Kal Ho Na Ho and the prophecy that came true..
Updated: Mar 31
We know him as this rich, spoilt, megalomanic. We know him for his green neon jackets. He unabashedly parties with kids who are half his age. He is considered as the Uncrowned Guru of Star Kids. He speaks about playing with Abishek Bachan and Farhan Akhtar as a child. But, an open book does have pages stuck together. Paraphrasing a couple of instances of “The Unsuitable Boy” written by Karan Johar.
When Student of the Year released, the nation was petrified with the obnoxious youth that was on display. Red Ferraries and golden bikinis filled every inch of the screen. The story and the screenplay stung the sentiments of many movie buffs. A decade ago, a similar movie became a cult classic with involved 2 women and 1 Khan. The King of Dharma Productions chose the same formula to create havoc in the box office. And he nailed it.
He was a business man more than a film-maker. He understood the pulse of the film-goers like a surgeon about to cut open a brain.
Overcompensation is human nature. We diffuse our void by pumping in confetti, junk and nothingness into a pit that is a black hole. His secrets are dark, his revelations are humane and his heart, an adamant 12-year old. Why did the world hate him without knowing him? His early ears as a “healthy child” and his effeminate nature are public knowledge. But he chose to mince his struggles and plastered his image as a wealthy no-gooder.
Kal Ho Na Ho was Karan Johar’s comeback to Farhan Akhtar’s portrayal of the youth in Dil Chata Hai. Suddenly, Karan was no longer the “cool” director making film for the 20-somethings. He wanted to create a stir in the Bollyworld and show that he is as updated as his critically acclaimed contemporary. Kal Ho Na Ho took form out of one thought - a dying man and an angel who enters a family.
One day, while they were shooting in an outdoor location, Karan Johar bumped into a coffee cup reader who said, “Be prepared for the worst news of your life on August 1st week."
August 1st came and nothing.
On August 2nd, while Karan Johar was shooting a scene with Saif, his father said, “Karan can I have a word with you?” Karan told him that he would join him once the scene is completed. As they were seated in a room with a glass window, Mr Johar was shifting in his seat nervously. Karan looked at him, held his hand and asked, “Papa, do you have cancer?”
Karan mentions that his father was so much older than his peer’s fathers and missed simple things like playing catch with him like the boys in his age would have played with their dads. When Dharma productions was crumbling with its foundation chipping away, Karan lost his strongest companion and friend to cancer. He built Dharma from scratch with his childhood friend Apoorva, who is still the CEO of Dharma Productions.
A silver spoon is a great ally to be born with. How many have the courage to discard it and get a brand new golden sceptre?
To know about Karan and his life, read his autobiography, “An Unsuitable Boy”.