

Before teaming up

Salim Khan

Salim Khan debuted as an actor after director K. Amarnath saw him at a wedding and was impressed by his good looks. He asked him to come to Mumbai, where he hired him as an actor for Rs. 400 a month. Salim Khan was earlier a junior technician for various films had not made any considerable mark in the field. Khan acted in various movies, in large and small parts, for seven years. He was unable to capture the public's interest, and, as a result, his career had stalled. Khan appeared in such films as Teesri Manzil (1966), Sarhaadi Lootera (1966) and Diwaana (1967), in total he has acted in 14 films till 1970. But he did not achieve success till 1971.

Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar was born on 17 January 1945. Akhtar arrived in Mumbai on 4 October 1964. In his early years there, he wrote the dialogue for a minor film for Rs. 100. Occasionally, he worked as an assistant. He got a job as a dialogue-writer on Yakeen which flopped. He was unsuccessful in his individual ventures till 1971.

After teaming up

Salim met up with Javed Akhtar for first time during the making of the film Sarhadi Lootera. Salim was a small-time actor, and Sarhadi Lootera was one of the last films he acted in before he turned his attention to writing. Javed was a clapper boy for the film and was later made the dialogue writer as director S.M. Sagar was unable to find a dialogue writer.While working in this film their friendship began.

Salim Khan used to assist writer/director Abrar Alvi at first and Javed Akhtar used to assist Kaifi Azmi. Abrar Alvi and Kaifi Azmi were neighbours, from there on Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar became friends. Since their individual work was flopping both of them ventured into script writing and they decided to team up in 1971. Realizing the lack of writers in the movie making industry, Salim gradually learnt about story telling and writing techniques used in films, along with close friend Javed Akhtar and began writing short transcripts. The duo hit it off well and formed a script-writing team that came to be known as Salim-Javed. Salim used to form stories and plots whereas Javed used to help Salim with the dialogues for those films. They used to brainstorm and come to conclusions regarding the final draft of the film. Akhtar first joined with his friend Salim Khan to develop the story for Adhikar(1971) and Andaz.

Initially in the 1970s there was no concept of having the same writer for the screenplay, story and dialogue nor were the writers given any credits in the title. Rajesh Khanna is credited with giving Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar their first chance to become screenplay writers by offering them work in Haathi Mere Saathi.[3] Javed Akhtar accepted in an interview that "One day, he went to Salimsaab and said that Mr. Devar had given him a huge signing amount with which he could complete the payment for his bungalow Aashirwad. But the film was a remake and the script of the original was far from being satisfactory. He told us that if we could set right the script, he would make sure we got both money and credit."[4] Salim-Javed were hired by G. P. Sippy's Sippy Films as resident screenwriters and produced the screenplays for successful films like Andaz, Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay and Don. They have worked together in 26 films including two hit Kannada films (both starring Dr.Rajkumar) – Premada Kanike and Raja Nanna Raja and two Telugu films Manushulu Chesina Dongalu and Yugandhar. Though they split in 1982, due to ego issues, some of the scripts they wrote were made into hit films later like Zamana and Mr. India.

Salim-Javed (as they are famously called) have scripted many commercially and critically accepted movies for movie making giants like Nasir Hussain (Yaadon Ki Baaraat), Prakash Mehra(Zanjeer, Haath Ki Safai), Ravi Tandon(Majboor), Yash Chopra (Deewar, Trishul (film), Kaala Patthar), Yash Johar (Dostana), Ramesh Sippy (Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay), Ramesh Talwar (Zamana), Shekhar Kapoor (Mr. India) and with Chand Barot Don. The duo split up in the early 1982 and ended their 12-year professional relationship because they developed ego issues.[5] Of the 26 films they wrote the scripts for, the film which were not successful at box office include Aakhri Dao (1975), Immaan Dharam (1977), Kala Paththar, Shaan(1981).

After their split

Salim Khan after the split was not very active in films. Though he did write the scripts for about 10 films after his split with Javed Akhthar like Naam, Kabzaa, Toofan, Jurm, Akayla, Patthar Ke Phool, Mast Kalandar, Aa Gale Lag Jaa, Majhdhaar , Dil Tera Diwana(1996). Of these scripts, Toofan, Akayla, Majhdaar, Aa Gale Lag Jaa(1994) and Dil Tera Deewana failed at the box office. Khan's eldest son, Salman, made his film debut (as leading role) at the age of twenty four with Maine Pyar Kiya in the year 1989 and eventually went on to become one of the most successful actors in the history of Bollywood. Salman Khan has collaborated with his father Salim Khan(writer) in Patthar Ke Phool and Majhdhaar and with Javed Akhtar in only one film – Marigold, in his two-decade old career. Javed Akhtar, on the other hand, has worked in all the films produced by his children Farhan Akhtar and Zoya Akhtar's Excel Entertainment.Javed Akhtar started writing lyrics for films beginning with Silsila in 1981 and since 1982 has written lyrics for around 80 films and scripts for over 20 films till the present times.Javed and Salim were not even on talking terms after their split till 2012, when their original script Zanjeer was being remade into a 2013 film named Zanjeer by producer Sumeet Mehra.Salim and Javed had filed a suit in the Bombay High Court in July 2013 claiming they had copyrights over the script, story and dialogues of the 1973 original film, produced by Prakash Mehra and demanded compensation from the makers of the remake.[6] This court case brought them together again in talking terms.


