So much has already been written about Karan Johar’s upcoming memoir ‘An Unsuitable Boy‘ that it has become one of the most hotly anticipated books of the year. To be fair, the released excerpts have been pretty incendiary, with revelations about Karan’s fallout with Kajol and his sexuality that have become topics of national debate.
An Unsuitable Boy (Penguin India), written by Karan and Poonam Saxena, is a rare glimpse into the face behind the facade of glossy mainstream Bollywood.
If you need any further motivation to delve into the book, here are five things we found out about Karan Johar, his illustrious friendships and more.
Salman Khan was a fluke casting in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Karan Johar’s debut venture Kuch Kuch Hota Hai met with several roadblocks as far as casting was concerned. It is widely known that he wanted his BFF Twinkle Khanna to play the role of Tina, ultimately played by Rani Mukherjee, but he also had to go through the ringer to find someone to play Kajol’s fiance in the movie.
After being rejected by Saif Ali Khan and Chandrachur Singh for the part, he dejectedly went to a party where he met Salman Khan who asked him about the role. As Karan began telling him the part, Salman said, “Nobody’s going to do this role. No hero will want to do this role. There’s only one idiot in the industry who’ll do it, and that’s me.” Karan met with him again at his house, and after a theatrical narration of the movie, Salman agreed to do the film because of his relationship with Karan’s father, Yash Johar.
Aishwarya Rai was Karan Johar’s backup for Kajol’s role in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham
The family drama that dwarfs all others in Bollywood almost didn’t have the picture-perfect cast that it did. Karan Johar was certain that Kajol would not come on board as Anjali, as she had recently got married and there was a lot of talk of her giving up acting. Karan admits that his second choice to play the role was Aishwarya Rai, but it didn’t come to that as Kajol declared that she would “die if Karan signed any other heroine”.
He thought Alia Bhatt wasn’t “thin and conventionally beautiful”
Karan writes, “I heard about Alia from my friend Niranjan. He told me that Mahesh Bhatt had a young daughter, seventeen years old, who wanted to be in the movies,” he continues, “Alia came, chubby, from school, in her uniform. She was not thin, she was not conventionally beautiful. She was cute like Pooja Bhatt, but her audition! She danced like she was the slimmest girl in the room.” Karan knew then that she would be perfect for the role of spoilt, vulnerable, poor little rich girl Shanaya in Student of the Year. “In her head she looked great. I loved that about her, that she wasn’t carrying her weight around as weight.” He got her on to a dietitian and a gym to look the part he was convinced she was perfect for.
Kajol is no longer in Team Karan
Theirs was one of the most talked-about friendships in Bollywood. But in the past year, it became clear that there was no love lost between them. Karan reveals the reason in the chapter bluntly titled ‘Friends and Fallouts’. “I don’t have a relationship with Kajol anymore. Something happened that disturbed me deeply which I will not talk about because it’s something I’d like to protect.” The director admits that the problem was never between them, it was between him and her husband Ajay Devgn. The conflict of interest, in Kajol’s case, between her husband her best friend of twenty five years ultimately led to the said falling out. Her reaction to the controversy before the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Devgn’s Shivaay put the final nail in the proverbial coffin.
He empathises with Deepika’s struggle with depression
After Deepika Padukone, Karan became one of the few Bollywood celebrities to openly come out and address mental health issues. “I don’t feel like a depressed person. I feel I’m an anxious person. And my anxiety levels were eating into my day-to-day functioning and I needed to address it, ” he writes. He says he empathised with Deepika as close friends found it difficult to digest. Manish Malhotra’s reaction — possibly mirroring a majority of the people who read the interview — was, “Why is Deepika going through depression? She’s so pretty! So beautiful, she has everything, career, success, beauty.”
An Unsuitable Boy, by Karan Johar and Poonam Saxena, is going to be released on 16 January 2017.