Bollywood Baatein: Karan Johar as I know him

Over the years I’ve witnessed many acts of Karan’s generosity. The one that I will never forget has to do with my daughter

Karan Johar with his kids
Karan Johar with his kids
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Subhash K Jha

There is an immediate and ineradicable relatability between Karan Johar and the people he befriends. I vividly remember the first time I spoke to him. It took time. I had loved Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and keenly wanted to speak to him.

I asked a dear friend, a sophisticated actress also a chat-show hostess if she would introduce us. “Darling, I can’t disturb him just like that. I will see when I can mention you to him,” she assured me. I believed her blindly. She was, after all, my dear friend.

Months and years passed. Then Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham came. I still hadn’t spoken to Karan Johar. One day a publicist called and asked if I’d like to speak to Karan Johar.

I said, sure, why not (pretending to be nonchalant).

That’s when we spoke for the first time. We warmed up to each other instantaneously. I still remember the conversation vividly.

When I told him about the mutual friend whom I had requested for an introduction with Karan, he asked, “Why did you need someone to introduce us? Who doesn’t know you in this film industry? In any case she’s just a jealous bitch.”

Our conversations thereafter were filled with gossip and banter. Every time I visit Mumbai a meal with Karan is a must. It is generally at an upmarket eatery chosen by him. He would just recommend the food and watch me eat. I’ve never seen Karan eating at any meal. Once he invited my friend Sanjay Leeela Bhansali and me to his home for lunch, the spread was as epic as the star-cast of K3G. And why not? I peeped into the kitchen there were three house-helps busy inside.

“But my dear, the food was all ordered from outside. Those women in the kitchen are just pretending to be busy,” Karan quipped.

Once when I was in Mumbai for my friend’s film Black to be premiered, Karan was down with jaundice. This is the only time I went in his bedroom. He was lying on a classy double bed with a picture of Yash Chopra overhead.

Bollywood Baatein: Karan Johar as I know him

“Yashji reminds me of sarson ke khet. The yellow colour is very apt at the moment,” came Karan’s jaundiced opinion.

Over the years I’ve witnessed many acts of Karan’s generosity. The one that I will never forget has to do with my daughter. She wanted to meet her crush Shah Rukh Khan. Karan not only arranged the meeting, he also accompanied us to Film City where Shah Rukh was shooting with Farah Khan. He made sure SRK spent a good amount of time with my daughter.

Of course, there is another side to Karan. A not-so-pleasant side which surfaces when someone he trusts and likes betrays him. That’s okay. We all have that side to our personality. The important thing is to let your benign personality rule over your life. Karan has done just that.

“For me cinema must be an escape route. I believe characters in my film must laugh and cry, fall in love, suffer heartbreak, go through an entire gamut of emotions. That’s my world, and I invite audiences into it,” Karan said to me in an interview once. Karan Johar has produced approximately 40 films so far (including unreleased ones). Among them he has directed only 9.

He is now a happy father to two lovely children. Karan’s world now revolves around Roohi and Yash. He makes sure he is around before they go to sleep. He never misses a single opportunity to spend time with them. He has never looked happier. I think he has stopped looking for a companion after the twins came into his life.

(This story was published in National Herald on Sunday)

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