David Dhawan – The director behind brainless comedy entertainers of Bollywood

David Dhawan is the most successful Bollywood filmmaker associated with comedy entertainers. He owns many super hit comedies to his credit, particularly in the 1990s, when he created a sequence of movies which had the tag ‘No: 1’ in the film title. His majority of hit films were done with Govinda and Salman Khan, and he worked with both these actors in 2006 blockbuster, Partner. His ‘No.1’ series with actor Govinda include Coolie No: 1, Hero No: 1, Jodi No.1 and Aunty No: 1 and with Salman Khan was Biwi No: 1. He frequently casted Karishma Kapoor, Juhi Chawla and Raveena Tandon as lead heroines during his peak years. He also made hit films with Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor.

David Dhawan gave maximum number of hits to the careers of Salman Khan and Govinda, and also redefined their careers as comedy actors. Govinda and David Dhawan ruled the box office in the ’90s. His most successful films with Govinda are Aankhein, Partner, Coolie No: 1, Hero No: 1, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Haseena Maan Jaayegi, Deewana Mastana, Swarg, Raja Babu, Shola Aur Shabnam, Sajan Chalo Sasural, Kunwara, Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya etc. His successful films with Salman Khan are Partner, Judwaa, Biwi No: 1, Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge and Mujhse Shaadi Karoge. Other successful films of his career include Chashme Buddoor, Main Tere Hero, Judwaa 2, Bol Radha Bol etc.

He was born into a Punjabi family in Agartala, Tripura in 1955. His ancestors are from Ludhiana. Initially he was interested in acting and joined the prestigious FTII for the same. Very soon he realized that acting is not his cup of tea and took editing. In film industry he started off with editing in the 1980s, and later moved to direction. Taaqatwar (1989) was his debut film as a director, and has completed three decades in the industry as a director. Ankhein was his first successful comedy film and he stick on this genre of filmmaking.

Most of his films can be tagged as brain-less comedies and pure entertainers. All of them are masala entertainers appealing the masses. Both his sons are associated with Bollywood. His second son Varun Dhawan is one of the most popular heroes of Bollywood right now, while his elder son made his successful directorial debut with Desi Boyz. His elder brother Anil Dhawan is a successful actor of Bollywood 1970s, best known for playing lead role in ‘Piya Ka Ghar‘ and ‘Chetana‘.

David Dhawan – Some interesting and less-known facts

1. His birth name is Rajinder Dhawan. His Christian neighbors used to call him David and officially changed his name to David Dhawan when he joined FTII.

2. David Dhawan – Govinda remains one of the most successful combos ever in Hindi films. Together they did 17 films, mostly belonging to comedy genre, particularly in the 1990s. In fact he marked his directorial debut with Govinda starrer Taaqatwar in 1986 and worked together for the last time in 2009 movie – Do Knot Disturb.

3. He played an important role in establishing Govinda and Karishma Kapoor as the top comic Jodi of 1990s. He casted them together for the movies – Coolie No: 1, Hero No: 1, Sajan Chalo Sasural, Haseena Maan Jaayegi and Raja Babu, which played a magnificent role in establishing their careers as well.

4. Coolie No: 1 was the first movie in ‘No: 1’ series, which gave a new direction to his career.

5. His 2000- year film Chal Mere Bhai experimented the successful pair of Sanjay Dutt and Salman Khan after a long break of 9 years (after Saajan happened in 1991). But the movie flopped.

6. He directed two hit films with his son Varun Dhawan in the recent past – Judwaa 2 and Main Tera Hero, and currently planning to remake three of his movies belonging to ‘No: 1 Series’ with his son playing the lead role – Coolie No: 1, Shaadi No: 1 and Biwi No: 1.

