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5 confessions on sexuality Karan Johar makes in his biography 

The Ae Dil Hai Mushkil director opens up about his personal life in his biography, An Unsuitable Boy.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Sonal Pandya

A selection of Karan Johar’s upcoming biography, written with Poonam Saxena, was recently shared in The Times of India. In it, the filmmaker who made his debut with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) talked about the daily harassment he faces when he opens his Twitter account. The constant barrage of questions on his personal life and sexuality have hounded him for years; Johar has remained elusive on all counts — until now!

Here are five of the most honest statements made by Johar in An Unsuitable Boy.

1. “I lost my virginity at 26. Yes, it is true. Why would I say this on record if it were not? It's not something I am proud of. It was in New York. Up till that point, I was sexually completely inexperienced.”

Johar discussed how confused and awkward conversations about sex made him feel. Many a times he admitted that he just “brushed it under the carpet”. But after his first film came out, he began to take care of his looks and grooming and had a little more confidence. That’s when he says he had his first sexual encounter, outside of India.

2. “There has been so much conjecture about my sexuality. For heaven's sake, for years there were rumours about Shah Rukh and me. And I was traumatised by it. I was on a show on a Hindi channel, and I was asked about Shah Rukh.'Yeh anoka rishta hai aap ka,' the interviewer said.”

Johar states that sex is a personal issue for him, it’s not something he takes casually. But the hurtful rumours over the years, especially with Shah Rukh Khan, someone he considers “a father figure” and “an older brother” have traumatised him.

3. “I get scared of being spotted with any single man now because I think they are going to think that I am sleeping with him. I mean, firstly I have never ever talked about my orientation or sexuality because whether I am heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, it is my concern. I refuse to talk about it...I have not been brought up to talk about my sex life.”

The filmmaker calls himself the ‘poster boy of homosexuality’ in India. But he confesses to being afraid of being seen with any single man because of being inadvertently linked to him. Furthermore, he says, he will not talk about it as he has not been raised to discuss such topics.

4. “Everybody knows what my sexual orientation is. I don't need to scream it out. And if I need to spell it out, I won't only because I live in a country where I could possibly be jailed for saying this. Which is why I Karan Johar will not say the three words that possibly everybody knows about me in any case.”

Johar comes out and states the obvious, without actually saying the words which everyone assumes of him. One contributing factor in his decision is the law [Section 377] which could jail a person for their sexual orientation. He also says he doesn’t want to deal with the legal cases and thousands of moral police who like to poke their noses in someone’s business. Johar refuses to conform for anyone.

5. “If they're going to make jokes about my sexual orientation, I'm okay about it. I'm not embarrassed about who I am. I'm not apologetic. I'm embarrassed about the country I live in vis-a-vis where I come from in terms of my orientation. I'm sad, upset and disheartened with the trolling that happens on social media... At the end of the day, this whole homophobia is so disheartening and upsetting. And then they say, `Why don't you speak about your sexuality? You could be iconic in this country.' But I don't want to be iconic anywhere. I want to live my life.”

Every day, Johar gets over 200 abusive messages on Twitter, demeaning him and his personal choices. He’s not apologetic about his life but disappointed about the whole issue of homophobia in India. The gay community wants him to become an icon for the cause, but Johar says, he simply wants to ‘live my life’.