Can love really be so powerful? I am sitting with this book in one hand and this diary in other. I don’t know what phase of life I am in. There is a bit of past that always hurts me, there is a bit of foresight into future that fills me with hope and optimism. I am not even 35, but I see ample signs of a ‘mid-life crisis’ hitting me once in a while. All of this prompted me to pick this book and just like many readers, I was also intrigued by this sudden influx of biographies of ‘film personalities’ in India. So, here I go with my first one.
I am reading The Unsuitable Boy, the book (evidently from the cover) is about Karan Johar, the famous filmmaker from India. The man surrounded by so much glamour and paparazzi that it won’t be a stretch if we label him the custodian of all gossip that goes behind the scenes & beneath the sheets in the Indian film industry.
A memoir and not really a biography as he himself refers this book as, though I would rather very blatantly label this as one of his ‘brand building exercises’.
Why now? You are not even 50, yes famous, but for very few intrinsic reasons and totally not in an organic way. Ok, agreed my views and I guess these questions really don’t matter. Sometimes you are just born to ‘be famous’ and ‘stay privileged’ for the rest of your life. Isn’t it? And that automatically makes you a ‘person-who-should-have-a-biography-published’. So does that undermine their struggles and hardships? Not at all. They all stay where they are. Life is not fair to anybody for that matter. So, with all these colluded thoughts and a few episodes of his latest coffee show, I read this book.
Karan Johar is 45 now as he writes this book, his father was almost this age when he was born (yes he seems to be describing a lot of disadvantages of having a child late in life) and from here his story starts in flashback.
Sindhi mother, Punjabi father, Air hostess aunts; fashion/glamour and films were all very integral part of his life, right from the very beginning. But then there were also issues while growing up; obesity, reclusive nature, the absence of siblings, effeminate nature, being called ‘fatty’, ‘pansy.’ To him taking over the production house, turning it around with blockbusters, mega star casts, super fancy clothes, foreign locations and everything that the current ‘corporate style’ Indian film industry takes pride in.
But to be fair to the readers of this review, after a point a reader like me doesn’t get anything new from what is already there in the public domain in abundance!
Yes, I love ‘Bollywood’ and I like to keep myself very updated. Quite brazenly. No intellectual hogwash on that. So in that sense I believed I am not the wrong reader to review this book.
I really wish the book had a little more ‘ART’ than ‘NEWS’ for the readers. Not a page turner in itself, this biography is a forced attempt at therapy for personal and existential crisis for KJo .
Yes frankly after a few chapters, I felt a little cheated as a reader, just like some of those big star cast dud movies we go to watch with all anticipation. After a point, I just could not empathize with KJo anymore.
I felt a lot of the interpretations and feelings expressed were ‘made up,’ exaggerated, over analysed, ‘self/movie promotional in nature. (Else how do you justify this blatant reference to his forthcoming film right at the prologue of the book! I was blown away by this ‘product placement’ attempt.).
There is definitely ‘occupational hazard’ in play here though the book looks like an attempt to deal with personal crisis in his life. In fact, I feel, it is a little far fetched for people in the showbiz to expect a normal life. Normal by all standards, where they wake up, work, come home, have dinner with family and go to bed and party only ‘ocassionally.’
“So, KJo normal che…just move on.” This is normal for you and will be for everybody else. Whatever you are trying to convince or confuse people with. Just stop making it so about yourself all the time. Look around, you seriously need a little more inspiration.
Note: The views expressed here are my personal and this review was done voluntarily for the readers of this website and was not commissioned by any author or publishing house.
Author(s): Karan Johar, Poonam Saxena
Publisher: Penguin Books
Release: January 2017
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