From the top stars like Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt to the debutants Ananya Panday and Tara Sutaria and also directors like Ayan Mukerji, Karan Malhotra, Shashank Khaitan have Karan Johar to thank for their big break. On the maverick filmmaker Karan Johar's birthday that recently just happened, here's a look at how KJo's has given launched some of the biggest names in the industry
Alia Bhatt: It is no big news that by producing Student Of The Year, Karan Johar gave Bollywood three stars to watch out for - Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra. Alia has time and again mentioned that it was Johar's vision that launched her in Bollywood. Alia's films - Student Of The Year, 2 States, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Shaandaar, Kapoor & Sons, Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Kalank were all Dharma Productions' ventures.
Varun Dhawan: He, too, is one of Karan Johar's blue eyed boys. Varun Dhawan has worked under Karan Johar's banner Dharma Productions with films like Student Of The Year 2, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Kalank.
Sidharth Malhotra: Sid is Karan Johar's favourite and don't we know it. The duo is often spotted at dinner outings, movie outings or any parties for that matter. Sidharth was launched by KJo in Student Of The Year and was later part of many films produced by Dharma Productions - such as Hasee Toh Phasee, Brothers, Kapoors & Sons, Baar Baar Dekho and Ittefaq.
Ananya Panday: Ananya Panday, daughter of Bollywood actor Chunky and his wife Bhavana Pandey made her debut with Karan Johar's Student Of The Year 2 opposite Tiger Shroff. Ananya Panday thanked Karan Johar for launching her and has already bagged her second project, the Pati Patni Aur Woh remake.
Tara Sutaria: With Student Of The Year 2, Karan Johar launched another newbie, Tara Sutaria The actress even graced the coffee couch, as she made her debut with Ananya Panday on Koffee With Karan as well.
Abhishek Varman: He was an assistant director in Karan Johar directorials like Student Of The Year and My Name Is Khan. However, in 2014, Abhishek got his big Bollywood break as a director with Dharma Productions' 2 States. He got his first 100 crore film with his debut venture and went on to bag the second film with KJo. Varman recently directed the multistarrer Kalank - starring Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sonakshi Sinha and Aditya Roy Kapur. Abhishek had previously worked as an Assistant Director for Ashutosh Gowariker's Jodha Akbar.
Ayan Mukerji: He worked as an assistant director with Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. After a brief break, Ayan wrote the screenplay of Wake Up Sid!, which, when he showed to Karan Johar he offered him to direct the film. He later directed Dharma Productions' super-hit film Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Ayan Mukerji is currently working with his good pal Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt for their superhero film Brahmastra.
Janhvi Kapoor: Late actress Sridevi and Boney Kapoor's daughter Janhvi Kapoor was launched by Karan Johar with Dharma Productions' film Dhadak, which is the Hindi remake of Marathi film Sairat. It was a launchpad Sridevi was most excited about. But as fate would have it, Sridevi was not by Janhvi's side when Dhadak released in July 2018. The late actress was quite close to Karan Johar and so is Janhvi now.
Karan Malhotra: Another Malhotra, who also launched by Karan in Bollywood is Karan Malhotra who was lauded for his debut vehicle Agneepath. Well, before getting a big Bollywood break, Karan Malhotra worked as an assistant director in films such as Jodhaa Akbar, My Name Is Khan and Jaan-E-Mann. KJo again collaborated with the director for Akshay Kumar and Sidharth Malhotra's Brothers
Punit Malhotra: Nephew of fashion designer Manish Malhotra, who is also a very good friend of Karan Johar, Punit Malhotra made his directorial debut with KJo's film I Hate Love Storys. But before getting the big break, Puneet worked as an Assistant Director in the film Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Paheli and Dostana. He recently directed Student Of The Year 2.
Shakun Batra: After assisting in films like Rock On, Don 2 and Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Naa, Batra directed his debut film in 2012 with Kareena Kapoor and Imran Khan starrer romantic comedy Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, which was produced by KJO under his banner Dharma Productions. Shakun later directed Kapoor & Sons.
Shashank Khaitan: He too was introduced by Karan Johar in 2014 with Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan starrer Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. In May 2016, Khaitan again collaborated with Karan Johar to write and direct Badrinath Ki Dulhania, under the Dharma Productions banner with Dhawan and Bhatt. Shashank Khaitan also directed Dhadak for Dharma productions.
Sidharth P Malhotra: Another Sidharth that Karan Johar played a Godfather to! In 2010, Siddharth P. Malhotra directed Karan Johar's film We Are Family, starring Kajol, Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal, which sadly did not do so well at the box-office. Well, quite recently his directorial venture Hichki starring Rani Mukherjee, despite being a YRF's production venture, was promoted extensively by Karan Johar.
Sonam Nair: Karan Johar, is undoubtedly one of the best filmmakers in the film industry who have given breaks to talent. Director Sonam Nayyar made her directorial debut with Karan Johar's film Gippi, after which she also directed some short films and web series, which Karan Johar promoted on a personal level! He is known to be a sweet-heart for a reason!
There are a lot of people whose lives have changed completely because of Karan Johar's support. Even though fiercely vocal Kangana Ranaut has called him the flag-bearer of nepotism in Bollywood, KJo's eye for talent has its own merit and he is able to understand passion and drive when he sees it. Given how he turned around his father's failing production house into a massive Bollywood success story, guess there's nothing that stands in the way of true talent and that Karan Johar himself has plenty!