I really like you. Not in the physical way as more than my family, I would find that thought preposterous! Not because you are a Johar and my in-laws are also Johar and I see some family bonding there. Not even because of all your movies, though some of them when you decided to open your heart and mused from there did create cinematic magic and became timeless classics. Like ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’ or ‘My name is Khan’.
But something about your personality always attracted me. Your honesty, your boldness, your temperament, your intelligence, your being open about your sexuality and even your acting skills! Though ‘Bombay Velvet’ may have bombed at the box office yet I still find it as one of the classiest movies of our times and Ranbir and your performance would remain etched in my mind as a gold standard for eternity.
Above all I loved you for your integrity. You were ‘THE’ original WYSIWYG for me- ‘What you see is what you get’, transparent and clear. Your words used to come out directly from your soul, pure and true. As truthful as they could be! There have been numerous times when you opened new windows to a brave new world for our generation and broke stupid customs.
That is why Karan when you of all people broke down and surrendered to the mob led by MNS and the crony nationalists and managed by the government in power, it broke my heart. And perhaps that of millions of your fans, followers and friends!
True I understand that you had to bow down to MNS and accept their terms to enable release of your latest movie, ‘Aai Dil Hai Muskhil’ and to ensure that your production house does not bear a huge loss. Above all it may have come to your mind that this movie was a result of labor of tens of your colleagues and you wanted that to bear fruit. True it is difficult to stand to bullies especially when they are led by the government themselves in almost totalitarian democracies like India. Alas India is desperately trying to become the very nations it used to detest like Pakistan.
Yet it hurts! It hurts to see powerful people bend and crawl in fear of the mob. It leaves commoners like us with no idols. No heroes to look up to.
Perhaps it hurts more as I have lived my entire life with high values and stood for what I considered as morally and ethically right. Always! Even at the cost of breaking friendships or making enemies. Even with a fear of losing everything that I had earned and going broke. I have resigned jobs with nothing in hand in precarious financial position and with young children to take care of whenever I was asked to do something unethical by the management. Be it for being asked to wrongfully fire employees or harass suppliers. I have left the comforts of high life to live a life of almost penury at times without having knowledge of how I would survive the next day, what to talk about months or years just because I did what was the right thing to do in my professional and business life.
But guess what Karan, the more one is broken by the world, the stronger one can emerge. Or at least can be inside! Till date when I look at the mirror I see a withered, tired face but with no distortions. Fallen I have many a times in life but bend no! Never did, never will.
And the best part of standing for our ideals and ethics is that we gain the love and respect of our near and dear ones. Even though we may subject them to immense pain and hardship! More than me, my family has suffered and yet we have stood by each other in thick and thin. Till date our love and respect for each other is boundless. And the people who criticized or ditched us anyhow did not matter. Nor can they matter anytime as the winds cannot ruffle a strong tree.
But who am I am to speak in such words to a celebrity like you?
Who are we the common people to put you on a pedestal and do idol worship? You never asked for it or demanded it. You have the right to look for financial security and for safeguarding your interests and for fearing for your life and that of your friends.
Fine Karan, we accept! You are human and that you too have your fears. Alas these are difficult times where the lines between the government and the mafia have been erased. Earlier the goons used to aspire to become leaders and now the leaders aspire to be goons. It is OK, we understand. You feared for your life and for your comforts and accepted fate accomplice.
But please for your own sake (and I would not like to put God here as he will, if he exists, remain a mute spectator), do not lose your integrity. Say that you are broken or reformed or whatever you wish to call and that you surrendered. Please do not question our intelligence by talking about pseudo nationalism or by agreeing to create stupid boundaries in art.
Karan my friend, we all are humans and will accept what you did. In today’ time the majority would gladly appreciate that you have mended your ways and joined them in singing their tune. As for the few like us or perhaps even like you in days galore, it does not matter. We have seen heroes come crashing earlier too and are just seeing another one bite the dust.
Yet somehow deep inside I feel that you still are the same Karan. Perhaps it is just a one off thing and that you will come back to being yourself again. After all as they say even the moon has a blemish. This was perhaps your time to show that dark spot and we will see your brightness shine in our lives again.
Perhaps you did it for love. Love for your child, your ADHM which you desperately wanted to showcase to the world! Perhaps it would have been too much of a pain for you if it would have not seen the light of the day. I understand. I am a father and we do bend and do strange things for our children. Love knows no reason. Especially when it is of a parent!
So here is wishing you and your movie the best again. I have not gone to a theatre to watch a movie for ages but will definitely go to see ADHM. Not just for you my friend but also for Fawad Khan and for all the artists in the world from wherever they come and will continue to come in times to come. And we also have to contribute to enable you to pay the ransom which the government has asked you to pay in the name of the only respectable institution left in this country, the Indian army.
And yes when times will be better and Insha Allah they will be, we will forget the diktats of the mob and the world will only remember the cinematic magic that you and your fellow artists would have created.
All the best and just one last request before I go to the cinema hall to see your movie- It will pain a few of us to see the mob rulings that you would be displaying there at the start but hopefully you will not take that to your heart or translate that into action and will forget it and move on.
After all, my friend you are ‘THE KARAN JOHAR’ and you do not represent war but only the artist and his art!
A dil in mushkil!
Published in Times of India on 28th October 2016. Link below-