Any conversation around Bollywood movies will be deemed incomplete without a mention of B-Town’s own Destiny’s Child – Karan Johar. Often tagged as the Billion-Rupee man with an ever-growing list of super-hit in his kitty, KJo as he is more affectionately known, is known for making youthful films with a good dose of romance thrown in. If there is one person for whom this famous Oscar Wilde quote: “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess” rings true, it is for this second-generation filmmaker who knows how to aptly blend commerce with creativity. But as with any successful commercial director, KJo’s movies have their own share of ridiculousness that he chooses to repeat. Let’s take a quick look at six such stereotypical repeats.
6. Emotional Roller Coasters
From the weepy mother in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham to the selfless protagonist in Kal Ho Na Ho bent upon uniting loved ones even at the risk of breaking his beat-skipping heart, there are hardly any Karan Johar movies that don’t involve his trademark tear-jerking scenes. Whilst sometimes they are cringe worthy, at times they are also the very saving grace that the movie requires. KJo has always maintained that he’s someone who is very much in touch with his emotional side. So it should come as no surprise that most (if not all) of his movies continue to have these emotional scenes. After all, it has proved to be a key ingredient of his formula for success over the past two decades.
5. The Effeminate Gay Connection
It’s no secret that KJo’s movies have always been very pro-homosexuality. Whist on one hand, we should be proud to have a filmmaker who has repeatedly ensured that a gay (or supposedly gay) character has been included within the main plot rather than being sidelined as an accessory, these movies have also aided in further stereotyping gay people as having more effeminate qualities than your average man. From scenes of homophobia in Kal Ho Na Ho to the Archie-comic -Mr. Weatherbee-inspired gay school Principal in Student of the Year, KJo’s movies have always portrayed gays as rather comical characters with plenty of effeminacy thrown in. Add to this mix the character’s fondness for pink, the windmill-like arm motion and a vocabulary that consists of the world “Dahling”, and it is no surprise that these movies haven’t done any wonders for the gay community or helped them gain any further acceptance in our society. And yes, he continues to repeat this cliché in most of his movies.
4. The Role Reversal & Picture Perfect
It took a few KJo movies for me to realize this particular trend. The Underdog always wins. Which is absolutely fine, for who wants the boisterous favorite to win, right? But that’s not the trend I’m talking about. Almost all of his movies have at least one character completely revamp their look or attitude or both. Confused? Take a look at Kajol’s character in Kuch Kuch Hota hai – from Tomboy to Desi Princess. Preity Zinta’s character in Kal Ho Na Ho – from spectacled nerd to Punjabi Damsel. Hrithik Roshan in K3G – Chubby roly-poly to Greek God.
And let’s not forget the fact that the actors are always in makeup, regardless of whether they’ve just gotten up from their sleep or if they’re tired after a long day. Everyone is impeccably dressed and decked. Go on. I dare you to find a strand of hair out of place or a smudge of lipstick on their teeth. Never.
3. The Land of Excess
KJo’s movies have always been, and will probably always remain, larger than life. The “Rich” with their gold jewelry and SUV’s occupy the lowest pedestal of his fantasy world and as you go up the ladder, they merely upgrade from gold to platinum and from SUV’s to Ferrari’s. Even the poorest characters in his movies are likely to be ruggedly handsome with chiseled features or deliciously gorgeous with twinkling eyes. Add to this, designer costumes and exotic locales and regardless of the story, you’ve got all the ingredients of a KJo movie. Oh, and lots and lots of songs and dances from the romantic duets to the 90-member traditional family disco.
2. The Love Triangle
It’s been tried. It’s been tested. And yes, it’s been successful in the nineties. The only thing that changes is the girl-to-boy ratio. KJo almost seems obsessed with the thin line that seems to separate friendship and love. From KKHH to Dostana to SOTY, Karan Johar leaves no stone unturned when it comes to exploring the intricacies of the love triangle. What starts as friendship evolves into closer friendship and then eventually into love. And of course, one of them ultimately decides to take the role of the “big” person and sacrifices his or her love for the sake of friendship. Or because they’re dying. Because in K Jo’s world, there is never a sad ending. Or a realistic one, might I add. Sadly, we moviegoers make it work too, with every ticket we buy.
1. The Name Game
“What’s in a name?” you ask. Well, everything. If you’re Karan Johar or from his famous Dharma camp. KJo’s tendency to repeat protagonist’s names (sometimes even the surnames) across movies is something that is well known, and if we played the number game with names, we’d find that four names repeatedly make appearances over and over again – Rahul, Aman, Anjali and Naina. And trust me, sometimes they can get confusing. Because along with his tendencies to repeat names, he also loves to repeat casts. So don’t worry if the next time you hear the name Rahul, you can’t picture anyone else apart from Badshah Shahrukh Khan or Kajol when you hear Anjali. Just blame Karan Johar.