Bollywood’s ace lyricist Javed Akhtar is all set to write a web series that revolves around football and Partition.

All kinds of religious people are equally unreasonable: Javed Akhtar

Making his debut as a writer on the digital space, Akhtar told The Indian Express that this is something he had never done before. He added that he was excited about the project which will be presented on Voot – an online streaming application that is part of Viacom 18.

The writer continued that the primary reason for taking up the project was the chance to experiment with a new format. Akhtar said, “I have done a lot of film screenplays but writing a web series is a different ball game altogether. It has a very dramatic structure. It facilitates you but also adds responsibilities. Unlike films, you have a lot of time to play around with the script but the real challenge is keeping the audience interested.”

Titled Barefoot 11, the web series will tell the story of two Indians – a Hindu and a Muslim – who unite a divided India during the time of Partition, through football. The series will begin filming soon and celebrate the golden era of football in the country.


Speaking of the series, Akhtar stated, “As the name suggests, it’s about 11 football players. And barefoot not only symbolises them playing without shoes but that there was nothing between them and their land. It’s much more than just a sports story. It’s an uplifting tale that will make you feel proud of your nation.”

With period dramas, comes a lot of challenges. The 73-year-old lyricist spoke of the difficulties in writing a historical. He said, “It is paradoxical in a way. When

we were doing Lagaan’s music, we had to make songs that seemed to be sung by villagers. But our audience was urban so it was a challenge to create a balance. Similarly, when you are writing a historical, it has to match with time. When it comes to words, you sometimes have to imagine that maybe they spoke this way. It’s like walking on a tight rope.”


Akhtar added that web series are not experiments for film-makers anymore. He complimented the medium saying, “There are so many original series being made and the standard is superb. There’s so much for the audience to consume. I have been hooked to quite a few of them. I am amazed to find so many well-written shows.”

Javed Akhtar is unimpressed with Bollywood’s choice in music

Akhtar’s children Zoya and Farhan Akhtar have also ventured on to the digital platform with Mirzapur, Inside Edge and Made in Heaven. The proud father revealed that he will be collaborating with his children very soon.

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