This Article is From Jul 22, 2016

Karan Affairs: Yes, I Love Rich And Beautiful People. Deal With It.

You can compare it to a dysfunctional family, or a marriage that shouldn't be, but when you look at the very odd but deeply committed relationship between celebrities and the media that follows them, you'll realize that these are analogies that really work. 

It's very easy for the media to bicker and grumble about their chosen subjects and, in turn, for the stars to dismiss them - to look at them often with the enthusiasm of a child facing an injection. And yet, deep down, we're also happy to see them. We delight in seeing ourselves on magazine covers, newspaper pages, on the top TV shows as the "newsmakers of the day."

Equally, journalists are always grumbling about the inaccessibility, the unavailability, the lack of affability of celebs. 

Both are upset, both are permanently annoyed, and so I ask: are we a husband and wife in a not terribly satisfying marriage? One step away from divorce but never quite there? (And we can't take that step because, believe me, then there's no alimony left for either party. Also, if you think about it, for a lot of us, it's the longest term relationship we've been in!)

Social media is our mistress. But a very available one who never plays hard to get. But other than that, we're pretty faithful to each other? We don't stray for too long and we follow predictable lines: the media is the nagging spouse, the star they're after the evasive, elusive partner. (And do notice my absolute gender-free political correctness!)

And, so, in most relationships, there is always that moment when you say we say "we need to talk." We just call them interviews. And in both cases, on both sides, there are things unsaid and said. Here's how it usually goes:

Journalist says: You wear many hats as a filmmaker, but why do you think it's important to also host talk shows and judge reality shows and even dance on then?

Journalist thinks: You fat fool! Have you seen yourself move? You look like Veeru Krishnan on Ecstasy meets a nauch girl in denial. And those expressions? You think they're sexy? Go back to that therapist you keep banging on about. 

Celebrity (me) says: I'm an entertainer. Multitasking is an art form and I seem to have mastered it. As for dancing, oh that's just silly. I do it for the fans.

Celebrity (me) thinks: I have to judge reality shows. Do you know how much they pay?? They pay much more than films do, and all I have to do is pass a few judgments and spout opinions and it's so much easier than making an over-budgeted film with deluded, over-priced movie stars and a wardrobe budget and a set budget ALL because of these "aesthetics" that I have to stand by for no good reason! And I have shopping of my own to do. Bigger cars than the other filmmaker so that I look rich. Note: they always pay you more when they think you don't need it! A cupboard bursting with designer clothes because I have a sense of style to live up to. What about all these things? WHO WILL PAY?

Journalist says: Why are your comments always sexual and your analogies laden with innuendo? On the Roast and otherwise?

Journalist thinks: Are you just horny, undersexed, desperate and a modern day Dada Kondke? You're pretending you're very liberated, but the truth is you're just horny!

I say: I'm a liberal person and I think we're an evolved society and freedom of expression is something I hold very close to my heart. 

Journalist thinks again: Horny!

I think: Of course, I'm bloody horny! You think it's easy to get sex in an industry where all eyes and the paparazzi's are on you? Not at all. And I've tried very hard. You think that casting couch exists? I have a couch in my office that I've stared at hoping that I can get someone on it, but no. Some sense of morality and my mother's upbringing kicks in. But I've thought about it. MANY.A.TIME.
Journalist says: I've never heard you take a political stand, will you weigh on this latest development?

Journalist thinks: Arre yaar, kabhi toh bol, kuch toh bol. Headline hawa se aayega? And unnecessarily you dragged Alia Bhatt into the story when you're actually the dumb f*%k. Giggling like a queen at her flub on Koffee with Karan when you're the one who knows nothing about political climate of country, the political events, the political anything. Does anything matter to you? How are you just so happy with your friends Dolce and Gabbana and so delighted showing us rich people in richer clothes and do you care at all for any of the others out there?

I say: I'm a filmmaker, my job is to entertain. 

Journalist thinks: Really? Could have fooled us.

I say: I have blinkers on when it comes to this issue. 

Journalist thinks yet again: Not blinkers, jackass, bloody dark glasses.

I think: Will you please stop trying to get me into trouble. Please stop asking questions you know I will not answer. Because someone will protest. Or have a dharna. Having a spine is not going to pay my bills. Sadly.

Journalist says: There's so much conjecture about your sexuality. What do you have to say about that?

Journalist thinks: You're gay, aren't you? Just say it!

I say: I like to keep my personal life extremely private and it's my prerogative to keep it that way.

Journalist again: Oh but you're ok with Koffee with Karan and making everyone else talk about their private life aren't you? That's fine. Hmmmph.

I think: For the 377th time, will you just stop asking me that question. I don't want to answer it!

Journalist says: How come you make these big-budget, grand, larger-than-life, star-studded films? What about films that are based in reality?

Journalist thinks: Actually, nobody wants a dose of reality. We just want to sound intelligent and intense and we're perfectly happy with larger-than-life escapist fare. Also, please never stop casting big stars in them, because we need their interviews.

I say: Of course I make films deeply rooted in reality like my short in Bombay Talkies or Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna which talked about real life emotions.

I think: I don't know anything about reality! I grew up on Malabar Hill and I don't understand how any other strata of society operates! That's it. I don't get reality, I have no interest in it, I can't bear projecting reality. I like rich people. I like beautiful people. That's my problem. DEAL.WITH.IT.

Journalist asks: What about item songs and the projection of women in them?

Journalist thinks: You know it's irresponsible, don't you? Stop it now, there are ramifications. Stop doing things like this just to get whistles in the hall.

I say: Yes, the time has come for self-examination. This is a serious subject and I will not be featuring item numbers in any of my films again.

I think: I am ashamed. Nothing to say. Have fallen prey to this system and regret it. Head hanging in shame.

Journalist says: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Journalist thinks: Keep it short. Keep it short. Please keep it short. This is just a polite way to end the interview.

I say: I'm passionate about movies and I believe in what Raj Kapoor said "jeena yahan, marna yahaan". And I want to die with my boots on (and I hope they're designer by the way).

I think: Where do I see myself in five years? Richer, slimmer, sexier and with attractive people above, below and around me. Please God.

See how well we understand each other? Of course, it helps that I have been both - interviewee and interviewer. So, for my part I know I'm not filing for divorce anytime soon. This is a relationship, and somewhere beneath all the resentment and rumblings and grumblings, we're (mostly) better together. 

So while we may not want to kiss the bride, clearly we're stuck: in sickness and in health, for richer (probably not for poorer), and definitely till death do us part. And since you've seen how celebrities funerals play out, possibly a little longer than that too.

(Karan Johar is one of India's best known film and television personalities)

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