Karan Johar may hail from a reputable film family but the director-producer has had to prove himself worthy of a place in Hindi cinema right from the get-go. It wasn’t as easy as being handed Dharma Productions on a silver platter, a production house put together by his father Yash Johar many years ago, the young boy had to work hard to finally earn a film which eventually became his directorial debut and a major hit, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. However, before that, he appeared in a guest appearance as his lucky mascot Shah Rukh Khan’s best friend in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Ask KJo, as he is fondly called, who his influences are, and he quickly juts out some the most glamorous moviemakers including Raj Kapoor, Yash Chopra and Sooraj Barjatya. The effect of these veteran film makers is evident almost all Johar films, which talk about love and friendship, family values and betrayal, and of course with the requisite song and dance.
As a child, Karan knew he wanted to be famous. He grew up amidst the glitterati and their children, which included the Bachchans, Roshans, Kapoors, Khannas and Chopras. Strangely, Karan grew up in a snooty area of Mumbai where Hindi films were frowned upon and thus, secretly watched films and found himself feeling rather embarrassed to be Yash Johar’s son. In fact, on many occasions, he denied that his father was a film producer but rather a mere businessman. However, he did on the sly watch films and would burst into tears when he was not allowed to attend previews. During his college days, he became friendly with the reclusive Aditya Chopra who had come up with idea of a cult story. KJo ditched his plans of going to Paris to pursue a degree in Mass Communication and joined forces with Chopra. The two developed that story together and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was born. It was during the DDLJ schedule that Shah Rukh Khan and KJo became chums. It was upon Khan’s persuasion that Johar decided to script and direct his first film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
KKHH released to great expectations, which it met, and Karan Johar the director was born. It was in this first film that Karan Johar established not only a niche in the industry, his film direction style started a new trend in moviemaking. The director added a modern flair to his debut film with the use of branded clothing and slang language, which appealed to the younger masses, but as the film progressed it changed to become one about values and love, targeted at an older mature audience. It was with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai that Karan Johar had arrived and how. The film went on to become a blockbuster hit, which is loved even today. It won numerous awards including Best Movie and Best Director for the year of 1998. KKHH also became the film which strengthened the director’s friendship with Shah Rukh Khan. From then on, Johar vowed to never direct a film without SRK in the lead. And sticking to his word, he never has. A few years later he was back with Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum, another winner then 4 years later he followed with Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and his next release, My Name is Khan; all of course starring SRK as the hero.
Besides, actor and director another cap that Karan wears is that of producer with his banner Dharma Productions. Each of Karan’s films has been produced by the company and in the last few years the banner has become known for it’s fresh take on Hindi films.