Karan Johar is synonymous with success, panache, quick wit, and outspokenness, which sometimes inadvertently creates controversy and makes headlines. KJo, as he is popularly called, has been a much-loved Bollywood film director, producer, actor, and discoverer of new talent. With his flagship Dharma Production, he has constantly challenged the norms, written and rewritten rules, and set trends. But who is the man behind the icon that we all know? Baring all for the first time in his autobiography, An Unsuitable Boy, KJo reminisces about his childhood, the influence of his Sindhi mother and Punjabi father, obsession with Bollywood, foray into films, friendships with Aditya Chopra, SRK and Kajol, his love life, the AIB Roast, and much more. In his trademark frank style, he talks about the ever-changing face of Indian cinema, challenges and learnings, as well as friendships and rivalries in the industry. Honest, heart-warming and insightful, An Unsuitable Boy is both the story of the life of an exceptional film-maker at the peak of his powers and of an equally extraordinary human being who shows you how to survive and succeed in life.
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So yesterday night I came home late and bought Karan Johar’s book “An Unsuitable Boy” and started reading it. I am a film buff so I know a lot about him, but still, I was apprehensive about what it would be about. To my surprise, I found it to be a great read.
To me, it feels right that now I know Karan Johar as my next-door neighbour. The book is nicely written in a linear timeline and you won’t have a problem finishing it at one reading.
One of the reasons I liked this book was because the stories that are written in the book are very familiar to me. I have grown up with those stories and I know all the people Karan knows, be it Shahrukh Khan or Kajol or Aditya Chopra, even Amitabh Bachchan and Yash Johar.
They are all buddies of Karan but at times it appears like you were there too and they are your buddies as well.
I have grown up watching movies by Karan Johar and I always loved his films. Disclaimer — Not recent ones. I think the “K” letter fixture worked for him despite the supernatural tag attached with it. I believe that it was his strong belief and it worked because he started his film with a premise that if he starts his film with the letter “K” his films won’t flop.
The belief worked in his favour and all his films before “My name is Khan” were big hits in India but now he makes most of his money from the international market. I think he should go back to his belief of suffixing every title of his movie with “K”.
As a matter of fact, he stopped believing in the supernatural letter Fixation after watching RajKumar Hirani’s Brilliant film “Munnabhai MBBS” which he thought was a great film despite its weird name. I want to say to him that if something works for someone else then it doesn’t mean it would work for him as well. Everyone has their own sets of beliefs and the need to stick with it.
There were so many things that I believe he has assumed about life. Like about being was filthy rich and having a comfortable life. I don’t think he has ever seen any poverty so to him he was a poor kid growing up in south Bombay whose father worked owned business as well as was a producer of Hindi films and knew every who's who of the industry. But it was not his mistake.
He was a pampered child who was exceptionally talented and had access to good people around him. Well, he was rich but to his own standards, he was middle class, probably because he hadn’t seen the middle class.
In the book, he talks about his love for Shahrukh Khan and Aditya Chopra. It really moved me. I was really emotional reading what he thinks about Aditya Chopra.
He was a mentor cum friend for him who was always there for him. There was an interesting anecdote about Shahrukh Khan he shares, actually, there were many but here is the one that I liked most.
When Karan was getting underworld threats and was told he might be attacked on the night of his film’s premiere, he decided not to come out and hid himself in a room. Shahrukh came and forcefully took him to the premiere. He told him that nothing would happen and he has to attend his first film’s premiere.
Though out the event, Shahrukh was in front of him to prove to him that if they shoot bullet it would first hit him. That, my friends, is Shahrukh Khan for you. There is a reason why Karan Johar values Shahrukh Khan so much.
I am also a big Shahrukh Khan Fan so I can connect with him on that.
Karan I guess is a person who really wants people to be really close to him. it appears that he is very possessive about people he likes and expects the same from them. He is desperate to have closeness and rarely gets any because kind of closeness that he expects only comes from blood relations. Being the only child I believe he misses having an elder brother or a kid sister or cousins he could blindly trust. I can understand that because I don’t have a sister.
When I was a kid, I would see other kids playing with their sisters and at that time I really wanted a sister in my life and would be always
you are a unsuuutable boy
School and College
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Kuch Kuch Hota
Early Filmmaking Years
The Death of My Father
Taking Over Dharma
The Karma at Dharma
Shah Rukh Khan
Friends and Fallouts
Koffee and a Roast
Illustrations Epilogue Follow Penguin