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Karan Johar

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Karan Johar
Karan Johar.jpg
Karan Johar at a press conference for My Name Is Khan.
Born Karan Dharma Kama Johar
(1972-05-25) 25 May 1972 (age 43)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Ethnicity Punjabi
Occupation Actor, director, producer, screenwriter, costume designer, television host
Years active 1995–present
Parent(s) Yash Johar
Hiroo Johar
Relatives See Chopra-Johar family

Karan Johar (born 25 May 1972), often informally referred to as KJo,[1] is an Indian film director, producer, screenwriter, costume designer, actor and television personality who is primarily known for his work in Hindi films. He is the son of Hiroo Johar and the acclaimed producer Yash Johar.

Johar made his directorial debut with the blockbuster romance Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), which earned him the Filmfare Awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay. His next two films were the ensemble dramas Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001) and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), which were both very successful in the overseas market. His counter-terrorism drama My Name Is Khan (2010) earned him his second Filmfare Award for Best Director. These, along with the several successful films he has produced under the Dharma Productions banner, have established him as one of the leading director-producers in Hindi cinema.

Early life

Karan Johar was born in Mumbai, India to Indian Bollywood film producer Yash Johar, founder of Dharma Productions and Hiroo Johar. He studied at the Greenlawns High School and attended H.R. College of Commerce and Economics, both in Mumbai. He received a master's degree in French.[2]

As a child, he was influenced by commercial Indian cinema: He cites Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra and Sooraj R. Barjatya as his inspirations.[3][4] For a time, Johar followed numerology, creating film titles in which the first word and a number of others in the title began with the letter "K." After watching the 2006 film, Lage Raho Munna Bhai which was critical of numerology, Johar decided to stop this practice.[5]




Johar entered the film industry as an assistant director on Aditya Chopra's Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), which is regarded as a landmark in Hindi cinema. He then made his own directorial debut with the blockbuster romance Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). The first half of the film centers on a college love triangle between an insensitive boy (Shahrukh Khan), his tomboyish best friend (Kajol), and the prettiest girl at the college (Rani Mukerji), while the second half centers on the now-widowed boy's attempt to reconnect with his best friend who is now engaged to marry another man (Salman Khan). The film became a major blockbuster at the box office and received mostly positive reviews from critics. Writing for Planet Bollywood, critic Anish Khanna commented that "Karan Johar makes an impressive directorial debut, has a good script sense, and knows how to make a film with S-T-Y-L-E."[6] It won the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. It swept most of the major awards at the 44th Filmfare Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and all four acting awards.

Karan Johar with Shahrukh Khan and Kajol at a film promotional event.

Johar's next directorial venture was the multi-starrer family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001). The film starred Amitabh Bachchan as an egotistical rich industrialist, Jaya Bachchan as his compassionate wife, and Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan as their two sons. It also featured Kajol and Kareena Kapoor as sisters from a lower-class family who become the love interests of Khan and Roshan respectively. The film became Johar's second major blockbuster at the box office and received mostly positive reviews from critics. Critic Taran Adarsh commented that Johar "confirms the fact that he is the brightest in film firmament. The premise [of the film] is simple, but it is the storytelling that deserves the highest marks."[7]

Johar's third directorial venture was the multi-starrer romantic drama Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), which dealt with the controversial subject of marital infidelity against the backdrop of non-resident Indians living in New York City. The film's plot follows a washed-up athlete (Shahrukh Khan), whose frustration with the professional success of his wife (Preity Zinta) results in an extramarital affair with a family friend (Rani Mukerji) who is also unhappy with her marriage to her childhood friend (Abhishek Bachchan). The film was a major success in India and an even larger success overseas. It received mostly positive reviews from critics who praised Johar's departure from the directorial style of his first two films. Rajeev Masand wrote, "Few writers have such solid control over their screenplay as Karan Johar does. Few understand the intricacies of narrative as well as he does. Johar goes from highs to lows, from plateaus to peaks with the ease of a pro. He knows exactly how to turn a seemingly ordinary scene into something special with just that one line of dialogue, or that hint of background music."[8]

Johar's fourth directorial venture was the counter-terrorism drama My Name Is Khan (2010). The plot follows a Muslim man and his wife, played by Shahrukh Khan and Kajol, who live in San Francisco and face racial prejudice after the September 11 attacks. The film became a major commercial success, and received rave reviews from critics who praised Johar's unconventional directorial style. Critic Subhash K. Jha wrote that the film "is a flawless work, as perfect in content, tone, and treatment as any film can get."[9] The film won Johar his second Filmfare Award for Best Director.

