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Karan Johar
Karan Johar walks the ramp for Shane and Falguni Peacock.jpg
Johar in 2018
Rahul Kumar Johar

(1972-05-25) 25 May 1972 (age 51)
Alma mater HR College
  • Film director
  • producer
  • screenwriter
  • costume designer
  • television personality
  • actor
Years active 1989–present
Children 2
  • Yash Johar (father)
Awards Full list
Honours Padma Shri (2020)
Karan Johar Signature.png

Karan Johar (born Rahul Kumar Johar; 25 May 1972), often informally referred to as KJo in the Hindi Film Industry, is an Indian filmmaker and television personality, who primarily works in Hindi cinema. He has launched the careers of several successful actors under his own Dharma Productions. The recipient of several accolades, including a National Film Award and six Filmfare Awards, he has been honored with Padma Shri, the country's fourth highest civilian award by the Government of India in 2020.

Son of producer Yash Johar, he made his directorial debut with the romantic comedy-drama Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), which earned him the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, the Filmfare Award for Best Director and the Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay. His next films, the ensemble family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001) and the ensemble musical romantic drama Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), were both major critical and commercial successes. His social drama My Name Is Khan (2010) earned him his second Filmfare Award for Best Director. Johar produced the spy thriller Raazi (2018) and the biopic Shershaah (2021), both of which won him the Filmfare Award for Best Film. These, along with other films he has produced under the Dharma Productions banner, have established him as one of the leading director-producers in Hindi cinema.

Johar has also ventured into other avenues of the entertainment industry. He hosts a television talk show, Koffee with Karan, Season 7 of this show is currently airing on Hotstar, a dating show What the Love! and a radio show Calling Karan, and appeared as a judge on competition reality shows Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, India's Got Talent, India's Next Superstars.

Early and personal life

Johar was born on 25 May 1972 in Mumbai, India to film producer Yash Johar, founder of Dharma Productions and Hiroo Johar. He has Punjabi Hindu ancestry from his father's side, and Sindhi Hindu ancestry from his mother's side. He studied at the Greenlawns High School. After Greenlawns, he attended H.R. College of Commerce and Economics, both in Mumbai.

Johar started his career in the entertainment industry as an actor, when he played the role of Shrikant in the 1989 Doordarshan serial Indradhanush. As a child, he was influenced by commercial Indian cinema: He cites Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra and Sooraj R. Barjatya as his inspirations. 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.

Discussing his sexual orientation, Johar said "Everybody knows what my sexual orientation is. I don't need to scream it out. If I need to spell it out, I won't only because I live in a country where I could possibly be jailed for saying this". In February 2017, Johar became father to twins (a boy and a girl) through surrogacy. The twins were born at Masrani Hospital in Mumbai. Johar named his son Yash after his father, and his daughter Roohi named by rearranging his mother's name Hiroo.

Film career


Johar entered the film industry as an assistant director on cousin 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 romantic comedy-drama Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998). The first half of the film centers on a college love triangle between an insensitive boy (Shah Rukh 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 a businessman (Salman Khan). The film became a major blockbuster at the box office and received positive reviews from critics. Writing for Planet Bollywood, critic Anish Khanna commented that "Johar makes an impressive directorial debut, has a good script sense, and knows how to make a film with S-T-Y-L-E." 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.

Johar's next directorial venture was the ensemble family drama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001). The film starred Amitabh Bachchan as an egotistical rich industrialist, Jaya Bachchan as his compassionate wife, and Shah Rukh 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 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."

..... The film's plot follows a washed-up athlete (Shah Rukh Khan), whose frustration with his wife (Preity Zinta) results in an extramarital affair with a family friend (Rani Mukerji), a schoolteacher who is also unhappy with her marriage to her childhood friend (Abhishek Bachchan). The film emerged as Johar's third consecutive major blockbuster at the Indian box office and an even larger success in the overseas markets. It received highly 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 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." The script of the film which was co-written by Johar received recognition by a number of critics and was invited to be included in the library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

SRK Kajol & Karan
Johar with Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol at a promotional event for My Name Is Khan in 2010

Johar's fourth directorial venture was the social drama My Name Is Khan (2010), his first film not written by him. The plot follows a Muslim man with Asperger's syndrome and his Hindu wife, played by Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, who live in San Francisco and face racial prejudice after 11 September attacks. The film became Johar's fourth consecutive major blockbuster in both domestic and overseas markets, 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." 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, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan). 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," while others called it "a film which suffers from the lack-of-a-story syndrome."

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 well at the box office, but earned positive reviews from critics.

Johar's next directorial venture was the musical romantic drama Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016). The film featured Ranbir Kapoor as a man dealing with an unrequited love for his best friend, played by Anushka Sharma. It also featured Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as an older woman who engages in a brief relationship with Kapoor's character. The film emerged as a major blockbuster at the box office and received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, who called it "Johar's most grown-up film yet."


In August 2018, Johar took to Twitter to announce his next film Takht, a period drama based in the Mughal era, which will feature an ensemble star cast including Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor, Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Janhvi Kapoor and Anil Kapoor. With a screenplay by Sumit Roy, dialogues by Hussain Haidry & music composed by A. R. Rahman, this will be the second film directed by Johar that he has not written himself. In an interview with Firstpost, Johar stated that Takht would begin filming in September 2019.

In July 2021, it was announced that Johar would direct a love story called Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani. The film is expected to release in 2023 and will star Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Singh and Bhatt in the lead roles.


