I have always seen myself as a cluck-cluck-clucking mother hen to Karan Johar. For years, I have felt protective and proud, nervous and apprehensive. Not that he has ever needed me! His wonderful mother Hiroo Johar has got his back from the day he was born.
Even so. Karan is only a couple of years older than my eldest son. But it isn't just his age (Karan can go from being 16 to 60 in a jiffy). It is his (perceived) vulnerability. But going by the spectacular success of his column for ndtv.com, I am telling myself to retire from my self-appointed job - and enjoy his words, thoughts, ideas. He's a big boy now, and the last thing he needs is a fraught 'auntyji' clucking around him. Besides, as he has stated in his NDTV columns, he is in therapy. And the therapist is clearly doing a great job. Karan has never sounded this...this...this, what? This 'Kool'? This 'Konfident'? Hmmmm. Is Karan doing a Karan on himself? Is that why his column has clicked? Has he shrewdly exploited all the experience he accumulated during his many seasons of Koffee with Karan to give the hamper to himself, for a change? Getting 'Kandid with Karan', by Karan, about Karan has hit the top spot from the very first column. And that is saying something in an overcrowded, over-stuffed, over-stated space.
I would have called his column 'Getting Naked with Karan' since it is a striptease. Karan shows bits and pieces of himself in as tantalising a style as a Pigalle stripper. Stopping just short of doing the full monty, Karan still manages to expose enough to have fans salivating with each post. Professional strippers love to keep it naughty and cheesy. They show only what they wish to in such a seductive way, voyeurs are left begging for more. Strippers are exhibitionists of the most delicious variety. Karan is a stripper par excellence. He flashes! Or does he? Maybe not. He goes butt naked! Or...we think he does. We certainly want him to. This is his hook. Karan is the biggest tease in town! And we are the hungry ones begging and hoping he will surpass the last post with yet another dhamaka revelation.
Why is he doing it? He doesn't need extra publicity. He doesn't need more money. He doesn't need additional fame. Karan doesn't really need a damn thing. Wait a minute. Perhaps that's why. He is at that unbelievably enviable stage which people crave for but rarely attain - Karan, at 43, has it all! What happens to people who have it all? Well, I guess they get bored. Really, really bored. Restlessness happens. They look around for a new thrill. Karan just stumbled upon his - the column has provided that elusive high. He can continue to make more movies, produce more blockbusters, host more television shows, shop and shop and shop. Put on weight. Lose weight. Colour his hair. Pout. Scowl. Party across the world. Nurture newbies.
It takes guts to get naked in public. Karan has done it with elegance and discretion. I don't know how difficult it has been for him to write about the daily abuse he wakes up to, or the taunts he has lived with most of his life. Is the column an extension of the therapy? Part of the purging and catharsis? Does that even matter?
Eventually, a writer is accepted and admired for the truth behind the words. Karan has not shied away from revealing his truths. As the publisher of his forthcoming autobiography, aptly titled An Unsuitable Boy, I was worried Karan was giving half the book away! Poonam Saxena, his friend and co-writer, nearly wept when she read Karan's first column. I was pretty cross, too. But I should have known, even in this dangerous space, Karan was on top of his game. "The blog is an appetiser before the main course..." Karan assured Milee, Poonam and me. So it is. I am not complaining. We are all selfish creatures. We want to save the best for ourselves.
Karan is confidently strutting his stuff, he is the cock of the walk! And I don't need to play mother hen any longer.
And now for the book!
(Shobhaa De is an established writer, columnist, opinion shaper and social commentator, who is considered an authority on popular culture.)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.