• Monday, June 24, 2024


Movies and milestones of Karan Johar

Birthday special on life and career of the Bollywood director.

Karan Johar

By: Asjad Nazir

A PROLIFIC cinema journey has turned Karan Johar into one of the most influential Bollywood filmmakers of this generation.  

The producer, director and writer has also carved out a thriving career on TV as a judge and successful talk show host. The creative talent affectionately known as K-Jo turns a year older on May 25 and celebrates his 52nd birthday. 

 Eastern Eye decided to mark the occasion with an in depth A to Z about his action packed life.

A Bombay Velvet karan johar
Bombay Velvet

 A is for Acting: The filmmaker started his career as a child actor in 1989 serial Indradhanush on Indian national TV channel Doordarshan. He later played small supporting roles in films like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), before a full-fledged character in Bombay Velvet (2015).  

B is for Beginning: He was born in Mumbai on May 25, 1972 to film producer Yash Johar and Hiroo Johar. His father being part of Bollywood with his Dharma Productions company meant Johar was brought up surrounded by cinema.  

C is for Costumes: The filmmaker has always had a deep interest in fashion. He worked as a costume designer for Shah Rukh Khan on films including Dil To Pagal Hai (1997), Duplicate (1998), Mohabbatein (2000), Main Hoon Na (2004) as well as Om Shanti Om (2007).

G Dostana 861265 1

 D is for Debut: After working as an assistant on Diwali Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), he made a winning directorial debut with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), which broke multiple box-office records across the globe.  

E is for Excellence: Johar has won multiple awards as a writer, director and producer across his career. In 2020, he was given a Padma Shri award, which is India’s fourth highest civilian honour.  

F is for Filmmakers: The filmmaker has launched many new directors with his home productions such as Kal Ho Naa Ho (Nikhil Advani), Kaal (Soham Shah), Dostana (Tarun Mansukhani), Wake Up Sid (Ayan Mukerji), Kurbaan (Rensil D’Silva), I Hate Luv Storys (Punit Malhotra), Agneepath (Karan Malhotra), Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu (Shakun Batra), Hasee Toh Phasee (Vinil Mathew), Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (Shashank Khaitan) and Good Newwz (Raj Mehta).

O Karan Johar and children bp
Karan Johar and children

 G is for Gay: Although he has never made an official announcement, it has been acknowledged for a long time that the filmmaker is gay. He has introduced the theme of homosexuality in multiple films including Dostana (2008) and Kapoor & Sons (2016).  

H is for Hero: The actor whom Johar is most associated with is Shah Rukh Khan, who played the lead role in his first four films as a director – Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Alveda Na Kehna and My Name Is Khan. The actor also headlined Johar’s debut as a producer in Kal Ho Naa Ho and has co-produced various projects with him across the years.

 I is for Interviewer: The filmmaker has been hosting Koffee With Karan since 2004 and has interviewed the biggest Bollywood celebrities across more than 150 episodes. 

 J is for Judge: He has appeared as a judge on multiple reality TV shows including Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, India’s Got Talent, India’s Next Superstars and Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan.

K Kalank Alia Bhatt IMG 3172

 K is for Kalank: The filmmaker’s biggest failure has arguably been 2019 movie Kalank. A big star cast, huge budget, lavish sets, eye-catching costumes and superb songs couldn’t prevent the period romantic drama from sinking. Another spectacular failure was 2022 action drama Liger, which was supposed to introduce Telugu superstar Vijay Devarakonda into Bollywood. 

 L is for Love stories: He is most associated with love stories. His biggest successes in the genre include Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. 

 M is for Music: Most Johar movies have had superb soundtracks with stunning songs that have become chartbusters. Many singers and composers have won awards for the music they have delivered for outstanding soundtracks in movies such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, My Name is Khan and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

U An Unsuitable Boy sY3xuRd

 N is for Numerology: At the beginning of his career, Johar was influenced by numerology and that’s the reason why his films all started with the letter K. He reportedly stopped after watching Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006), which was critical of basing decisions on the practice. 

 O is for Offspring: He became a single parent in 2017 to twins through surrogacy. Johar named his son Yash after his late father, and his daughter Roohi by rearranging the name of his mother Hiroo. 

 P is for Producer: Although he started as a director and found fame as a TV personality, Johar has had his biggest success as a film producer with a huge number of hits. This includes movies he has collaborated on with other producers and various streaming site shows. 

 Q is for Quit: Johar left X (formerly known as Twitter) after receiving abuse from social media trolls, including posts directed against his children.  

R is for Reality TV: The filmmaker entered the reality TV space with Netflix show Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives. There have been two seasons of the series that follows Neelam Kothari, Maheep Kapoor, Bhavna Pandey and Seema Kiran, who are or were married to Bollywood actors. 

 S is for Star kids: The producer/director has become associated with nepotism in Bollywood because of the star children he has launched with his films, including Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawn, Janhvi Kapoor and Ananya Panday. 

D kuch kuch hota hai
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

 T is for Takht: In 2018, Johar announced he would be making ambitious period epic Takht with Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Janhvi Kapoor and Anil Kapoor in the lead roles. The Covid pandemic and escalating costs led to him abandoning the big budget project. 

 U is for Unsuitable: In his 2016 book An Unsuitable Boy, he teamed up with writer Poonam Saxena to give a frank account about his life. 

 V is for Vilified: Whether it is being blamed for nepotism or getting connected to other scandals (often without evidence), Johar is perhaps the most vilified Bollywood celebrity of the modern era. When Priyanka Chopra Jonas revealed she was bullied out of Bollywood, he was blamed. The director also received hate for swearing on air at audience members who objected to Deepika Padukone’s frank revelations on his talk show.  

W is for Wealth: A thriving production house and a valuable library of content has made Johar massively wealthy. Even high-profile film failures haven’t been able to put a dent on the many millions he has earned across the years.  

X is X-Rated: Johar received a lot of criticism for participating in live show All India Bakchod Knockout, which saw comedy talents roast actors Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. The vulgar content, including racist and sexual jokes made by Johar, were heavily criticised and a similar show has never been produced again. 

 Y is for Yodha: The latest film produced by Johar has been Yodha (2024), which was headlined by Sidharth Malhotra, whom he launched with Student Of The Year (2012). He has largely kept Malhotra’s career afloat producing multiple films with the actor, but most have ended up as expensive failures.  

Z is for Zoya: Johar teamed up with directors Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee for the anthology films Bombay Talkies (2013), Lust Stories (2018) and Ghost Stories (2020). Each of the movie has short movies made by each director tackling a similar theme in a different way. 


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