For his next feature film Student of the Year (2012), Johar chose not to cast established actors for his lead roles and instead recruited three debutante actors (Sidharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan, and Alia Bhatt). The plot revolved around the quest of a group of students who are all gunning for the title of "Student of the Year" at their college. The film was a moderate commercial success and received mixed reviews from critics. Some called it "supremely entertaining and enjoyable,"[10] while others called it "a film which suffers from the lack-of-a-story syndrome."[11]

Johar then teamed up with Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, and Dibakar Banerjee for Bombay Talkies (2013), an anthology film released to celebrate the centenary year of Hindi cinema. Each of the directors made one short film to contribute to the large anthology. The plot of Johar’s film followed a magazine editor (Rani Mukerji) who discovers that her husband (Randeep Hooda) is gay after an interaction with an intern at her office (Saqib Saleem). The film did not perform very well at the box office but earned positive reviews from critics.

Johar's next directorial project is the romantic film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ranbir Kapoor, and Anushka Sharma in pivotal roles. It is currently slated to release in October 2016.[12]


Main article: Dharma Productions

Johar’s directorial work (with the exception of Bombay Talkies) has been under the Dharma Productions banner, founded by his father Yash Johar and taken over by him after his father’s death in 2004. In addition to his own directorial work, he has produced several films by other directors under the Dharma banner. Many of these rank among the highest-grossing Bollywood films of their year like Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Dostana (2008), I Hate Luv Storys (2010), and Agneepath (2012). Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013) ranks among the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time.


In addition to working as an assistant director on Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Johar was an actor in the film, playing a friend of Shahrukh Khan’s character. Since then, he has made cameo appearances playing himself in films like Om Shanti Om (2007), Fashion (2008), and Luck by Chance (2009).

He made his full-fledged acting debut alongside Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma in Anurag Kashyap’s period drama Bombay Velvet (2015), in which he played the main antagonist. Although the film did not perform well at the box office, Johar earned some appreciation for his performance. Critic Sarita A. Tanwar commented, "The only consolation in the film is Karan Johar who brings a lot of dignity to the character of Khambatta... which is commendable since this is totally outside his comfort space."[13]

Costume designer

Johar has worked as a costume designer for Shahrukh Khan on many films like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Duplicate (1998), Mohabbatein (2000), Main Hoon Na (2004), Veer-Zaara (2004), and Om Shanti Om (2007).


Johar on the sets of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5 with his co-judges Remo D'Souza and Madhuri Dixit

Johar is the host of Koffee with Karan, a celebrity-based talk show where he interviews actors, directors, producers, and other prominent members of the Hindi film industry. The first season aired from 2004 to 2005, the second season aired in 2007, the third season aired from 2010 to 2011, and the fourth season aired from 2013 to 2014.

Since 2012, he has served as a judge on the reality shows Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (with Madhuri Dixit and Remo D’Souza) and India’s Got Talent (with Malaika Arora Khan, Kirron Kher, and Farah Khan).


