Zoya Akhtar is a modern-day Bollywood Filmmaker. Her first film was the critically applauded LUCK BY CHANCE (2009).
Name: Zoya Akhtar
Born: 9th January 1974
Occupation: Director, Casting Director
Years Active: 1999- Present
Zoya Akhtar was born on 9th January 1974 to poet, lyricist, and screenwriter is daughter of Javed Akhtar and screenwriter Honey Irani. Her twin brother is Bollywood actor, director, producer, singer and lyricist Farhan Akhtar. She was born and brought up in Mumbai. Her stepmother is actress Shabana Azmi. She is the granddaughter of Urdu Poet Jan Nisar Akhtar. Zoya is an atheist.
As a Casting Director
Zoya started her career in films by working in the Casting Department. She did the casting for extras in movies like KAMA SUTRA: A TALE OF LOVE (1996), BOMBAY BOYS (1998), SPLIT WIDE OPEN (1999) and BHOPAL EXPRESS (1999).
She was the Casting Director for movies like DIL CHAHTA HAI (2001), ARMAAN (2003) and LAKSHYA (2004).
As a Assistant Director or Second Unit Director
Zoya was the assistant director for DIL CHAHTA HAI (2001) and LAKSHYA (2004). She was the second assistant director for BOMBAY BOYS (1998).
As a Actress
Zoya has appeared in the film KAMA SUTRA: A TALE OF LOVE (1996), as Rasa Devi’s (played by actress Rekha) courtesan.
As a Director
Zoya Akhtar made her directorial debut with LUCK BY CHANCE (2009), starring her brother Farhan Akhtar and Konkana Sen Sharma in the lead roles. The film revolves around the lives of a starlet Sona Mishra (Konkana) and Vikram Jaisingh (Farhan) and how the successes and failures on the way change their relationship and lives.
It took more than 6 years for Zoya to make this film. The script was ready in 2001, but finding a male lead was becoming impossible. None of the top actors in Bollywood wanted to play the lead role, because he is shown as a struggler and a bit of a hustler.
With the arrival of multiplexes and corporates, Zoya had hope again. Reema Kagti, director of Honeymoon Travels suggested that Zoya could cast Farhan in the lead role. Zoya took the advice and Farhan did a superb job as Vikram Jaisingh. The film was well appreciated by the critics and Zoya’s skills as a director were applauded. However, the film did average performance at the box office, in India and overseas.
Upcoming movies as a director
Zoya is currently directing ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA, starring Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol and, Kalki Koechlin. The movie is slated for release in May 2011. It is being shot in the UK, Greece, Spain, Turkey, Thailand and India.
As a Writer (story and lyrics)
Zoya Akhtar has written the film Luck By Chance (2009) and a short film on Aids, MIGRATION (2007), directed by Mira Nair.
Zoya has also written the lyrics for a few songs in Gurinder Chadha’s Bride and Prejudice (2004) along with her brother Farhan Akhtar.
As a Producer
Zoya was the Executive Producer for LAKSHYA (2004), HONEYMOON TRAVELS PVT. LTD. (2009), and LUCK BY CHANCE (2010). Excel Entertainment, created by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, has produced all these films.
Appearances on TV
Zoya has appeared along with her brother Farhan Akhtar on the TV show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’, hosted by Amitabh Bachchan in 2007.
Zoya has received a special mention in the credits of Mira Nair’s THE NAMESAKE (2006) and Sudhir Mishra’s HAZAARON KHWAISHEIN AISI (2003).
Riddhi Mehta is editor of http://www.bollywoodchaska.com/content/zoya_akhtar-528/. She has over 3 years writing experience for bollywood movies. She says whatever she feels. She is not worried how bollywood will react to her views.
Continuity is very important for a movie or Indie film. Our expert is here to offer tips to directors on how to manage continuity in a film, in this free filmmaking video. Expert: Rhett Reiger Contact: www.whitecaspianstudios.com Bio: Rhett Reiger began his career in the movies as a writer and actor. After attending film school in San Francisco, he turned to directing small indie films and commercials. Filmmaker: Rhett Reiger
Question by livelax22: Filmmaking Help?
So, I’m a budding filmaker, and I am having trouble coming up with ideas/topics/stories for my next few films and I am wondering if anybody out there has any tips or things they do to give them ideas or such?
Answer by Peggy C
In twenty years of writing and ten years of screenwriting, the most helpful tool I have EVER found is the logline.
For one thing, it is the very best marketing tool you can have. I tested loglines on sites LONG before I started actually writing scripts, and the very first one I posted, the producers of Forrest Gump wanted the script. But I kept perfecting my loglines, and each time, some major producer would contact me. THEN, I decided I better learn how to write scripts.
In case you’re not that familiar with loglines, it is one sentence that summarizes the basic plot.
I like to construct my loglines using this formula
1. Summarize the unique aspects of the protagonist
2. List the opportunity or difficulty that hero must deal with
3. List the conflict or villain in the way of the goal
For instance, here is a logline I sent to the owner of a major studio, who then requested the script:
A seedy homelss man, mistaken as the new pastor of a congregation, is given healing powers by a pesky angel, with one stipulation–either he helps everyone he meets or all his abilities disappear.
I have found by writing out one sentence this way, I can tell a lot of things:
1. There’s a lot of opportunity for the protagonist to arc
2. That this is going to be a character-driven piece, and not high budget, but not something I could do for $ 2,0000 very easily.
3. It would probably be best suited to comedy/drama and a general audience
4. I’m missing a strong source of conflict or at least at this point, don’t know what the conflict is about (which means I need to go back and figure that out before I get going too far).
See, people get catchy ideas, but seem to forget that a story is really about someone dealing with something, and changing as a result. For example, I saw on My Space that a filmmaker wanted some script about a psycho involving My Space. A film like that could be scary, but it’s not going to win any academy awards.
The most memmorable and successful films are almost always patterned after “The Hero’s Journey”….which basically boils down to: A person has their ordinary life where they don’t know all of what is inside them, then something happens that challenges them mentally or physically, then they begin to fight the problems all different ways, then finally, they make some huge realization that helps them master themselves.
I also keep a log of ideas and jot them down as they come to me. But generally, if you start with ANY uniquely dysfunctional character, you can make a story out of it.
After 10 years of screenwriting, I finally took one of my OWN quirks and made an awesome story out of it. My quirk was something small: I’d always read the last page of a romance novel to make sure they lived happily-ever-after before I bought the book. So that’s my first scene: the heroine with her friend in a bookstore, putting a romance novel back on the shelf because the hero dies.
Those are just some ideas, but I’d say the best stories come from little odd things we notice people doing, and then digging deep to see why the character does that.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!