7 best Karan Johar-directed movies that show spectrum of emotions

Karan Johar-directed movies offer glimpses of emotion and familial connections. Renowned for crafting romantic masterpieces, explore some of his films here!

Updated on Jun 10, 2024  |  08:50 PM IST |  47.9K
Karan Johar
Picture Courtesy: Karan Johar/Instagram

Karan Johar is a multi-faceted Bollywood filmmaker known for grand productions, romance, and social commentary. Through the launch of Dharma Productions, a powerhouse studio, Karan Johar directed movies like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. 

Johar champions fresh talent and explores love stories with a twist. He isn't afraid to tackle controversial themes like infidelity (Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna) or cultural clashes (My Name is Khan). Mixing humor, drama, and music, he's become a pop culture icon.

7 best Karan Johar-directed movies that dive into the world of love and emotions 

Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani 

Picture Courtesy: IMDb

  • Cast: Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Shabana Azmi, Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, Anjali Anand
  • IMDb Rating: 6.5/10
  • Movie Genre: Romance, Comedy
  • Release Year: 2023
  • Where to Watch: Prime Video

Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani is one of Karan Johar’s latest movies, and the romantic comedy was a total hit. It follows the love story of Punjabi firebrand Rocky (Ranveer Singh) and Bengali journalist Rani (Alia Bhatt), who defy their contrasting backgrounds and families and want to be together. 

Facing disapproval, they embark on a three-month trial of living with each other's families, hoping to prove their love can withstand cultural clashes. Karan Johar, known for his grand productions and focus on love stories, injects humor and social commentary on family traditions and modern love into this vibrant film.

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Picture Courtesy: IMDb

  • Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Rani Mukerji, Anupam Kher, Archana Puran, Salman Khan, Sana Saeed, Farida Jalal
  • IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
  • Movie Genre: Romance, Family
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Karan Johar's directorial debut, is a romantic comedy with a twist. In college, tomboyish Anjali (Kajol) secretly loves her best friend Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), but he falls for the stylish Tina (Rani Mukerji) and Aman (played by Salman Khan. Years later, Rahul's young daughter, inspired by her late mother's letters, tries to reunite him with Anjali, who's now a mature woman. 

This Karan Johar and Salman Khan movie is a fresh take on love. He blends two love stories across timelines, showcasing friendship, love triangles, and the importance of following your heart. The film's vibrant visuals, catchy music, and focus on love and family became a Bollywood staple. 

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham 

Picture Courtesy: IMDb

  • Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Farida Jalal, Hrithik Roshan, Jibraan Khan
  • IMDb Rating: 7.4/10
  • Movie Genre: Musical, Romance
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... or K3G, is one of Karan Johar’s best movies, focusing on grand family drama. Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan), the adopted son of a wealthy family, defies his father by marrying Anjali (Kajol) from a humbler background. Disowned, they build a life in London. 


Years later, Rahul's younger brother Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) embarks on a mission to reunite the family, navigating cultural clashes and emotional turmoil. Johar's extravagant sets, melodramatic plot, and focus on family ties and forgiveness make K3G a quintessential Bollywood tearjerker.

My Name Is Khan 

Picture Courtesy: IMDb

  • Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Adarsh Gourav, Tanay Chheda, Jimmy Shergill
  • IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
  • Movie Genre: Romance, Adventure
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Where to Watch: YouTube

My Name Is Khan stands at the top of Karan Johar’s hit movies list. The movie tackles Islamophobia and prejudice in a post-9/11 world. Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), a man with Asperger's syndrome, migrates to the US and marries Mandira (Kajol). Tragedy strikes after the attacks, leading to suspicion and discrimination towards Rizwan. Determined to clear his name and promote tolerance, he embarks on a cross-country journey to meet the President. 

Johar delivers a powerful message wrapped in a love story. He portrays the struggles of Muslims in America while highlighting the importance of empathy and understanding.


Student Of The Year 

Picture Courtesy: IMDb

  • Cast: Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sidharth Malhotra, Rishi Kapoor, Manjot Singh, Ram Kapoor, Sana Saeed
  • IMDb Rating:  5.3/10
  • Movie Genre: Comedy, Romance
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

Student of the Year, directed by Karan Johar, is a teen romance set in a glamorous college. Two ambitious students, Abhi (Sidharth Malhotra) and Rohan (Varun Dhawan), compete for the Student of the Year title and the affection of their beautiful classmate Shanaya (Alia Bhatt). 

Johar's take is lighthearted and aspirational. He infuses classic high school tropes with Bollywood flair, showcasing extravagant sets, catchy music, and dance numbers. The film launched the careers of its three leads and explored themes of ambition, friendship, and the pressure to excel in a competitive environment.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil 

Picture Courtesy: IMDb

  • Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Fawad Khan, Lisa Haydon, Alia Bhatt
  • IMDb Rating: 5.8/10
  • Movie Genre: Romance, Musical
  • Release Year: 2016
  • Where to Watch: Netflix

In the list of Karan Johar’s famous movies, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil wins at all costs. It is a complex love story directed by Karan Johar. Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) and Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) form a deep bond in New York, but Alizeh avoids commitment due to a past heartbreak. Years later, Alizeh reconnects with her husband, DJ (Fawad Kahan), who becomes a close friend despite her own feelings for Ayan. 


Johar explores the complexities of unrequited love and emotional maturity. The film features his signature grandeur with beautiful visuals, soulful music, and strong performances. However, it sparked debate for its portrayal of a love triangle with a married character.

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna 

Picture Courtesy: IMDb

  • Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Amitabh Bachchan, Kirron Kher
  • IMDb Rating: 6.1/10 
  • Movie Genre: Romance, Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Where to Watch: Netflix 

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, directed by Karan Johar, tackles infidelity and marital dissatisfaction. This is one of the best Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan movies; he plays Dev and Maya (Rani Mukerji), both unfulfilled in their marriages to Rhea (Preity Zinta) and Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan), who find solace in an extramarital affair.

Johar's take is bold for mainstream Bollywood. He explores the emotional justifications for infidelity while portraying the consequences on families and personal happiness. The film features his usual grandeur but is laced with a darker tone. It divided audiences - some praised its realistic portrayal, while others found it controversial.

Karan Johar's movies showcase core themes of love, family, and emotional depth. The genre has remained a constant thread throughout his diverse filmography. He continues to push boundaries and captivate audiences, solidifying his place as a leading creative force in Bollywood.


Next up, the director is preparing to return to the director's seat with the upcoming film Takht. Details such as the star cast and title are currently being kept secret.

ALSO READ: Priyanka Chopra remembers dad Ashok Chopra on his 11th death anniversary in special post; 'Thinking of you today and everyday'

Karan Johar Directed Movies

How did Karan Johar become a director?
Karan Johar began his career as an assistant director and later rose to prominence as a director with his debut film, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

Which short film of Kiara Advani was directed by Karan Johar?
Lust Stories, starring Kiara Advani, is directed by Karan Johar.

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About The Author

Drenched in the vibrant hues of Bollywood, Rajni Singh is an entertainment journalist with 3 years of experience in the


Credits: IMDb

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