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KARAN JOHAR is one of the leading directors, producers and writers in the Hindi film industry. He is the son of a much-respected film producer, Yash Johar, who set up Dharma Productions in 1976 (when Karan was just five years old); Karan took over his father’s legacy following his death in 2004. Over the years, he has built Dharma into a powerful, influential and flourishing entity.
Karan began his tryst with filmdom in 1995 as an assistant to filmmaker Aditya Chopra on the sets of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995). Subsequently, Karan made his debut as director with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), which went on to become a blockbuster. He has directed six major films and produced over twenty, all starring some of the biggest names in Bollywood. He recently made his first appearance as actor, in Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet (2015). Most of his films have won several awards; he himself has won Best Director award several times.
Karan has tackled all sorts of compelling themes in his films, from family values (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham) and infidelity (Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna) to autism and religious prejudice (My Name Is Khan) and homosexuality (Bombay Talkies).
The multitalented Karan also began a celebrity chat show on TV in 2004, Koffee with Karan, which became a runaway hit. There have been four seasons till now and it is one of the most-watched shows, routinely making headlines. He has dabbled in fashion design, and even done the costumes for films such as Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Mohabbatein and Dil To Pagal Hai.
An extremely popular and well-liked member of the film fraternity, Karan has come to be regarded as a spokesman of the industry.
In 2007, he was chosen as one of 250 Global Young Leaders by the World Economic Forum.
POONAM SAXENA is a journalist with Hindustan Times, where she is the editor of the Sunday magazine.
She did her BA and MA in history from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, and went on to do an MPhil from Delhi University.
She has been a journalist for almost twenty years, first as a freelancer and then as features editor with newspapers such as the Asian Age. She wrote a popular TV review column in the Hindustan Times called ‘Small Screen’ for almost ten years.
She recently translated Gunahon ka Devta, acclaimed Hindi writer Dharamvir Bharati’s iconic 1949 novel into English (Chander & Sudha, Penguin Viking); the translation has received glowing reviews.