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|Founded||Mumbai, Maharashtra, India (1979)|
Hiroo Yash Johar
Dharma Productions Pvt. Ltd. is an Indian production and distribution company established by Yash Johar in 1979. It was taken over in 2004 after his death by his son Karan Johar. Based in Mumbai, it mainly produces and distributes Hindi films, In November 2018, a new sector of the company was created called Dharmatic, which will focus on producing digital content for online distribution platforms.
The company then went on to produce Duniya (1984) and Muqaddar Ka Faisla (1987), neither of which performed well at the box office. This was followed by Agneepath (1990), which was not a major box office success at that time, but would later become a cult film. It also won a National Film Award for its lead actor Amitabh Bachchan. The company's next two films Gumrah (1993) and Duplicate (1998), which were both directed by Mahesh Bhatt, met with moderate success at the box office.
Incidentally, four of the films named above, namely Duniya (1984), Muqaddar Ka Faisla (1987), Agneepath (1990) and Gumrah (1993) were based on the same broad theme, which may be termed the Count of Monte Christo theme, where the protagonist is falsely accused and imprisoned for a crime which he did not commit and emerges from jail to exact vengeance from those who had framed him.
In 1998, the same year as Duplicate, Dharma Productions also released Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, which was the directorial debut of Karan Johar, the son of Yash Johar, owner of the production company. The film, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Rani Mukerji and Salman Khan, proved to be a phenomenal success and this opened a whole new chapter in the history of the company. The film won several awards, including the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment and the Filmfare Award for Best Film.
The company's next film was Karan Johar's ensemble melodrama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001) featuring a large ensemble cast including Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, and Kareena Kapoor. The film became a huge commercial success in India, and it became the all-time biggest earner in the overseas markets at the time of its release. This was followed by Nikhil Advani's tear-jerking romantic comedy-drama Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) starring Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Preity Zinta. Both of these films earned commercial success and critical acclaim.
Dharma's next release was the natural horror film Kaal (2005), which received mixed to positive reviews from critics. This was followed by Karan Johar's ensemble musical romantic drama Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006) featuring a large ensemble cast led by Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta and Kirron Kher. The film dealt with the controversial subject of marital infidelity and dysfunctional relationships.
Dharma's next release was Tarun Mansukhani's commercially successful romantic comedy Dostana (2008) starring Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, and Priyanka Chopra. This was followed by Ayan Mukerji's coming-of-age film Wake Up Sid (2009) starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Ranbir Kapoor. Rensil D'Silva's counter-terrorism thriller Kurbaan (2009) starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
In 2010, Dharma produced Johar's counter-terrorism drama My Name Is Khan (2010) starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, and Punit Malhotra’s romantic comedy, as well as I Hate Luv Storys (2010) starring Sonam Kapoor and Imran Khan. Later that year, the production house produced the family drama We Are Family (2010), a Hindi remake of the 1998 American film Stepmom, starring Kajol, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal.
The company's first film of 2012 was Karan Malhotra's Agneepath, a retelling of Dharma's 1990 film of the same name. It featured Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt in the roles originated by Amitabh Bachchan and Danny Denzongpa respectively, while Priyanka Chopra and Rishi Kapoor played principal roles not in the original film. This was followed by Shakun Batra’s offbeat romantic comedy Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (2012) starring Kareena Kapoor and Imran Khan. After this came Karan Johar's coming-of-age comedy-drama Student of the Year (2012), which marked the debut of its three lead actors Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan.
Dharma's first release of 2013 was the teen comedy Gippi. This was followed by Ayan Mukerji's coming-of-age romance Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013) starring Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Aditya Roy Kapur and Kalki Koechlin. The film became one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all-time. Dharma was also one of the many production houses associated with the drama The Lunchbox (2013) starring Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. They then released Punit Malhotra's romantic comedy Gori Tere Pyaar Mein (2013) starring Kareena Kapoor Khan and Imran Khan.
In 2014, Dharma produced three romantic comedies, all directed by first-time directors. The first was Vinil Matthews's Hasee Toh Phasee (2014) starring Parineeti Chopra and Sidharth Malhotra, which Dharma co-produced with Phantom Films. They then teamed with Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment to produce Abhishek Varman's 2 States (2014) starring Arjun Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, a film adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s novel of the same name. After this came Shashank Khaitan’s Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014) starring Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt. After these three romantic comedies came Rensil D'Silva's black comedy Ungli (2014).
