Celebrating Bollywood Icon and Staple Karan Johar for his 45th Birthday

[Feature Image: IIFA Awards/Facebook]

by Anjali Bhakta –  

Director, producer, actor, talk show host extraordinaire, Karan Johar turns 45 this year. While he has received some heat in the press after drama regarding Bollywood’s nepotism problem, we still honor the man for everything he has given to the world of Hindi cinema.

So, to celebrate Karan Johar on his 45th birthday, we’re putting aside the obvious issues and focusing on the huge list of good stuff – let’s discuss three reasons why so many around the world love him.

[Read More: Kangana Ranaut Calls Out Karan Johar and Nepotism in Bollywood]

1.  “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”

Everyone knows the hit classic “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” and the love triangle of SRK, Rani Mukherjee and Kajol (with a casual appearance of Salman Khan of course). Johar brought many tears with this wonderful story full of hope, love and friendship. The movie itself is a timeless classic, perfect for those rainy day Bollywood binge-a-thons. Also if you have not seen this snapchat version made by @NoorKKakar, please do! It is 100% accurate and gives huge laughs. (Trust me I’ve been asked more times where Rahul is and I don’t even know, so I assume he fell into a ditch).

2. An Unsuitable Boy, the story of Karan Johar

Losing his father was a hard moment for Johar, and learning to accept himself was another. In the book “An Unsuitable Boy,” Karan focuses on the story of coming out to the world about his sexuality (in terms of accepting and loving himself at most). The amount of support Johar had received after the release of his autobiography shows that he will always be loved and supported by everyone for what he does. Facing the everyday fears for his sexuality is a struggle, yes, but he has managed to overcome it with strength in the face of adversity.

Johar also focuses on growing up being bullied and learning to accept himself when others would not accept him. Despite the tough subjects, however, Karan still continues to make us all laugh. Karan Johar should be proud of who he is and, if anything, he deserved an award for his outstanding book.

3. “Koffee with Karan”

The sass master himself is talented and lays no foot down in being honest with everyone and creating a good laugh on his TV chat show.

One of my favorite parts of this season is the theory that Arjun Kapoor may secretly be living on the sets — as Anushka Sharma herself quoted once, “Your continuity on the show is more than this couch!” Not only that but Bollywood stars are put on the spot when it comes to being honest about their relationships, family life, and how they feel about their co-actors.

[Read More: ‘An Unsuitable Boy’: On Karan Johar and Coming Out]

It’s pretty obvious why Karan Johar is a daily necessity to our lives. Without him, or the team at Dharma Productions, some of our favorite Bollywood jodis might never have existed, we wouldn’t have the hilarious memories we cherish on “Koffee with Karan”, and we’d be severely missing out on the iconic Bollywood movies of our childhoods. So in spite of some faults, we salute Karan Johar, wish him the happiest of birthdays and give him a big thank you for his unforgettable footprint on Bollywood.

[Images: NoorKKakar/Twitter, StarWorld/Facebook]

Anjali Bhakta is currently a business administration major who loves to sip on iced coffee and aims to travel the world. She grew up watching Bollywood films and can be found catching up on the latest Bollywood music and staring at photos of puppies! (Bhakta and her cousin are secretly avoiding marriage to open up a dog sanctuary). 

By Brown Girl Magazine

Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian womxn who believe in the power of storytelling as a … Read more ›

‘The Romantics’: Revisiting the Legacy and Grandeur of Yash Chopra With Filmmaker Smriti Mundhra

The Romantics

If you are a South Asian, born in the ’80s or the early ’90s, chances are your ideas of love and romance are heavily influenced by Hindi films — that first gaze, the secret love notes, that accidental meeting somewhere in Europe, over-the-top gestures and dancing around trees. While reality may have been far from what was promised on reel, you still can’t stop pining over a hopeless romantic, with chocolate boy looks, chasing you across the earth and many universes; in the life here and the ones after. Somewhere deep down, you still dream of that possibility despite your husband sitting and sipping his morning coffee right next to you. And much of the credit for weaving this dreamland, that we can’t resist happily sliding into, goes to the legendary Yash Chopra. Award-winning filmmaker Smriti Mundhra’s docu-series, “The Romantics,” that released on Netflix on February 14, chronicles Chopra’s prolific career; offering an illuminating look into the highs and lows of his journey, his unblemished vision for Hindi cinema and sheer love for filmmaking. 

