Johar in 2016
Rahul Kumar Johar
25 May 1972
|Honours||Padma Shri (2020)|
Karan Kumar Johar (born Rahul Kumar Johar, 25 May 1972), often informally referred to as KJo, is an Indian film director, producer, screenwriter, costume designer, actor and television personality who works in Hindi films.
Son of producer Yash Johar, he made his directorial debut with the romantic comedy-drama Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), which earned him the Filmfare Award for Best Director and the Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay. His next films, the ensemble family melodrama Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001) and the ensemble musical romantic drama Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006), were both very successful in the domestic and overseas market. His social drama My Name Is Khan (2010) earned him his second Filmfare Award for Best Director. The 2018 spy thriller Raazi won him Filmfare Award for Best Film. 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.
Johar has also ventured successfully into other avenues of the entertainment industry. He hosts a television talk show, Koffee with Karan, 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 in Bombay, India (present-day Mumbai) 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 Bombay (now Mumbai).
Johar started his career in entertainment industry as an actor, 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 – rearranged from his mother's name Hiroo.
Karan 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 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 another man (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 "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." 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 melodrama 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."
Johar's third directorial venture was the ensemble musical 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 (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 was a major success in India and an even larger success overseas. 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 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." 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.
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 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." 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," 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 very well at the box office but earned positive reviews from critics.
Johar's next directorial venture was the romantic drama film 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 and Fawad Khan as the love interest of Sharma's character. The film emerged as a commercial success and received mixed to positive reviews from critics, who called it "Johar's most grown-up movie yet."
Johar teamed up again with Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap, and Dibakar Banerjee for Lust Stories (2018), an anthology film released on Netflix that served as a follow-up to Bombay Talkies. The film was praised for its exploration of female sexuality, a subject rarely dealt with in Indian films. Johar's segment revolved around a newly married schoolteacher (Kiara Advani) whose husband (Vicky Kaushal) fails to recognize her lack of sexual satisfaction.
On 11 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 Khan, Alia 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.
Johar's directorial work (with the exception of anthology films Bombay Talkies, Lust Stories and Ghost Stories) has been produced 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 films have become major successes including Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), Dostana (2008), I Hate Luv Storys (2010), Agneepath (2012), Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), 2 States (2014), Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014), Kapoor & Sons (2016), Dear Zindagi (2016), Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017), Raazi (2018), Dhadak (2018), and Simmba (2018).
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."
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 was the host of Koffee with Karan, a talk show where he interviewed actors, directors, producers, and other prominent members of the Hindi film industry. The series ran intermittently between 2004 to 2019, with six seasons as of June 2020[update].
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).
|Koffee with Karan||Host||Star World|
|Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa||Judge||Colors TV|
|India's Got Talent|
|India's Next Superstars||Star Plus|
|Dil Hai Hindustani|
|What the Love||Host||Netflix|
As an actor
|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"|
|Om Shanti Om||Himself (cameo)|
|2008||C Kkompany||Himself/Game show host (cameo)|
|2009||Luck by Chance||Himself (cameo)|
|2014||Hasee Toh Phasee||Client|
|Bombay Velvet||Kaizad Khambatta||Feature film debut|
|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"|
Awards and honours
Johar has been criticized for supporting nepotism by casting children of established Bollywood stars in his films, and not supporting industry newcomers. Johar was first accused of this by Kangana Ranaut on the talk show Koffee With Karan. Within Bollywood, the majority didn't support the criticisms. Many on social media, however, supported it.
Following the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who belonged to a non-film background, the nepotism debate against Johar was revived. Several movie pundits alleged that Johar had sabotaged Rajput's career.[clarification needed] A complaint was filed against Johar "for abetting the suicide of Sushant". Angry comments were posted against Johar on the internet, and he lost many followers on Instagram.
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)? Why do I have to justify it at first? 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."
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I was half Punjabi and Sindhi, so food was a big part of our daily life.
- "An Unsuitable Boy: Overview". Penguin India. Archived from the original on 28 July 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
Baring all for the first time in his autobiography, An Unsuitable Boy, KJo reminisces about his childhood, the influence of his Sindhi mother and Punjabi father, obsession with Bollywood, foray into films, friendships with Aditya Chopra, SRK and Kajol, his love life, the AIB Roast, and much more.
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