25 Jan 2016

Bollywood filmmaker, Karan Johar's Thought-Provoking Revelation About His Life Struggles and Gay Rights in India

Karan Johar was in Jaipur on Friday, January 22, 2016 for a litfest and the filmmaker took the opportunity to speak about his book in front 7000 people. KJO, along with Poonam Saxena and Shobhaa De left us with some really bold and controversial statements. While much has been said about his childhood in his book, KJO also has apparently mentioned about his parents, and his relationship with Shah Rukh Khan and his family. Karan has also revealed much about his personal life, something he had never dared to do before.

For the first time, the director mentioned how the process of writing his biography was in some ways like the therapy he never had.

From his difficult childhood as an effeminate boy, different from others, his experiences, his fears, to his feelings of oppression concerning the Indian laws, Karan opened up his heart for the first time on this most sensitive topic of his life. Here are some excerpts of the conversation:

His Challenging Childhood
"I was an extremely effeminate child, I didn't know what to do with my hands or my feet, it was just the way I was. And the word that used to come from the other child was the word " pansy ", which is not used today at all, but at times was used to mean effeminate. And that bothered me to no end. Of course i have no problem with who I was and I don't regret who I was and never will, but at that time this word really made me feel I was different from the other boys. And I used to come home with that baggage. I remember those nights which were difficult because of that one word. Of course later on in life, I realised it meant nothing, that I was who I was and I meant to be who I was so there was no looking away from that."

The Most Difficult Part of His Life
"It's very easy to people to think you lived a cushy, nepotistic existence ! Your father was a filmmaker, I am a filmmaker, what troubles could there have been? But these personal struggles you know, about you as a humain being, there is so much said about you, your sexuality, your orientation that sometimes, either you go out externally and express yourself or you go internal. I think I was somebody who internalized a lot of my fears and complexes and it takes a book sometimes to make you realise who you really are. And I actually encourage most people in the public face to experiment with a book even if no one really wants to read it because it is really a self elevating experience. To me this entire process of this book was a cathartic and a hugely therapeutic experience."

The Toughest Thing to Reveal
"I think we touched upon a lot to do with my personal life. Well What do I say, revealing in today's times can land you in jail ! We are in a tough country to speak about your personal life, and I feel really sad about it because being a public figure you are expected to helm a certain movement, but freedom of speech is the biggest joke of this country, democry is the second biggest joke I think. I mean how can we feel democratic ! I'm a filmmaker and I feel bonded on every level "

He evoqued his contribution in Bombay Talkies, explaining how some people accepted beautifully the gay roles played by his actors when others rejected them.

Gay Rights and Section 377
"Yes, of course, because you will be tortured 377 times if you talk about it.  Several times in my own way, we all signed that form and spoke about it as a hurdle to combat. I really appreciate somebody like Shashi Tharoor who tried his best but the bill didn't pass. But the endeavor is on I think and there is a silent force working behind the scenes to make sure the word is out there. But in a country with so many problems, this is one of the many problems people are trying to fight in their own way."

Will Bollywood Stars Kick-start The 'Coming Out' Revolution
"I believe Shobhaa, that you can change the way the governance thinks, you can go out there, there is a large section that will go out there and fight for a cause, but what do you do with the average man of this country whose sensibility is beyond your comprehension? How do you change that? That is what we need to change. That father has to understand his son or daughter has a preference, that mother has to support that choice. That need to change much more than a bill in parliament and till that change doesn't happen, that fabric of our morality, it doesn't matter what bill will pass. Arts definitely has a large impression on people and by this way we can change a little bit and make a difference on the people perceptions. But it will be really long. I don't blame people for staying in the closet because when they get out there they have to face the world and not in his best form. And it's something I understand completely. It's a choice, if you want to take on the world and speak to the society around you, go out there, do it and we'll be with there to support you and be proud of your decision but if you stay in, it's not something I would judge, most of all, in our industry, and let me tell you, I'm myself shocked and surprised how narrow minded so many members of my own industry are."


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