India is busy celebrating its new found freedom of expression after the Supreme Court declared its historical verdict, stating for once and for all ‘Gay sex is not a crime’. It is music to many people’s ears, and many celebrities have come forward to share their thoughts on the decriminalization of section 377.
One of them is Karan Johar! The self-proclaimed ‘unsuitable boy of Bollywood’ tweeted saying, ‘Historical judgment!!!! So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377 is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights! The country gets its oxygen back!’
Historical judgment!!!! So proud today! Decriminalising homosexuality and abolishing #Section377 is a huge thumbs up for humanity and equal rights! The country gets its oxygen back! 👍👍👍💪💪💪🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/ZOXwKmKDp5
— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) September 6, 2018
You caught us, we are here to talk about the revered director, Johar; a man who made fun and championed LGBTQ issues throughout his movies, although his own sexuality has always shrouded in controversy. But this isn’t about his personal life. We are here to talk about Karan Johar and his complicated relationship with homosexuality. The director has both demeaned and championed the cause, we found. Here’s how.
Let’s start off by saying how homosexuality was looked down upon in Kal Ho Na Ho, and Student Of The Year. Maybe the world innocently laughed when Kantaben gave those scandalised shudders, every time she saw Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan in each other’s arms, I didn’t. Again, Rishi Kapoor playing an effeminate Dean in Student Of The Year, jammed with all the queer stereotypes, is just so typical portrayal of homosexuality, that almost makes me cringe.
However, Karan’s redemption came with Dostana, where he made homosexuality a very normal term, in the comical way possible. The term ‘gay’ became a household word with Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham, acting as a same-sex couple to get an apartment. They even introduced a desi mother, in form of Kirron Kher, who was initially scandalized, but later came to accept her son’s gay partner.
Johar’s ultimate salvation came in the form of Kapoor and Sons, which was the game changer for all gay men in India. It took the sensitive subject matter head-on, with Fawad Khan’s character coming out as gay in front of his parents. Shakun Batra portrayed the issue with much delicacy and at the same time, did not place the entire movie on its arc. Homosexuality became one among the many issues a family faces, and by that, he made it more mainstream, more normal to discuss homosexuality in Bollywood.
Fawad’s character is monumental because he plays a gay man, without the obvious clichés that Bollywood typically saddles gay characters with. The scene where his mother breaks down and wonders what she’s done to deserve a son ‘like him’ was handled with utmost sincerity and is a true portrayal of how the conversation will go in most household.
Karan strikes the right chord yet again with Bombay Talkies, where he showed how complicated it is to ‘come out’. While the movie stars Johar’s favourite actress Rani Mukerji, the plot trips over her and tells the story homosexual man (played by Randeep Hooda) trying to make a career in journalism and finding love and even features same-sex kiss. Way to go!
Love him or hate him, Karan Johar will always remain the complicated icon of Bollywood.