For a long time now the world has been waiting with baited breath for the launch of the Karan Johar tell all autobiography ‘An Unsuitable Boy’. The most anticipated Bollywood celebrity autobiography ever, Karan’s book is all that it said it would be. The book is Karan in his growing up years, his untimely entry into films, his style of making films, the company Dharma, his foray into TV and his friends Shahrukh Kareena and the enemies club. In short it is a Bollywood potboiler if ever there was one. So we at Bollywoodpataka after going through the memoir have chosen for you 10 revelations from the book that we feel effectively tell Karan Johar’s story of growing up in Bollywood.
The Growing up years with Dad
While discussing his life while growing up, Karan said, "I grew up with movie stars. I was used to stars stardom. We had to succumb to their stardom. Stars back then were unapproachable entities. I still remember how my father would open doors for the stars, carried their bags, even when he was a producer, my mum would always tell him that he doesn’t have to do all that. But I was another person, in my head, I was always royalty. I was pampered by my father and he made me think I can do anything, and I can become an actor too. My mother however secretly always knew I wasn't meant to be a movie star.”
An innocent Karan
Karan while relating a very funny incident from his childhood writes, “There was a big age-gap between me and my father, and no one else told me about these things. I had a very square group of friends: we were all very good girls and boys. We were the Gujarati bunch who would go for picnics. We were the most uncool, unaware and innocent lot,” says the book about Johar’s childhood.
“I was sexually completely inexperienced. Even when I was a kid, I was very backward in this department. I still remember the first time someone told me about bl*w j*bs. There was a kid in class who told me, you take off all your clothes and put your fan on high speed, and that’s a bl*w j*b.’ I said, ‘I can do that. What is the big deal in that?’ And at 12, I remember, I removed my clothes and put my fan on full speed. Later, I told him about it and he said, ‘You did it!’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I did it three times.’ He said, ‘You had three bl*w j*bs yesterday!’ I said, ‘Yeah, I had three bl*w j*bs.”
In An Unsuitable Boy Karan explains just why the title of his book is a very apt description of his life story . Speaking on how he was different the film maker adds, “While growing up, I was combating a hundred issues in my head. The thought of sex made me awkward; it almost rattled me. I thought, am I asexual? Why am I not feeling this? Why am I not doing anything? There was a lot of turbulence in my head. For me to address it, talk about it, discuss it, was a big no-no. I brushed it under the carpet all through the making of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. At that time, I was also very large and was grappling with my weight issues. I felt physically undesirable. Post Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, (1998) I had actually started working a little on my looks. I had lost some weight and had groomed myself a bit. Finally, I had developed a little spring in my step, a little confidence. That’s when my first encounter happened, after the release of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, out of the country.”
Karan on his sexual orientation
Johar had his first sexual encounter at 26 but this is not something he is “proud” of. Completely inexperienced sexually up to that point of time, he paid for sex in New York. “It was a nerve-wracking experience for me,” Johar says in his memoir.
He did it twice, the first time he paid the money but could not consummate. A week later, he was back again. “This time, I walked out with guilt. I felt miserable. It’s not that the sexual release was fun. It just seemed a bit stupid; it seemed fake because obviously the person assigned to please you is going to please you artificially,” he notes.
Johar also points out that, somehow, people equate being in the entertainment industry with having a lot of sex.
“But I don’t want that much. Actually I don’t care about it. People think that since I am travelling a lot, I am having a lot of sex. But it doesn’t happen that way. A boarding pass is not a pass for sex. I am not in love with anyone anymore,” the filmmaker writes.
On being tagged as the poster boy of homosexuality
I get scared of being spotted with any single man now because I think they are going to think that I am sleeping with him. I mean, firstly I have never ever talked about my orientation or sexuality because whether I am heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, it is my concern. I refuse to talk about it. I have not been brought up to talk about my sex life. I know I am the butt of many jokes, pun intended. I know how my sexuality is discussed. I have become like the poster boy of homosexuality in this country.
His spat with Kareena Kapoor Khan
In a recent Koffee with Karan season 6 episode Karan and Kareena got on like a house on fire. In fact Karan in the course of the show even said that he is super protective about both Kareena Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor. However, a while ago all was not well between Kareena and KJo. Karan wrote, "I offered Kareena Kal Ho Naa Ho, and she asked for the same money that Shah Rukh Khan was getting. I said, 'Sorry'. I was very hurt. I told my father, left that negotiation room and I called her. She didn't take my call, and I said, we're not taking her and signed Preity Zinta instead. "Kareena and I didn't speak to each other for almost a year. For a year, we looked through each other at parties. It was very idiotic. Karan goes on to narrate how after that Karan’s dad Yash Johar fell sick, Bebo had heard about Yash Uncle undergoing treatment and got emotional on the phone and said, "I love you and I am so sorry I haven't been in touch. Don't worry." And they were back to being friends just like it was. Today it’s like nothing ever happened, proof of the pudding the recent episode of Koffee with Karan.
