Zoya Akhtar /

Indian Film Director

IZoya Akhtar made her debut as a director with critically acclaimed film Luck By Chance (2009).In 2011, she directed the critically and commercially successful film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and won her first Filmfare Award for Best Director Being the daughter of the very Famous Javed Akhtar (Writer – Lyricist) and Honey Irani (Writer), as well as the Sister of the multi-talented Farhan Akhtar (Director – Writer- Actor- Singer), one would imagine Zoya to have simply walked into a Cinematic Legacy and begun right on top, like most children of the Industry. Instead, Zoya spent 8 years working on a dream, doggedly trying to make it work, till she put it aside to make her Directorial Debut with Luck By Chance (2009), a small little Film with her Brother Farhan Akhtar in the lead and the Bollywood Superstar Hrithik Roshan in a cameo. The Film was highly appreciated by the Critics and did reasonably well at the Box Office but heralded Zoya as a Film Maker with her own trademark style and a certain insight and depth not usually synonymous with Bollwood mainstream Films.

An alumna of the New York Film Academy, Zoya started her career as an actress with a small role in ‘Kamasutra’ directed by Meera Nair as one of the disciples of Rekha. Later, she worked on a number of commercials including Pepsi and Finolex and co-directed a music video called Price of Bullets for a rock band. She has also worked as a casting director for various films including ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Kamasutra: A Tale of Love’ and ‘Split Wide Open’ on which she was also an Assistant Director. Post her Directorial Debut, Zoya worked as an executive producer for her longtime friend Reema Kagti’s Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., also produced by Excel Entertainment, their Home Banner. In 2011, Zoya and Reema Kagti co-wrote her next outing as a Director with ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, a beautiful coming of age story of 3 friends enacted by Hrithik Roshan, Abhay Deol and Farhan Akhtar that made some Box Office History and won her the Best Director trophy across several Award shows.

With just 2 Films as a Director in her kitty, Zoya has already made a name for herself as an important Film Maker of contemporary Indian Cinema. Her work, while adhering to mainstream Indian sensibilities, brings in a rare depth and compassion and a very subtle empowerment of women characters, be it Konkona SenSharma and Isha Sharvani in Luck By Chance or then the bike riding, deep sea diving Katrina Kaif and the annoyingly adorable Kalki Koechlin in ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’. This subtle change in the female projection, without showing them as bra burning Feminists, is Zoya’s biggest contribution to Indian Cinema so far . . . a very nuanced paradigm shift that celebrates the Song and Dance tradition of Indian Cinema, yet is directing it gently in fresher and more layered directions.