They have worked together in 26 films including two Kannada films – Premada Kanike and Raja Nanna Raja and 2 Telugu films - Manushulu Chesina Dongalu and Yugandhar. Though they split in 1982 some of the scripts they wrote were made into films later like Zamana and Mr. India. They are credited with the creation of the "angry young man" image of Amitabh Bachchan.[5] For a significant number of his major hits, they wrote the screenplay, story and dialogue. They brought credibility to a profession which had previously been relegated to the background. It is due to their efforts and work that screenplay/story/dialogue writers are seeing the limelight. They fought for and achieved the mentioning of screenplay/story/dialogue writer's names on the movie posters.

Beyond their influence on Hindi films, their work has also recently begun influencing Western films. According to Loveleen Tandan, the screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, who wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award winning Slumdog Millionaire (2008), "studied Salim-Javed's kind of cinema minutely."[7] In particular, Deewaar (1975) was described by the director Danny Boyle as being "absolutely key to Indian cinema" and influenced the making of Slumdog Millionaire.[8] Actor Anil Kapoor noted that some scenes of Slumdog Millionaire "are like Deewaar, the story of two brothers of whom one is completely after money while the younger one is honest and not interested in money."[9]

According to Javed Akhtar, in their early periods, on the cinema posters, there were no names of script writer, story and screenplay. Realizing that the hard work is done by these duo, and not getting the appropriate recognisation, Salim and Javed decided to paint their names on all the posters pasted in the city. They hired a rikshaw and put the paint bucket on that and did all the work themselves the entire night. After that, the directors also started to put their name on the posters.

One of the techniques often used by Salim-Javed was their use of a montage sequence to represent a child growing into an adult, a technique that dates back to Raj Kapoor's Awaara (1951). For example, Deewaar showed a character entering a temple as a child and then leaving the temple as an adult. Slumdog Millionaire paid homage to Salim-Javed by showing a montage sequence where two "brothers jump off a train and suddenly they are seven years older".[10]