..... In addition to his own directorial work, he has produced several films by other directors under the Dharma banner. Many of these films have become major critical and commercial successes including Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Dostana (2008), Wake Up Sid (2008), I Hate Luv Storys (2010), Agneepath (2012), Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), 2 States (2014), Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014), Kapoor & Sons (2016), Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (2016), Dear Zindagi (2016), Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017), Raazi (2018), Dhadak (2018), and Simmba (2018).

Other work

In addition to working as an assistant director on Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Johar was an actor in the film, playing the minor role of a friend of Shah Rukh 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."

Ileana and Karan Johar
KJo with Ileana D'Cruz and Nimrat Kaur at "KJo For Gehna" line

Johar has worked as a costume designer for Shah Rukh 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 is the host of Koffee with Karan, a talk show where he interviews actors, directors, producers, and other prominent members of the Hindi film industry. The series has run intermittently since 2004, with seven seasons as of July 2022. Since 2012, he has served as a judge on the reality shows Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (with Madhuri Dixit and Remo D’Souza), India's Got Talent (with Malaika Arora Khan, Kirron Kher, and Farah Khan) and India's Next Superstars (with Rohit Shetty). In January 2022, he appeared as a judge on the Colors TV's show Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan along with Mithun Chakraborty and Parineeti Chopra.



Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Film Director Producer Writer Notes
1998 Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Yes Yes 8 Filmfare Awards
National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment
2001 Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham Yes Yes 5 Filmfare Awards
2003 Kal Ho Naa Ho Yes Yes 8 Filmfare Awards
2 National Film Awards
2005 Kaal Yes
2006 Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna Yes Yes Yes 1 Filmfare Award
2008 Dostana Yes
2009 Kurbaan Yes Yes
Wake Up Sid Yes 3 Filmfare Awards
2010 My Name Is Khan Yes Yes 3 Filmfare Awards
(English film)
I Hate Luv Storys Yes
We Are Family Yes 1 Filmfare Award
2012 Agneepath Yes Remake of Agneepath (1990)
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu Yes 1 Filmfare Award
Student of the Year Yes Yes Yes
2013 Bombay Talkies Yes Yes Segment: "Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh"
Gippi Yes
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani Yes
Gori Tere Pyaar Mein Yes
2014 Hasee Toh Phasee Yes
2 States Yes
Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania Yes
Ungli Yes
2015 All India Bakchod Knockout Yes
Brothers Yes
Shaandaar Yes
2016 Kapoor & Sons Yes 5 Filmfare Awards
Baar Baar Dekho Yes
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Yes Yes Yes 4 Filmfare Awards
Dear Zindagi Yes
2017 Ok Jaanu Yes
Badrinath Ki Dulhania Yes 1 Filmfare Award
Ittefaq Yes
2018 ... Stories Yes Yes Segment 4
Raazi Yes
Dhadak Yes
Simmba Yes
2019 Kesari Yes
Kalank Yes
Student of the Year 2 Yes
Drive Yes
Good Newwz Yes
2020 Ghost Stories Yes Yes Segment 4
Bhoot – Part One: The Haunted Ship Yes
Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl Yes
2021 Shershaah Yes
Sooryavanshi Yes
2022 Gehraiyaan Yes
Jugjugg Jeeyo Yes
Liger Yes
Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva Yes
Govinda Naam Mera Not yet released Yes
2023 Yodha Not yet released Yes
Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani Not yet released Yes Yes Filming
TBA Dostana 2 Not yet released Yes
Bedhadak Not yet released Yes

Acting roles

Year Film Role Notes
1989 Indradhanush Srikanth Television series
1995 Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge Rocky Also assistant director
2003 Kal Ho Naa Ho Customer in the café (uncredited)
2005 Home Delivery: Aapko... Ghar Tak Himself (cameo)
2006 Alag Himself (cameo) in the song "Sabse Alag"
2007 Salaam-e-Ishq Himself (voice)
Om Shanti Om Himself (cameo)
2008 C Kkompany Himself/Game show host (cameo)
Fashion Himself (cameo)
2009 Luck by Chance Himself (cameo)
2014 Hasee Toh Phasee Client
2015 Shamitabh Himself (cameo)
Bombay Velvet Kaizad Khambatta Feature film debut
Shaandaar Himself (cameo)
2018 Welcome To New York Karan/Arjun
Simmba In Dance number (Cameo) in the song "Aankh Maarey"
2019 Good Newwz Himself (Cameo) in the song "Chandigarh Mein"


Year Show Role
2004–present Koffee with Karan Host
2012–present Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Judge
2012–2018 India's Got Talent
2017 Dil Hai Hindustani
2018 India's Next Superstars
2020 What the Love Host
2021 Bigg Boss OTT Host
Opening ceremony International Film Festival of India Host
2022 Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan Judge

Awards and honours


The death of Sushant Singh Rajput sparked a debate on nepotism in the Hindi film industry. Johar was one of the personalities who were targeted by the late actor's fans for allegedly encouraging nepotism by casting children of established Bollywood stars in his films instead of outsider talents. Johar was first accused of this by Kangana Ranaut on Koffee With Karan. however, various members of the industry came to his defence. .....

Johar has responded to the nepotism allegations, saying that his production house has introduced 21 debut directors, "out of which, I can say, 16-17 are not 'nepotistic' young filmmakers. They are not from the fraternity or the industry. They are completely from outside." Regarding his casting insiders, Johar said, "Why do they discredit some of the actors who are from (the industry)? I think they are talented enough to face the camera and maybe, one thing can say is that they get easy access, but after that, they have got a journey ahead."

See also

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