In July 2015, Dharma distributed the Hindi-dubbed version of S. S. Rajamouli's epic film Baahubali: The Beginning (2015), which was originally filmed in Telugu and Tamil. Upon its release, the film became a major commercial and critical success and currently ranks as one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all-time. In August 2015, the company released Karan Malhotra's Brothers, an adaptation of the 2011 American film Warrior, starring Superstar Akshay Kumar and Sidharth Malhotra in the lead roles with Jacqueline Fernandez and Jackie Shroff playing supporting roles. Dharma also collaborated with Phantom Films to co-produce Vikas Bahl's romantic comedy Shaandaar starring Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, which was released one month later.
March 2016 saw the release of Shakun Batra's family drama Kapoor & Sons starring Rishi Kapoor, Ratna Pathak Shah, Rajat Kapoor, Fawad Khan, Sidharth Malhotra, and Alia Bhatt. This was followed in September 2016 by Nitya Mehra's romantic drama Baar Baar Dekho, a co-production with Excel Entertainment starring Katrina Kaif and Sidharth Malhotra. In October 2016, Karan Johar's musical romantic drama Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, featuring Anushka Sharma, Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Fawad Khan in the lead roles, was released. This was followed in November 2016 by Gauri Shinde's coming-of-age film Dear Zindagi, which Dharma co-produced with Red Chillies Entertainment and Hope Productions. Starring Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan, the film addresses themes of mental health and wellness.
In January 2017, Dharma released Shaad Ali's romantic comedy OK Jaanu starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor, a Hindi-language remake of Mani Ratnam's Tamil film O Kadhal Kanmani (2015). This was followed by Shashank Khaitan's Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017) starring Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt. The film was a follow-up to 2014's Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. In April 2017, the company distributed the Hindi version of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. It became the highest-grossing film in India. The next was Abhay Chopra's mystery thriller Ittefaq, an adaptation of Yash Chopra's 1969 film of the same name. Co-produced with Red Chillies Entertainment and BR Films, the film starred Akshaye Khanna, Sidharth Malhotra and Sonakshi Sinha in the lead roles.
Dharma's first release of 2018 was Meghna Gulzar's spy thriller Raazi starring Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal, based on Harinder Sikka's novel Calling Sehmat. Later that year came Shashank Khaitan's romantic drama Dhadak (2018), which launched the careers of lead actors Ishaan Khatter and Janhvi Kapoor. This was an adaptation of the Marathi film Sairat (2016).
In 2019, Anurag Singh's Kesari, a period drama based on the Battle of Saragarhi, starring Akshay Kumar and Parineeti Chopra in the lead roles. The movie earned 200 crores worldwide in the box office and is Akshay Kumar's highest grossing film. This was followed by Abhishek Varman's period romantic drama Kalank featuring Madhuri Dixit, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur, and Sanjay Dutt. Then comes Good Newwz starring Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Diljit Dosanjh, Kiara Advani directed by debutant Raj Mehta which released on 27 December 2019.
In November 2018, a new sector of the company was introduced called Dharmatic, focusing on producing digital content for online distribution.
Rohit Shetty's cop drama Sooryavanshi, Ayan Mukerji's superhero film Brahmastra, Collin D'Conha's Dostana 2, Vishnuvardhan's war action drama Shershaah, Karan Johar's multi-starrer epic period film Takht, Shakun Batra's untitled romantic drama starring Deepika Padukone, Raj Mehta's comedy Jug Jugg Jeeyo, Shashank Khaitan's action romance Yoddha, South director Atlee Kumar's pan India mass action movie, and Karan Johar's another directorial venture starring Ranveer Singh with Alia Bhatt are among the upcoming productions of Dharma. A biopic film of R. N. Kao has been announced by Johar too. Dharmatic Entertainment, Dharma's digital arm, have also released a drama film Guilty on 6 March 2020 directed by Ruchi Narain and starring Kiara Advani. A web series starring Madhuri Dixit, is all set to release on Netflix soon.
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