Controversy’s favourite child, a poster boy for Bollywood’s family dramas and the industry’s favourite agony aunt — Karan Johar is all this and more. It’s little surprise then that his biography, An Unsuitable Boy, authored by Poonam Saxena, created ripples even before it was launched. But it was only on Monday that the filmmaker officially launched the much-awaited biography, alongside his dear friend Shah Rukh Khan, who incidentally hasn’t taken kindly to the title. “If anything, it should be called ‘The Good Boy’ or ‘The Intelligent Boy’ not An Unsuitable Boy. He is the kind of boy who watches TV serials with his mother; who does that now?” he questioned the audience. In a candid exchange with writer Shobhaa De, Karan spoke about the book:
Sex and sensibility
Karan’s sexual orientation has been fodder for speculation for a long time now. He has, therefore, learnt to take the chatter in his stride — often with a pinch of salt.
The filmmaker frankly admits, “Sometimes you have to scratch yourself to find what’s not immediately available. There are various ways and means people sometimes have to look at,” he says referring to a dating website he signed up for while in Tokyo. “When you are single at 44, you will go through every possible opportunity. I would have liked to name them but they are very exclusive. Besides, I am not a success story of their agency either. In fact I am the one who failed,” he guffaws.
Excerpts: The longest relationship in the 44 years of my life has lasted for just one year. People can choose to believe it or not, but it’s the truth and I can swear on my life, career, family and everything that it’s true. There have been a series of sexual encounters, passing phases, but not as many as somebody in my situation would have had.
Of Friends and fallouts
KJo also believes that his relationship with Kajol has run its course. “Enough has been said about Kajol, especially since the excerpts were out. I just want to say that we had a great history and I want to remember this history that we shared. We had nearly 25 years of friendship. Some-times chapters end, books end, relationships end,” he says about the actress who he’s collaborated with many times.
His other high-voltage friction that is the tumultuous equation he shares with director Ram Gopal Varma. About RGV he writes in the book:
Excerpts: “My fight with Ram Gopal Varma was fun actually. Both of us were both playing to the gallery. He doesn’t care about me and I don’t care about him. Sporadically we would say something about each other for other people’s entertainment, but now he’s bored of me and I’m bored of him. Sometimes you need to shake things up a little bit. How can life be so sterile?
Karan admitted that he has been dealing with paternal instincts for a while now. “I would like to be a parent. I don’t know in what capacity, I don’t know how it’s going to happen. But I do feel the need because I have love to offer... The love has to have a release.” he says adding, “I feel I have a nurturing quality in me. I saw that most when I launched Alia, Sidharth and Varun. I can’t let them go off even now,” he confessed.
The emotions he says may be due to what he calls in his book, “urban angst’. He talks about it rather nonchalantly in his book
Excerpts: Since last year I’ve started going to a psychologist. I was wondering what I was going through and I was finally told that it was anxiety attack. Call it work pressure, the stress of handling people, the fear of emptiness and probably the feeling of growing old alone. My mother has been going through health issues and every time she doesn’t answer the phone after three rings, I think the worst thoughts.
Dealing with the world
Years of living under the public scanner have toughened him up, Karan admits. “Sometimes in that celebrity zone people tend to just not know what to say when they come to you. They either tend to over-compensate and say exceptionally polite things or they will say the most inappropriate things to you — like this time when a man came up to me at the airport and asked me — ‘Are you homo?’ (Tongue firmly in cheek) I asked him, ‘Why, are you interested?’”
Sometimes you just wonder if people don’t have the sensitivity or decency to use language to ask a question that may not come across as inappropriate,” he sighed....