Culture

Karan Johar opens up about his battle with clinical depression

His refreshingly honest interview deserves all your attention

Karan Johar is not one to mince words. The director recently opened up about his two-year-long struggle with depression in an interview with journalist Barkha Dutt.

“It was the darkest period of my life. I can’t explain the pain, anxiety, anguish. [I felt] helpless. Unhappy. Sad. Wanting to get onto a flight, always leaving the city… and walking the streets of other cities with nothing to say to anyone. Not even getting out of my bed from my hotel room sometimes. I wasn’t able to share this with anyone. I was making up meetings and reasons for me to leave the city. I found comfort in sleeping on a long-haul flight, waking up in a city where I didn’t have to meet people,” says Johar. One serious episode, where he feared he was going into cardiac arrest during a meeting, had him driving to the doctor. On learning that he was suffering from an anxiety attack, Johar saw a psychologist and went on medication, which he stopped three months ago. “I had stopped feeling happiness. Now, I feel like slowly those emotions are returning. That zing of excitement is now coming back,” he added with a smile.

Depression is a lone, silent battle, and in Johar's case it was amplified, put in sharp relief against his roaring success. "At 44, when you are lonely and not in a relationship, you wonder what your life is going to be and all the success you might get and all the love and attention you get, where does that go? When you don’t have that love to share with somebody, it gets you worried.”

Johar’s refreshingly honest interview had us thinking of Deepika Padukone, who incidentally, also shared her struggles with Dutt. Here’s hoping more feel empowered to come out of the woodwork, because this is a discussion we need to have. Talking about it may not be the solution, but it sure seems like a good place to start. 

Watch the entire interview here:

You may also want to read: 10 things nobody tells you about depression, but should

Artist Pranita Kocharekar's Instagram series on anxiety deserves your time