Karan Johar’s autobiography at the age of 44 might look like it has come far too soon. But as you flip the pages, reading him addressing the innumerable controversies he’s been into – apart from his personal sense of discovery and liberation – you wouldn’t have anything to complain of.
The quintessential buzz maker of Bollywood, Karan Johar as a film-maker flaps his wings on tabloids unabashedly – and quite unlikely his guarded, mystic and enigmatic counterparts. By his own admission, he has been told to maintain a low-key profile to keep up with an image of a brooding filmmaker. But then in his own words, “That’s not who I am!”
And this autobiography of his, is an honest peek into his supposedly larger-than-life life.
To put things into perspective, let’s split it into three parts:
Part I: “The rich, spoilt brat”
We have always thought of Karan Johar being someone born with a golden spoon. A lavish bedroom, servants hovering around him as he snaps his finger to call for the magic spinning fairies. Right? Unfortunately, what looked like a glass ceiling was a perception of this glamorous industry we have been born with. Karan Johar demystifies it in his childhood and college account, just the right way.
“I was always with the rich kids. I always felt rich. But I was not rich.We were from a middle-class family.”
As he peels off the layer of his suave charisma, we discover a side of him we can only relate to. From a lazy, insecure and lonely childhood, Karan evolved into a curious, funny, passionate young boy everybody adored. The journey of it is quite compelling and one of the most engaging, funny and emotional parts of the book.
Talking about his transition from a non-filmy collegiate to being a filmy keeda, his spilled beans on the making of the Bollywood classic Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge is a delightful read for anyone who is intrigued by filmmaking. For millennials who grew up on a staple diet of DDLJ and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, traveling through its delicious making is a fascinating treat.
Part II: “Producer Ka Beta”
The “Producer Ka Beta” finally had his moment of coming on his own after his father, Yash Johar, passed away during the shooting of Kal Ho Na Ho, quite ironically as a cancer patient. Even with two major blockbuster releases from a single hit banner of Dharma Productions, Karan was clueless as he was handed over the legacy of Dharma. Not knowing how a production house actually works, Karan built Dharma Karma right from the scratch.
This is the part where we see the transition of a curious young filmmaker to an independent and highly successful film producer and businessman. The nitty gritty details about the business of cinema from one of the highest grossing producer and director of all times are something to take in with an awe.
Part III: “He is gay!”
This is by default the juiciest part of the book Karan carefully saved for the last. Debunking “conjectures”, Karan has taken an unflinching take on everything and everyone. Be it his sexuality, his love life, his fallout with Kajol, his ridiculous affair rumors with SRK, his tryst with AIB and lawsuit, his insecurity with fellow critically acclaimed filmmakers or his critical take on every newbie actor’s conduct, Karan is plain honest.
At some point, it may sound like a ruthless justification and rant in lieu of all the allegations he has been put through over the years. Nevertheless, at other points, this section also sounds like an out and out acknowledgment to all the people he deeply loves and cherishes in his life.
If you are a Karan Johar fan, pick it up. If you are a Bollywood fan, pick it up.
Because this is by far tabloid’s favorite pick for their ripest gossips – all thanks to Karan Johar’s sincere honesty and courage for having presented himself as himself. This, at a point where he still has decades of work in the industry. Isn’t that commendable?
“An Unsuitable Boy” was definitely not a book I thought I’d finish in a day, but such it is, that I really didn’t have a choice. There’s an engaging, emotional story-telling along with KJO’s casual banter of entertainment. Rightfully, this man knows what his audience love the most: entertainment, entertainment, and entertainment. Pleasantly, Karan Johar comes out looking much much more.
PS: If you were a fan of none, pick this to become one.
Order “An Unsuitable Boy” on Amazon here.