Year Film Language Director Cast Notes
1971 Andaz Hindi Ramesh Sippy Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini, Shammi Kapoor, Simi Garewal
1971 Adhikar Hindi S.M. Sagar Ashok Kumar, Nanda, Deb Mukherjee
1971 Haathi Mere Saathi Hindi M. A. Thirumugham Rajesh Khanna, Tanuja Remade in Tamil in 1972 as Nalla Neram under same production banner 'Devar Films', directed by M.A.Thirumugam and with M. G. Ramachandran in the lead.
1972 Seeta Aur Geeta Hindi Ramesh Sippy Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar Remade in Telugu as Ganga Manga (1973) with Vanisri in the dual role alongside Shobhan Babu and Krishna.
Remade in Tamil as Vani Rani (1974) with Vanisri in the dual role alongside Sivaji Ganesan and R. Muthuraman.
1973 Yaadon Ki Baaraat Hindi Nasir Hussain Dharmendra, Vijay Arora, Tariq Khan Remade in Tamil as Naalai Namadhe (1975) with M. G. Ramachandran in dual role and Chandra mohan in lead roles.
Remade in Telugu as Annadammula Anubandham (1975) with N. T. Rama Rao, Murali Mohan and Nandamuri Balakrishna in lead roles.
Remade in Malayalam as Himam (1983) with Prem Nazir, Shankar and Shanavas in lead roles.
1973 Zanjeer Hindi Prakash Mehra Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Pran Remade in Telugu as Nippulanti Manishi (1974) with N.T. Rama Rao, Latha Sethupathi and Kaikala Satyanarayana in lead roles.
Remade in Tamil as Sirithu Vazha Vendum (1974) with M. G. Ramachandran in dual role and Latha in lead roles.
Remade in Malayalam as Naayattu (1980) with Prem Nazir, Jayan and Sukumari in lead roles.
Further remade in 2013 into Hindi-Telugu bilingual Zanjeer in Hindi and Thoofan in Telugu starring Ram Charan and Priyanka Chopra.
1974 Majboor Hindi Ravi Tandon Amitabh Bachchan, Parveen Babi, Pran Remake of Zig Zag
Remade in Telugu as Raja (1974) with Shobhan Babu and Jayasudha in lead roles.
Remade in Tamil as Naan Vazhavaippen (1979) with Sivaji Ganeshan, K. R. Vijaya and Rajinikanth in lead roles.
Remade in Gujarati as Naseeb No Khel (1982).
1974 Haath Ki Safai Hindi Prakash Mehra Randhir Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Simi Garewal, Ranjeet Remade in Telugu as Manushulu Chesina Dongalu (1976) with Krishna, Krishnam Raju, Manjula, Sangeetha and Mohan Babu in lead roles.
Remade in Tamil as Savaal (1981) with Kamal Haasan, Jaishankar, Sripriya, Lakshmi and Vijayakumar in lead roles.
1975 Deewaar Hindi Yash Chopra Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh Remade in Telugu as Magaadu (1976) with N. T. Rama Rao, Rama Krishna, Manjula and Latha in lead roles.
Remade in Tamil as Thee (1981) with Rajinikanth, Suman, Shobha and Sripriya in lead roles.
Remade in Malayalam as Nathi Muthal Nathi Vare starring Mammootty.
1975 Sholay Hindi Ramesh Sippy Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri It was ranked first in the British Film Institute's 2002 poll of "Top 10 Indian Films" of all time.
50th annual Filmfare Awards named it the Best Film of 50 Years.
1975 Aakhri Dao Hindi A. Salaam Jeetendra, Saira Banu, Danny Denzongpa The film is based on Vermaji's 1950 novel of the same name
1976 Premada Kanike[11] Kannada V. Somashekhar Rajkumar, Aarathi Based on 1969 Hindi movie Do Bhai by Prince Salim Khan which was also remade in Tamil as Justice Viswanathan and in Telugu as Nenu Manishini. Premada Kanike was later remade in Tamil as Polladhavan
1976 Raja Nanna Raja[12] Kannada A. V. Seshagiri Rao Rajkumar, Aarathi
1977 Immaan Dharam Hindi Desh Mukherjee Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar, Rekha
1977 Chacha Bhatija Hindi Manmohan Desai Dharmendra, Randhir Kapoor, Hema Malini
1978 Trishul Hindi Yash Chopra Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini Remade in Tamil as Mr. Bharath (1986) with Rajinikanth, Sathyaraj, S. Ve. Shekher and Ambika (actress) in lead roles and in 1986 in Telugu as Mister Bharat starring Sobhan Babu and Suhasini Maniratnam
1978 Don Hindi Remade in 1979 in Telugu as Yugandhar starring N. T. Rama Rao and in 1980 in Tamil as Billa starring Rajinikanth and in 1986 in Malayalam as Shobaraj starring Mohanlal.
Subsequently remade in Hindi in 2006 as Don starring Shah Rukh Khan; in Tamil in 2007 as Billa starring Ajith Kumar and in Telugu in 2009 as Billa starring Prabhas
1979 Kaala Patthar Hindi
1980 Dostana Hindi Remade in 1983 in Tamil as Sattam starring Kamal Haasan
1980 Shaan Hindi
1981 Kranti Hindi
1982 Shakti Hindi Ramesh Sippy Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Raakhee, Anil Kapoor It was only film to feature veteran actors Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan together on screen.
The movie had a similar storyline as that of the 1974 Tamil movie Thanga Pathakkam with Sivaji Ganesan, Sreekanth and K. R. Vijaya in lead roles.
1985 Zamana Hindi Ramesh Talwar Rajesh Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Poonam Dhillon, Ranjeeta Kaur The film was successful at the box office with collection of 4.5 crores in 1985.
1987 Mr. India Hindi Shekhar Kapur Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, Amrish Puri The film was the second biggest hit of 1987, and remains a cult classic in India.
Remade in Tamil as En Rathathin Rathame (1989) with K. Bhagyaraj and Meenakshi Seshadri in lead roles.
Remade in Kannada as Jai Karnataka (1989) with Ambarish and Rajani in lead roles.

Filmfare Awards

Filmfare Awards Won
Year Category Film
1983 Best Screenplay Shakti (1982)
1976 Best Dialogue Deewar (1975)
Best Screenplay
Best Story
1974 Best Screenplay Zanjeer (1973)[13]
Best Story

In popular culture

In Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire (2008), two characters have names referencing the duo: Salim K. Malik and Javed Khan.


  1. Sholay, through the eyes of Salim Khan, ,
  2. Ramesh Dawar (2003), Encyclopaedia of Hindi cinema, Encyclopaedia Britannica (India) Pvt. Ltd.
  3. "More facts about Rajesh Khanna – The Times of India". The Times of India.
  5. 1 2 "Salim Khan says things like he sees them". MiD DAY. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  7. "'Slumdog Millionaire' has an Indian co-director". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 11 January 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2009.
  8. Amitava Kumar (23 December 2008). "Slumdog Millionaire's Bollywood Ancestors". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 4 January 2008.
  9. Runna Ashish Bhutda; Ashwini Deshmukh; Kunal M Shah; Vickey Lalwani; Parag Maniar; Subhash K Jha (13 January 2009). "The Slumdog Millionaire File". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  10. Alkarim Jivani (February 2009). "Mumbai rising". Sight & Sound. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
  13. "Best Screenplay Award". Filmfare Award Official Listings, Indiatimes. Retrieved 28 April 2014.

External links

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