David Dhawan

  • Director, Writer, Producer, Screenplay, Editor

Aug 16, 1955  in Agartala, Tripura, India

Also Known as: Rajinder Dhawan

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Initially I went to join acting, but seeing other actors like Satish Shah and Suresh Oberoi, I realized I can't act" - The man who said this is today hailed as the 'King of Comedy' in Bollywood, we all know him by the name David Dhawan. An aspiring actor as a youngster, David Dhawan joined the FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) with dreams of becoming an actor but soon realized that acting could possibly not be his forte, and instead took up editing. In his debut movie, Taaqatwar (1989), he worked with Govinda, who at the time was still finding his foothold in Bollywood. This marked the beginning of an iconic director-actor pairing that would later give blockbuster hits such as Aankhen (1993), Raja Babu (1994), Coolie No. 1 (1995), and Hero No. 1 (1997).

At a time when mainstream Bollywood cinema focused on creating love stories and revenge action dramas, David took up the mantle to make comedy flicks, achieving immense success. His elder son Rohit is a Bollywood director, while his younger son Varun is an actor. Dawan directed his son Varun for the first time in 2014 with the movie Main Tera Hero.

Early Life
The change of name from Rajinder to David!
David was born into a Punjabi Hindu family in Agartala and was brought up in Kanpur, where his father served as a Manager in UCO Bank. He was named as Rajinder by his parents at birth, however, his Catholic neighbors randomly called him David. Owing to this nickname, his parents asked him to change his name officially to David. Actor Anil Dhawan is his brother while the actor Siddharth Dhawan is his nephew.

The dream of becoming an actor ended at FTII!
After completing his studies till class XII, David joined FTII to become an actor. However, after watching actors such as Suresh Oberoi and Satish Shah, he realized that he cannot act and then decided to become an editor.

Personal Life

David is married to Karuna and the couple has two sons - Varun and Rohit.

Movie Career

David Dhawan made his debut as an editor with the 1978 movie Laadli and went on to work on films such as Saaransh (1984), Saveray Wali Gadi (1986), and Insaaf (1987). He made his directorial debut in 1989 with the movie Taaqatwar. The action film marked his first collaboration with Govinda. The movie also starred Sanjay Dutt, Anita Raj, and Neelam Kothari.

Popular Movies

Swarg (1990) - With a star cast of Rajesh Khanna, Govinda, Juhi Chawla, and Madhavi the drama movie went on to become the second highest grosser of 1990.

Shola Aur Shabnam (1992) - The romantic drama featuring Govinda and Divya Bharti was a super hit while the song from the movie "Tu Pagal Premi Awara" became quite popular at the time.

Aankhen (1993) - One of the most successful and acclaimed films of David Dhawan's career, Aankhen featured Govinda and Chunky Pandey in titular roles. The action comedy movie was the highest grossing movie of 1993 and is also cited to have revived the career of Govinda. After the movie released, Govinda became to be known as the Comedy King of Bollywood.

Raja Babu (1994) - After the success of Aankhen, David directed another action comedy, Raja Babu starring Govinda, Shakti Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor, Kadr Khan, Gulshan Grover, Aruna Irani and Prem Chopra. The entire cast of the movie was appreciated for their performance especially Shakti Kapoor who essayed the character of a lisp named Nandu.

Coolie No. 1 (1995) - Dhawan added another feather in his cap with Coolie No. 1, teaming up with Govinda yet again. The chemistry of the Govinda and Kadar Khan received unanimous appreciation and the movie over the years has become a classic, earning a cult status.

Saajan Chale Sasural (1996) - By the time Saajan Chale Sasural hit the theatres the Dhawan-Govinda pairing had become unparalleled, delivering hits after hits. It was no surprise that the 1996 movie Saajan Chale Sasuraal starring Govinda, Tabu, Kadar Khan and Satish Kaushik became a blockbuster hit.

Judwaa (1997) - Dhawan delivered a blockbuster hit almost every year in the 1990s. Judwaa starring Salman Khan in a double role was another successful project. The songs of the movie, composed by Anu Malik, especially became iconic.

Biwi No. 1 (1999) - The movie starring Salman Khan, Karishma Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, and Sushmita Sen added another on the list of hits by David Dhawan. It was a remake of the 1995 Tamil film Sathi Leelavathi.

Post-1999 David Dhawan found little to moderate success with his films. His success formula with Govinda seemed to fade away as his several of his movies could not work at the box office. It was only in 2004 that he delivered a blockbuster which starred Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra.

Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004) - The film saw a deviation in Dhawan's approach of filmmaking as he packaged it as a classic romantic comedy instead of using the regular mass-entertainer treatment. His attempt to reinvent himself proved to be successful as Mujhse Shaadi Karogi opened to positive reviews with the performances, cinematography, music, and direction being praised.

Partner (2007) - Supposedly inspired by the Hollywood movie Hitch, Partner saw Dhawan collaborating with Govinda after their previous unsuccessful venture Ek Aur Ek Gyarah which was released in 2003. Partner, which also starred Salman Khan, was declared as a blockbuster and is often cited as a movie that could have revived Govinda's career which had seen a slump since the early 2000s.

Main Tera Hero (2014) - The movie marked the first collaboration of Dhawan with his son Varun. Although the movie received mixed reviews it was declared as a hit at the box office.

In 2017, Dhawan directed the reboot of his 1997 hit movie Judwaa, titled Judwaa 2 featuring Varun Dhawan in a double role, which was essayed by Salman Khan in the original. The movie also features Taapsee Pannu and Jacqueline Fernandez in the lead roles.