Karan and Shahrukh
In one of the chapters of the book, Karan writes about the time a protective Shah Rukh Khan was his shield from an underworld threat. It was during the release of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai that his mother Hiroo got a threat to stop the release of the film, from underworld don Abu Salem. Karan writes, “We were a simple family. We'd never had the underworld calling us to stop the release of a film. We'd never dreamt that something like this could even happen to us. My mother said, 'We don't want all this nonsense, Shah Rukh responded, 'What nonsense!' He went inside and dragged me out. He said, 'I'm standing here in front of you. Let's see who shoots you. I'm standing right here. I said, 'No, no, no, my mother was...' He told my mother, 'Nothing's gonna happen. I'm a Pathan. Nothing can happen to me and nothing will happen to your son. He's like my brother. Nothing's gonna happen.” KJo added that they had their film's premiere but he was put in a small room with two security guards for his protection.
Karan has a whole chapter on his friendship with Shahrukh that some thought was ‘special’ KJo explains, For heaven’s sake, for years there were rumours about Shah Rukh and me. And I was traumatized by it. I was on a show on a Hindi channel, and I was asked about Shah Rukh. ‘Yeh anokha rishta hai aap ka,’ the interviewer said. He worded it in such a way that I got really angry. I said, ‘If I asked you if you are sleeping with your brother, how will you feel?’ So he said, ‘What do you mean? How can you ask me this question?’ I said, ‘How could you ask me this question?’ For me, no matter what ups and downs Shah Rukh and I have been through, he is a father figure, an older brother to me. For me to look at him in that way or be subjected to those rumours was just ridiculous. But it didn’t bother him. He said, ‘People talk nonsense, and if a man does not have an extramarital affair, he is supposed to be gay.”
Further speaking on their alleged split Karan says,"Shah Rukh is a very possessive friend. I think I may have hurt him when I made a film without him. And I think I got hurt because when I did, I felt he didn't give me that paternal or fraternal feeling that I had from him otherwise. I think we were two hurt friends for no reason." Karan further revealed that the "simmering silent distance" between them evaporated when they met at the success party of Piku. Karan wrote, "I hugged him instinctively and said, 'I've missed you.' And he said, 'You've no idea how much I've missed you.' We had this moment." He also added that "when the origin of the friendship is so strong, it just cannot die."
Also read the end of a friendship with kajol
Karan’s Bollywood babies
"While talking about his paternal instincts, Karan said, “For me, a child means an old-age insurance policy. I have a nurturing quality in me. I saw that when I launched Alia, Varun and Sid in Student of the Year. I can't let go of them even now. I see myself staring at them to see what they are doing and how they are doing. I am very strongly paternal. My paternal instincts need to be acted upon. My love needs a release. I love everyone. I don't express my love enough, but the love within me needs a platform as a parent."
Films and the film maker
In An Unsuitable boy KJO reveals how the new trait he has acquired is honesty, something which, according to him, he did not have in the last decade , “There was a time when I was very concerned about what other film-makers did… it was borderline jealousy, competition… I used to sometimes wish their films wouldn’t do as well as they did. I used to be troubled by Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s brilliance. I used to be affected that I couldn’t write a film like Raju Hirani,” Johar regrets. He goes on to say how after all these years, Johar is no longer bothered. “If I hear a film has done well, great. Good for you.” Another significant issue that find mentions is his feeling that he never gets credit for his work. “I feel no matter what kind of films I do, I never get credit. It gets forgotten immediately afterwards. I am still associated with popcorn, frivolity, NRIs and rich people.”
Speaking on how he has developed a IDC (I don’t care) attitude to what is written about him on the social media Karan Johar says, “But honestly, I have no problem with people saying what they want about me. Twitter has the most abuse. I wake up to at least 200 hate posts saying, ‘Get out, you’re polluting our nation, you’re dirtying society’ or ‘Shove [IPC Section] 377 up your arse.’ I get this on a daily basis and I’ve learnt to laugh it off. One man came up to me once very cockily at Heathrow airport and said, ‘Is it true that you are a homo?’ He was with his wife and child, and he asked me this. I looked at him and said, ‘Why, are you interested?’ And he said, ‘Hey, what what what!’ And I said, ‘Don’t what what me.’ And I walked out…
In the book Karan sums it up well, "Coming clean is my dynamic," with An Unsuitable Boy, he's come clean and how. Our respect for the guts and truthfulness in his autobiography.
The short excerpts above are from An Unsuitable Boy by Karan Johar, with Poonam Saxena. Published by Penguin Books India. The book which is flying off the shelves is for Rs 699 for the hard cover version grab your copy today