Is he gay or isn’t he? Karan Johar may have finally answered that question. In a forthcoming biography, ‘The Unsuitable Boy’, the filmmaker has come out candidly on matters of sex and sexual orientation, just stopping short of a bald admission. “Everybody knows what my sexual orientation is. I don’t need to scream it out. If I need to spell it out, I won’t only because I live in a country where I could possibly be jailed for saying this. Which is why I Karan Johar will not say the three words that possibly everybody knows about me,” he says.
He talks of being traumatised by rumours about him and Shah Rukh Khan, whom he calls “a father figure, an older brother.” He admits to waking up to 200 hate posts on Twitter daily. “This whole homophobia is so disheartening and upsetting,” says Johar.
I lost my virginity at 26. Yes, it is true. Why would I say this on record if it were not? It’s not something I am proud of. It was in New York. Up till that point, I was sexually completely inexperienced. Even when I was a kid, I was very backward in this department. I still remember the first time someone told me about blow jobs. There was a kid in class who told me, ‘You know what a blow job is?’ I said, ‘No, what is it? I’ve heard about it, though.’ He said, ‘You take off all your clothes and put your fan on high speed, and that’s a blow job.’ I said, ‘I can do that. What is the big deal in that?’ And at 12, I remember, I removed my clothes and put my fan on full speed. Later, I told him about it and he said, ‘You did it!’ I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, I did it three times.’ He said, ‘You had three blow jobs yesterday!’ I said, ‘Yeah, I had three blow jobs.’
While growing up, I was combating a hundred issues in my head. The thought of sex made me awkward; it almost rattled me. I thought, am I asexual? Why am I not feeling this? Why am I not doing anything? There was a lot of turbulence in my head. For me to address it, talk about it, discuss it, was a big no-no. I brushed it under the carpet all through the making of ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ and ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’. At that time, I was also very large and was grappling with my weight issues. I felt physically undesirable. Post ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, I had actually started working a little on my looks. I had lost some weight and had groomed myself a bit. Finally, I had developed a little spring in my step, a little confidence. That’s when my first encounter happened, after the release of ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, out of the country.
Today, people think that I have all the possible avenues to have all the sex in the world. But that’s not who I am at all. To me, sex is a very, very personal and a very intimate feeling. It’s not something that I can do casually, with just about anyone. I have to invest in it. I’ve always handled the rumours that came my way. There has been so much conjecture about my sexuality. For heaven’s sake, for years there were rumours about Shah Rukh and me. And I was traumatised by it. I was on a show on a Hindi channel, and I was asked about Shah Rukh.’Yeh anoka rishta hai aap ka,’ the interviewer said. He worded it in such a way that I got really angry. I said, ‘If I asked you if you are sleeping with your brother, how will you feel?’ So he said, `What do you mean? How can you ask me this question?’ I said, ‘How could you ask me this question?
For me, no matter what ups and downs Shah Rukh and I have been through, he is a father figure, an older brother to me. For me to look at him in that way or be subjected to those rumours was just ridiculous. But it didn’t bother him. He said, ‘People talk nonsense, and if a man does not have an extramarital affair, he is supposed to be gay.’
Karan might come across as a happy-go-lucky man on camera, ready to take on his friends and actors on film sets or even his show’s couches, but a sneak-peek into his biography only shows his sentimental side. The words he has penned down in the biography prove he has gone through enough in his otherwise glossy life. And only when you have taken all the challenges with utmost confidence and in a non-apologetic manner, will you have the courage to speak about it loud and clear. ‘An Unsuitable Boy’ is just one of the platforms where Karan has vent his heart out, and his confessions about life are inspiring.
We salute you, Karan Johar!