Karan Thapar

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Karan Thapar
Karan Thapar, Infotainment Television, Richter Frank-Jurgen (cropped).jpg
Thapar in 2019
Born (1955-11-05) 5 November 1955 (age 67)
Alma materPembroke College, Cambridge (BA)
Occupation(s)Journalist, News presenter
EmployerThe Wire
Notable credit(s)Devil's Advocate
India Tonight
The Last Word
Face to Face (BBC)
Hardtalk India (BBC)
To the Point
RelativesDaya Ram Thapar (uncle)
Romesh Thapar (cousin)
Romila Thapar (cousin)

Karan Thapar (born 5 November 1955) is an Indian journalist, news presenter and interviewer working with The Wire. Thapar was associated with CNN-IBN and hosted The Devil's Advocate and The Last Word. He was also associated with India Today, hosted the shows To the Point and Nothing But The Truth and is doing an exclusive series of Interviews with The Wire on his show Access Journalism.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Karan Thapar is the youngest child of former Chief of the Army Staff General Pran Nath Thapar and Bimla Thapar. The journalist Romesh Thapar and the historian Romila Thapar are his cousins.[3]

Thapar is also related distantly to the family of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru's niece, the writer Nayantara Sahgal, was married to Gautam Sahgal, brother of Bimla Thapar, his mother.[4]

He is an alumnus of The Doon School in Dehradun and the Stowe School in England. While at Doon, Thapar was the editor-in-chief of the school magazine The Doon School Weekly.[5]

Thapar graduated with a degree in Economics and Political Philosophy from Pembroke College, Cambridge in 1977.[6] In the same year, he was also President of the Cambridge Union.[7] He subsequently obtained a doctorate in International Relations from St Antony's College, Oxford.[8]


He began his career in journalism with The Times in Lagos, Nigeria and later worked as their Lead Writer on the Indian subcontinent till 1981. In 1982 he joined London Weekend Television in the United Kingdom where he worked for the next 11 years.In London he was one of the co-presenters of Eatern Eye magazine program for South Asian minorities in UK.[9][10] He moved to India in 1991 and 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.[11]

Thapar is noted for his aggressive interviews with leading politicians and celebrities.[12] A few of his shows which have been much watched are Eyewitness, Tonight at 10, In Focus with Karan, Line of Fire, War of Words Devil's Advocate and The Last Word.[11] In 2007, Thapar famously interviewed current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (then the Chief Minister of Gujarat). After struggling to answer a few tough questions, Modi abruptly stopped the interview just three minutes in[13] while saying "dosti bani rahe" (Hindustani for "Let the friendship be intact") which is a popular internet meme.[14][15][16] He later said that interviewing A. R. Rahman was the toughest in his career due to Rahman's shy nature.[17]

In 2020–21, Thapar wrote a column As I see it in the daily newspaper The Asian Age. In August 2021, the management of The Asian Age objected to Thapar's regular column after he wrote about the '1947 Violence Against Jammu Muslims'. The violence against the Muslim residents of Jammu during the partition led to their mass displacement from the Jammu region. Thapar stopped writing for the column and said "The 1947 violence against Jammu's Muslims that unfolded over a period of three-four months in 1947 is well-documented and has been historically accounted for. It is something that no one can contest. So I gather that the owners are under enormous pressure, presumably from Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah."[18]

As of 2021, he is doing the regular show The Interview with Karan Thapar after joining The Wire.[19][18]

Awards and accolades[edit]

  • In 1995 Thapar won the Onida Pinnacle Award for Best Current Affairs Presenter for the programme, The Chat Show.[11]
  • In December 2003, Thapar became the first person to win both awards in the current affairs category of the Asian Television Awards.[citation needed]
  • The Best Current Affairs Program for an interview with Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Khurshid Kasuri tilted Court Martial[citation needed]
  • Second award for 'The Best Current Affairs Presenter' for his popular long-running BBC series Face to Face.[citation needed]
  • 'Best Current Affairs Presenter' award for his interview with Ram Jethmalani on Devil's Advocate[citation needed]
  • In 2008 his show 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' at Indian News Broadcasting Awards.[citation needed]
  • In April 2009, Thapar was conferred with the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award and was chosen the 'Journalist of the Year(Broadcast)'.[citation needed]
  • In August 2009 he was adjudged the "News Show Host of the Year" by Indian News Broadcasting Awards.[citation needed]
  • In March 2010 Devil's Advocate was accorded an award for being the "Best News Talk Show" by News Television Awards.[citation needed]
  • In December 2010 he was adjudged the 'Best Current Affairs Presenter' by Asian Television Awards.[citation needed]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • In December 2013, Karan Thapar received the International Press Institute-India Award for excellence in the field of journalism.[20]


  • Face To Face India - Conversations With Karan Thapar, Penguin, ISBN 0-14-303344-1
  • Sunday Sentiments, Wisdom Tree, ISBN 81-8328-023-4
  • More Salt Than Pepper - Dropping Anchor With Karan Thapar, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-81-7223-776-9
  • Devil's Advocate: The Untold Story, HarperCollins, ISBN 978-93-5277-985-7
  • As I Like It, Wisdom Tree, ISBN 8-183-28466-3
  • Hardtalk India


  1. ^ "Karan Thapar". The Wire. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  2. ^ The two faces of Mr. Modi
  3. ^ "When the Devil's Advocate has the Last Word". Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  4. ^ Singh, Nandita (2 January 2019). "Why is Karan Thapar complaining? His dynasty holds a key to Lutyens' Delhi". The Print. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  5. ^ History of the Weekly, The Doon School publications (2009) p.41
  6. ^ https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/books/the-man-who-lived-in-interesting-times-5323799/
  7. ^ https://www.rediff.com/getahead/slide-show/slide-show-1-careers-karan-thapar-on-his-cambridge-experience/20110912.htm
  8. ^ https://www.alumni.cam.ac.uk/events/bombay-talk-by-karan-thapar
  9. ^ "Madhu Trehan interviews Karan Thapar on his book "Devil's advocate"". News laundry. 30 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Glimpses of two generals and a prime minister".
  11. ^ a b c "Karan Thapar - Infotainment Television". Infotainment Television. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  12. ^ Leekha, Parul (13 March 2018). "Role reversal - At the launch of his latest book, Karan Thapar faced a volley of questions from Shashi Tharoor". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  13. ^ Thapar, Karan (22 July 2018). "Why Modi Walked Out in 2007 and the BJP Now Shuns Me". The Wire. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Dosti Bani Rahe". Indian Meme Templates. 20 February 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Friendship Day: When Modi told Karan Thapar 'dosti bani rahe'". Free Press Journal. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Why is Twitter flooded with memes after PM Modi's Pariksha Pe Charcha?". The Siasat Daily. 8 April 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2022. a meme in reference to Modi's infamous interview with Karan Thappar where he did not answer the 'difficult questions'.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Gautam, Nishtha. "Not Modi, AR Rahman Was Karan Thapar's Most Difficult Interviewee". The Quint. No. 2018–07–26. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  18. ^ a b "'Asian Age' Kills Karan Thapar Column After Mention of '1947 Violence Against Jammu Muslims'". The Wire. 25 August 2021. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  19. ^ "Exclusive News Stories by Karan Thapar on Current Affairs, Events at The Wire". The Wire. Retrieved 19 December 2021.
  20. ^ "Karan Thapar wins journalism award". The Hindu. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 25 April 2014.

External links[edit]