An Indian screenwriter, poet, and lyricist known for his contributions to Indian music and Bollywood films, he is most famous for his collaboration with Salim Khan. His solo-written cinematic works include Duniya, Mashaal, and Saagar.
His father, Jan Nisar Akhtar, was also a poet and Bollywood musical composer. His mother, Safia Akhtar, was a singer.
He raised his children as atheists, in accordance with his own beliefs.
With his wife, Honey Irani, he had two children, Zoya and Farhan. His affair with Shabana Azmi ended his marriage to Irani; he eventually married Azmi.
He and Salim Khan co-wrote a number of film scripts in the 1970s and 1980s.