Karan Thapar

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Karan Thapar
Born (1955-11-05) 5 November 1955 (age 58)
Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India
Education The Doon School
Pembroke College, Cambridge
St Antony's College, Oxford
Occupation News Anchor of CNN-IBN & CNBC-TV18, Headlines Today (since April 2014)
Years active 1985 – present
Notable credit(s) Devil's Advocate
India Tonight
The Last Word
Face to Face (BBC)
Hardtalk India (BBC)

Karan Thapar is an Indian television commentator and interviewer. He is the youngest child of General P. N. Thapar and Mrs. Bimla Thapar.


Thapar is an alumnus of The Doon School and the Stowe School. While at Doon, Thapar was the Editor-in-chief of The Doon School Weekly.[1] He graduated with a degree in Economics and Political Philosophy from Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1977. In the same year, he was also President of the Cambridge Union. He subsequently obtained a doctorate in International Relations from St Antony's College, Oxford.


Karan Thapar chairing a debate in The Doon School, his alma mater, during its Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

He began his career in journalism with The Times in Lagos, Nigeria and later worked as their Leader Writer on the Indian subcontinent till 1981. In 1982 he joined London Weekend Television where he worked for the next 11 years. He then moved to India where he worked with The Hindustan Times Television Group, Home TV and United Television before setting up his own production house in August 2001, Infotainment Television, which makes programmes for amongst others BBC, Doordarshan and Channel News Asia.

Currently the President of Infotainment Television, Thapar is noted for his aggressive interviews with leading politicians and celebrities- his interviews with cricketer Kapil Dev, Narendra Modi, George Fernandes, J. Jayalalithaa, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, General Pervez Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto, Arun Jaitley, Ram Jethmalani, U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and The Dalai Lama are particularly well remembered.

A few of his shows which have been much watched are Eyewitness, Tonight at 10, In Focus with Karan, Line of Fire and War of Words. The shows with which he has been making headlines lately are, Devil's Advocate and The Last Word on CNN-IBN and India Tonight on CNBC TV 18.

Awards and accolades[edit]

In December 2003, he became the first person to win both awards in the current affairs category of the Asian Television Awards. His interview with Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Khurshid Kasuri, on Court Martial won 'The Best Current Affairs Program'. He received his second award for 'The Best Current Affairs Presenter' for his popular long-running BBC series Face to Face. In 2005 he won the 'Best Current Affairs Presenter' for the third time since 1999 for his interview with the former Indian Law Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) General Secretary Arun Jaitley on Hardtalk India. He won the 'Best Current Affairs Presenter' award yet again in 2007, this time for his much talked about interview with Ram Jethmalani on Devil's Advocate. In 2008 Devil's Advocate was conferred 'Best News/Current Affairs Show' by News Television Awards & Karan Thapar was presented the award for 'News Interviewer of the Year' by Indian News Broadcasting Awards. In April 2009 he was honored with the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award and was chosen the 'Journalist of the Year (Broadcast)'. In August 2009 he was adjudged the "News Show Host of the Year" by Indian News Broadcasting Awards. In March 2010 Devil's Advocate was accorded an award for being the "Best News Talk Show" by News Television Awards. In December 2010 he was adjudged the 'Best Current Affairs Presenter' by Asian Television Awards. He won this award for an interview with Ram Jethmalani on Devil's Advocate which had terminated abruptly as Jethmalani had walked out in anger midway when questioned about allegations of opportunism surrounding his return to a political party. In March 2011 Devil's Advocate was adjudged the "Best Current Affairs Programme" and Karan Thapar was declared the "TV News Anchor of the Year-English" by National Television Awards.In October 2013,Karan Thapar won journalism award. In December 2013, Karan Thapar received the International Press Institute-India Award for excellence in the field of journalism.