A screen shot from the biggest hit of his career – Judwaa 2

7. He has also remade many Bollywood hits of yesterdays, apart from several south Indian remakes. His biggest hit of his early phase Aankhein was a remake of Do phool (1973). Chashme Badhoor was a remake of 1980s film with the same title. His hit films – Aankhen and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan had a plot similar to 1982 film – Angoor, with two actors playing double roles in a single film,

8. Actor Kader Khan was a permanent fixture of David’s films in the 1990s, mostly with Govinda playing the lead role. They worked together in Shola aur Shabnam, Bol Radha Bol, Hero No 1, Coolie No 1, Aunty No 1, Haseena Maan Jayegi and Mujhse Shaadi Karogi. Kadar Khan co-scripted a few Dhawan movies too.

9. He released Biwi No: 1 during Cricket World Cup in 1999 as he was pretty confident that cricket fever won’t affect film’s collections, and the movie became the biggest blockbuster of the year.

10. Judwaa was his first association with Salman Khan. His biggest flops with Salman Khan are Chal Mere Bhai and Yeh Hai Jalwa.

11. He tasted success with Aankhen, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Judwaa and Judwaa 2 with actors playing double roles, and its theme inspired from ‘Comedy of Errors’. Bol Radha Bol also belongs to this genre of movies.

12. His films – Biwi No.1 and Aankhen earned him nominations at Filmfare awards in best director category. Biwi No.1 also bagged a nomination for best film.

13. Despite giving numerous entertaining movies to Bollywood, he is yet to receive a Filmfare award.

14. Govinda once said that it was he who approached Dhawan with the project of Chashme Badoor. But the director made the film with someone else. Later when his secretary offered Dhawan a film, the director reacted rude. Deeply hurt Govinda decided not to work with the director later. Govinda accused the director for not standing with him during the low phase, even after making repeated attempts.

15. In 2019 Govinda claimed that he was initially casted for Judwaa, and he left the project after Salman Khan had called and requested him to leave a film he was already working on. It was the first association of David Dhawan with Salman Khan, and they together had a successful innings later.

16. David Dhawan and director Punit Malhotra’s father are first cousins.

17. His wife Karuna Dhawan is designer Manish Malhotra’s cousin sister.

18. Though he worked with Karishma Kapoor in maximum number of films delivering super hits, he never worked with her younger sister Kareena Kapoor.

75+ Top Songs of David Dhawan films

There are only a few instances when songs of David Dhawan movies went unnoticed, even if the film flops. Some of David Dhawan songs of 1990s were infamous for double meaning, lyrics mostly provided by Sameer. Passing out that factor, here I list some of the best chartbuster songs of David Dhawan films. It is to be noted that just like comedy masala, his filmy music is far cry from melodious tunes. Most of them are peppy songs, with only a very few exceptions. In some cases, entire album was a musical hit; for instance – Coolie No: 1, Biwi No: 1, Judwaa, Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge etc and here we go……

sonu nigam hits

Meri Neend Jaane Lagi Hai – One of the very rarest soft romantic tracks of David Dhawan films