Year Film Director Producer Writer Verdict Notes
1998 Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Yes Yes All Time Blockbuster Won 8 Filmfare Awards
National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment
2001 Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham Yes Yes Blockbuster Won 5 Filmfare awards
2003 Kal Ho Naa Ho Yes Yes Super Hit Won 8 Filmfare awards
Won 2 National Film Awards
2005 Kaal Yes Above Average Co-produced with Shahrukh Khan Productions
2006 Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna Yes Yes Yes Hit Won 1 Filmfare award
2008 Dostana Yes Hit
2009 Kurbaan Yes Flop
Wake Up Sid Yes Hit Won 3 Filmfare awards
2010 My Name Is Khan Yes Yes Yes Hit Won 3 Filmfare awards
I Hate Luv Storys Yes Hit Co-produced with Ronnie Screwvala's UTV Motion Pictures
We Are Family Yes Average Co-produced with Sony Pictures
Won 1 Filmfare award
2012 Agneepath Yes Super Hit Remake of the Agneepath movie in 1990
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu Yes Above Average Won 1 Filmfare award
Student of the Year Yes Yes Yes Semi Hit Co-produced with Red Chillies Entertainment
2013 Bombay Talkies Yes Yes Flop Anthology film, director of one segment
Gippi Yes Flop
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani Yes Blockbuster
Gori Tere Pyaar Mein Yes Disaster
2014 Hasee Toh Phasee Yes Above Average Co-produced with Phantom Films
2 States Yes Super Hit Co-produced with Sajid Nadiawala
Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania Yes Hit
Ungli Yes Average
2015 Brothers Yes Flop Co-produced with Lions Gate Entertainment and Endemol India
2016 Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Yes Yes Yes


National Film Awards


Filmfare Awards



IIFA Awards



  • 2002: IIFA Award for Best Director – Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
  • 2008: IIFA Award for Best Director – Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Awards


Screen Awards



Zee Cine Awards
Stardust Awards
  • In 2007, Johar was chosen as one of 250 Global Young Leaders by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum 2006.[17]
  • On 30 September 2006, Johar became the first Indian filmmaker to be a jury member in the Miss World competition, in Warsaw, Poland.[18]
  • He was the only other Indian apart from PM Manmohan Singh to be invited for the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.[19]


  1. ^ "KJo meets Kareena on sets of Heroine". Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Drama King: Karan Johar". 
  3. ^ Nandy, Pritish (9 December 1998). "'All the women I meet keep telling me how much they cried in the film! That's what made it a hit, I guess.'". Rediff.Com. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 
  4. ^ V S Srinivasan (15 October 1998). "'I'm a little scared'". Rediff.Com. Retrieved 6 March 2008. 
  5. ^ Khan, Rubina A (7 October 2006). "Karan to drop letter K". The Times of India. 
  6. ^ Khanna, Anish (16 Oct 1998). "Film Review: Kuch Kuch Hota Hai". Planet Bollywood. Retrieved 25 Aug 2014. 
  7. ^ Adarsh, Taran (11 Dec 2001). "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 25 Aug 2014. 
  8. ^ Masand, Rajeev (29 Apr 2010). "Masand's Verdict: Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna". IBN Live. Retrieved 25 Aug 2014. 
  9. ^ Jha, Subhash K (13 Feb 2010). "Hug your neighbor, watch My Name Is Khan!". Times of India. Retrieved 25 Aug 2014. 
  10. ^ Nahta, Komal (19 Oct 2012). "STUDENT OF THE YEAR Review". Komal Nahta's Blog. Retrieved 25 Aug 2014. 
  11. ^ Bhattacharya, Ananya (1 Dec 2012). "'Student of the Year' review: Watch out for the newcomers' infectious charm!". Zee News. Retrieved 25 Aug 2014. 
  12. ^ Prashar, Chandni (1 Dec 2014). "Aishwarya, Ranbir, and Anushka to star in Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil". NDTV Movies. Retrieved 2 Dec 2014. 
  13. ^ Tanwar, Sarita A (16 May 2015). "'Bombay Velvet' review: Despite earnest performances, the film somehow gets derailed". DNA India. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Thakker, Namrata (13 November 2014). "Karan Johar's acting again!". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  15. ^ "Karan Johar Awards & Nominations". Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "Winners of Zee Cine Awards 2011". Bollywood Hungama News Network. Bollywood Hungama. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "Ash among WEF's Global Young Leaders". Sify. 17 January 2007. 
  18. ^ "Karan Johar to judge Miss World 2007. The Indian Express.". 
  19. ^ "Karan Johar and PM get Olympics invitation". 16 July 2012. 

External links