  • Thapar has been critical of the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat. After the Modi government came into power in 2007, he opined that "only the sudden removal of Modi can stop Modi's charge".[2]
  • R. Prasanan criticized Thapar's interview with Gohar Ayub Khan for its hidden motives.[3]
  • Narendra Modi[4] and Ram Jethmalani[5] have famously walked out of the show complaining about Thapar's style of interviewing them.
  • In a year-end role-reversal interview of Karan Thapar in 2008, Arun Jaitley accused Thapar of being soft on his interviewees from Pakistan like Asif Ali Zardari when compared to Indian politicians.[6]
  • In a similar role-reversal interview with Karan Johar in 2007, Thapar acknowledged a continuing tiff with the Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan arising from an interview in which Thapar posed certain personal questions to the actor.[7]
  • In the year-end role-reversal interview with Mani Shankar Aiyar in 2009, Thapar named his interview with A. R. Rahman as the most unsatisfactory one till date.[8]
  • In 2010 role-reversal interview, Salman Khurshid told Karan Thapar on deliberately paraphrasing his interviewee's answers. Thapar stated that some individuals in journalist fraternity have double standards.[9]
  • In 2011 role-reversal interview with Suhel Seth, Thapar stated that in 2001, he "arranged" meetings between the then Indian Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Pakistani Ambassador to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi. Thapar talked of breakdown of his friendship with the BJP leader later on. During June 2013 in two separate newspaper articles in The Hindu[10] and Hindustan Times,[11] Thapar offered apologies to Advani.
  • In February 2012, in an interview[12] with Madhu Trehan of media watch website Newslaundry.com, Thapar acknowledged that he has "learned" from his experience not to be rude and interrupt less in his interviews.
  • On August 13, 2013, in his program "The Last Word", Thapar hosted a debate on the then Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's reported statement desiring better ties with India.[13] However, Sharif made this statement before he became Prime Minister in May 5, 2013 during an interview to Thapar himself.[14] This interview was carried incorrectly as a new statement in August 2013 by Associated Press of Pakistan (APP). Thapar was criticized on social media for formulating a debate on the wrong assumption that the statement was correct.[15] Press Trust of India journalist Rezaul Laskar, whom Thapar said he spoke to before going on air,[16] tweeted about the gaffe.[17] Media watch site Newslaundry.com questioned why Thapar decided to go on air with the debate when his colleagues were aware of the dubious news report.[16]



  1. ^ History of the Weekly, The Doon School publications (2009) p.41
  2. ^ Thapar, Karan (2007-12-29). "‘Modification’ of politics". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2014-02-02. 
  3. ^ TheWeek
  4. ^ Modi won't talk Godhra, walks out of interview - India News - IBNLive
  5. ^ Jethmalani walks out of Devil's Advocate show - Politics - Politics News - ibnlive
  6. ^ Role reversal: Devil's Advocate in the dock - India News - IBNLive
  7. ^ Devil's Advocate Special: Karan grills Karan - Trends News - IBNLive
  8. ^ Special: Mani Shankar Aiyar interviews Karan Thapar -Videos Trends:IBNLive Videos
  9. ^ http://itv.in/index.php?option=com_video&view=detail&v_id=173&Itemid=
  10. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/when-the-devils-advocate-has-the-last-word/article4799504.ece
  11. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorial-views-on/KaranThapar/My-turn-to-apologise/Article1-1077079.aspx
  12. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0pgz2biUmE
  13. ^ http://ibnlive.in.com/shows/The-Last-Word/414080.html
  14. ^ http://ibnlive.in.com/videos/389731/if-my-party-comes-to-power-well-ensure-army-doesnt-interfere-with-the-govt-nawaz-sharif.html
  15. ^ http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/WOR-mother-of-all-gaffes-nawaz-sharifs-peace-statement-was-written-4-months-ago-4347292-NOR.html
  16. ^ a b http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z_oLNqDPOs
  17. ^ http://m.indiatoday.in/story/pakistan-nawaz-sharif-peace-statement-was-made-before-he-became-prime-minister/1/299384.html

External links[edit]