I wanted to look at Indian cinema through the lens of it being a major contributor to the global cinema canon and Yash Chopra seemed like the perfect lens to explore that because of the longevity of his career and the fact that he had worked across so many different genres. His films, for so many of us, defined what Hindi cinema is.

— Smriti Mundhra

As “The Romantics” unveils, in a mere episode — a challenging feat in itself — Chopra did experiment with multiple genres as a budding filmmaker, initially under the shadows of his elder brother B.R. Chopra. From the religiously sensitive “Dharamputra” and the trendsetting “Waqt” to the action-packed and iconic “Deewaar.” It wasn’t until later on in his career that he set a precedent for a Hindi film having a wholly romantic narrative; though “Waqt” did offer the perfect glimpse into what would go on to become Chopra’s cinematic imprint. And then came “Chandni” which ushered in a new era for Hindi cinema; defying the formulaic approach to box office success and making love stories the golden goose.

In the words of more than 30 famous faces, a host of archival videos and interviews, and personal anecdotes, audiences get an extensive insight into the life and career of Yash Chopra and the evolution of his vision through the business acumen and genius of his polar opposite son and a famous recluse, Aditya Chopra. “The Romantics” is not a fancy portrait of a legendary filmmaker but an exploration of what goes into making a successful film family and a path-breaking production house. As viewers, we not only get a peek into the making of a fantasy creator but also learn of the many failures, hurdles and uncertainties that the business of filmmaking comes packaged in, the impact of socio-political shifts on the kind of content being produced and demanded, and just how much control we have as an audience over the fate of the film and the filmmaker.

For both the uninitiated and fanatics, there are some interesting revelations like Shah Rukh Khan’s lifelong desire to become an action hero as opposed to a romantic one and the creative conflict between Aditya Chopra and his father Yash Chopra on the sets of “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge” — a project that, surprisingly, did not seem too promising to the latter. Mundhra penetrates deep into the family’s history and industry relationships evoking some really candid conversations; almost as if these celebs were eagerly waiting for their moment to speak. With one appraising interview after the other, it’s a panegyric that does border on being a tad tedious but there is enough depth and fodder in there to keep one hooked. Kudos to Mundhra for managing to achieve cohesion despite there being more than enough material to chew on. In the process of bringing this project to life, Mundhra also ends up achieving a number of milestones: one that the series features the last of actor Rishi Kapoor’s interviews and two, it brings Aditya Chopra, who, it appears, can talk a blue streak contrary to popular belief, to the front of the camera after almost two decades. The moment when he puts the nepotism debate to rest by referring to his brother’s catastrophic attempt at acting is quite the show-stealer.


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At some point during the four-episode series, you might question if it’s fair to credit the Yash Raj family for being the only real changemakers of the Hindi film industry and for picking up the baton to get Hindi cinema the global recognition that it has. But then there is no denying the Chopra clan’s body of work, their ability to understand what pleases the crowd and their commitment towards growth and progress amidst changing times and technology — Yash Raj Studios is in fact the only privately held and one of the biggest, state-of-the-art film studios in India. Chopra’s career and legacy are in no way under-lit that Mundhra can claim to throw new light on with “The Romantics.” But what she really has on offer here are sheer nostalgia, some fascinating discoveries and an ode to a cinephile and his art with a bit of fan service.

In an interview with Brown Girl Magazine, Mundhra discusses why it was so important for Chopra to be the subject of her docu-series, her own learnings during the series’ research and creative process and her accomplishment of getting Aditya Chopra to talk, and that too, at length.

By Nida Hasan

Editor by profession, writer by passion, and a mother 24/7, Nida is a member of Brown Girl Lifestyle's editing team … Read more ›