1. Yeh Mere Dost from Swarg (1990)

2. Tu Pagal Premi Awara from Shola Aur Shabnam (1992)

3. Tere Mere Pyar Mein from Shola Aur Shabnam (1992)

4. Tu Tu Tu Tu Tara from Bol Radha Bol (1992)

5. Main Hoon Gaon Ki Gori from Bol Radha Bol (1992)

6. Bol Radha Bol from Bol Radha Bol (1992)

7. O Lal Dupatte Wali from Aankhein (1993)

8. Ek Tamanna Jeevan Ki from Aankhein (1993)

9. Angna Mein Baba from Aankhein (1993)

10. Mera Dil Na Todo from Raja Babu (1994)

11. Yaad Sataye Teri Neend Churaye from Raja Babu (1994)

12. Dil Ka Panchi Bole Kuku Kuku from Andaz (1994)

13. Mera Piya Ghar Aaya from Yaraana (1995)

14. Allah Allah Mera Dil Dhadke from Yaraana (1995)

15. Main To Raste Se Jaa Raha Tha from Coolie No: 1 (1995)

16. Husn Hai Suhana from Coolie No: 1 (1995)

17. Tum To Bade Chaalak from Saajan Chale Sasural (1996)

18. Ram Narayan Baaja Bajata from Saajan Chale Sasural (1996)

19. Teri Tirchi Nazar Main from Loafer (1996)

20. Akela Hai Mr. Khiladi from Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi (1997)

21. Jab Takk Rahega Samose Mein Aaloo from Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi (1997)

22. Zara Parde Peh Aane De from Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi (1997)

23. East Or West India Is The Best from Judwaa (1997)

24. Oonchi Hai Building from Judwaa (1997)

25. Tu Mere Dil Mein Basja from Judwaa (1997)

26. Tan Tana Tan Tan Tan Tara from Judwaa (1997)

27. Tera Aana Tera Jaana from Judwaa (1997)

28. Duniya Mein Aaye from Judwaa (1997)

29. Tere Bina Dil Lagta Nahi from Deewana Mastana (1997)

30. Head Ya Tail from Deewana Mastana (1997)

31. Sona Kitna Sona Hai from Hero No: 1 (1997)

32. Main Paidal Se Jaa from Hero No: 1 (1997)

33. Mohabbat Ki Nahin Jaati from Hero No: 1 (1997)

34. Main Tujhko Bhaga Laya from Hero No: 1 (1997)

35. Ek Taraf Hai Gharwali Ek Taraf Baharwali from Gharwali Baharwali (1998)

36. Tara Raara Raara Ra from Gharwali Baharwali (1998)

37. Title track from Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998)

38. Kisi Disco Mein Jaaye from Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998)

39. Mere Pyaar Kaa Ras Zara Chakhna from Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998)

40. Chunari Chunari from Biwi No: 1 (1999)

41. Title track from Biwi No: 1 (1999)

42. Mehboob Mere from Biwi No: 1 (1999)

43. Jungle Hai Aadhi Raat from Biwi No: 1 (1999)

44. Ishq Sona Hai from Biwi No: 1 (1999)

45. Hai Hai Mirchi from Biwi No: 1 (1999)

46. I Love You Bol Daal from Haseena Maan Jayegi (1999)

47. What Is Mobile Number from Haseena Maan Jayegi (1999)

48. Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge from Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge (2000)

49. Pyar Dilon Ka Mela from Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge (2000)

50. Hai Na Bolo from Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge (2000)

51. O Mr Raja from Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge (2000)

52. Chhamiya from Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge (2000)

53. Dheere Dheere Chalna from Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge (2000)

54. Mujhse Shaadi Karogi from Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge (2000)

55. Tera Pallu from Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge (2000)

56. Na Heera Na Moti from Kunwara (2000)

57. Meri Chammak Chalo from Kunwara (2000)

58. Sun Mere Sasure Main from Kunwara (2000)

59. Chori Chori Sapno Mein from Chal Mere Bhai (2000)

60. Meri Neend Jaane Lagi Hai from Chal Mere Bhai (2000)

61. Suno Miya Suno from Kyo Kii… Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta (2001)

62. Choodi Khankayi Re from Yeh Hai Jalwa (2002)

63. O Jaane Jigar from Yeh Hai Jalwa (2002)

64. Aankhen Pyari Hain from Yeh Hai Jalwa (2002)

65. O Sapnon Ke Saudagar from Hum Kisise Kum Nahin (2002)

66. Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai from Hum Kisise Kum Nahin (2002)

67. Title track from Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004)

68. Laal Dupatta from Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004)

69. Aaja Soniye from Mujhse Shaadi Karogi (2004)

70. Laga Prem Rog from Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005)

71. Just Chill from Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005)

72. Do You Wanna Partner from Partner (2006)

73. Soni De Nakhre from Partner (2006)

74. Galat Baat Hai from Main Tera Hero (2014)

75. Oonchi Hai Building 2.0 from Judwaa 2 (2017)

76. Chalti Hai Kya 9 Se 12 from Judwaa 2 (2017)



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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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