Farhan Akhtar is the son of the famous lyricist Javed Akhtar and storywriter Honey Irani. Farhan has a younger sister Zoya Akhtar.
Farhan always had a natural inclination towards writing just like his parents, so the young Farhan dropped out of college to follow his interest. For almost two years he simply did nothing, but just watched movies trying to closely identify the intricacies of scripting and direction.
Farhan started assisting known Bollywood directors to learn the craft of filmmaking. Farhan assisted Pankaj Parasher on Himalay Putra, which was Akshaye Khanna's debut film. Farhan also worked for Script Shop a television software production house for three years.
Farhan tied the knot with Adhuna while he was still working at Script Shop. It was around the same time that he started scripting for his directorial debut Dil Chahta Hai. Farhan and his childhood friend Ritesh Sidhwani run Excel Entertainment the company that produced Dil Chahta Hai.
Farhan made his writing and directorial debut at the age of 27 in Bollywood with the critically acclaimed film Dil Chahta Hai (2001), produced by Excel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., a production company he established along with Ritesh Sidhwani in 1999. He called it a "turning point" in his career.
The success of Dil Chahta Hai opened new doors for Farhan and he signed Hrithik Roshan for Lakshya opposite his favorite actress Preity Zinta. Lakshya was one of the first movies that Farhan had scripted, which was based on a laidback and clueless college kid, who goes on to become a responsible officer in the Indian army.
Farhan was also great friends with Aditya and Uday Chopra, but their friendship turned sour after the banner did not give writing credits to his mom Honey Irani for the script of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.
Meanwhile, Akhtar also wrote the English lyrics of Gurinder Chadha's Hollywood film, Bride and Prejudice (2004) along with his sister, Zoya Akhtar after being recommended by his father.
In 2006, Farhan directed, produced and wrote the screenplay a remake of the 1978 Amitabh Bachchan film, Don titled Don: The Chase Begins Again which starred Shahrukh Khan in the title role.
It marked Akhtar's first project holding the status of a remake and credited him for a trend of remakes in Bollywood. However, he said that he did not mean to be a "torchbearer of the remake brigade", while the character of "Don" became iconic in his career. It was declared as a "hit" at the box office, grossing around INR105 crore (US$20.95 million) worldwide.
In 2008, Akhtar made his acting and singing debut in a social film titled Rock On!!, which he also produced and wrote the dialogues for. The film was highly acclaimed by critics and received positive reviews upon release.
Farhan received several accolades for his debut performance, including the Filmfare Best Male Debut Award, IIFA Star Debut Award and the Star Screen Award for Most Promising Male Newcomer. The film, in addition won the National Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi and the Filmfare Best Story Award.
However, it did not create an impact at the box office and turned out to be an average grosser.Akhtar produced and appeared as one of the three leads in his sister, Zoya Akhtar's road film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara along with Hrithik Roshan and Abhay Deol, starring opposite Ariadna Cabrol.
He was also credited as the dialogue writer for the film.The film made INR153 crore worldwide and was declared as a commercial success at the box office.It also became one of the highest grossing Bollywood films overseas, earning around US$7.25.
The film won two National Awards, for the Best Choreography and Best Audiography,seven Filmfare Awards, with Farhan winning the one for Best Supporting Actor and Best Dialogue.
Later that year, he wrote, produced and directed Don 2, a sequel to his 2006 film Don: The Chase Begins Again. The film marked Akhtar's return to direction after a gap of nearly 5 years.
The film was a major success in India and it went on to become the year's highest-grossing Bollywood production abroad with a worldwide gross of more than INR 2.1 billion. It earned him another nomination for Best Director at the Filmfare ceremony.
He has appeared as a judge on a few shows on television, including the first season of the dance-reality show, Nach Baliye (2005), and the beauty pageant, Femina Miss India (in 2002). He also hosted a TV show on NDTV Imagine, called Oye! It's Friday!.