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Exploring a Cinematic Utopia: A Karan Johar World

As soon as you read or hear Karan Johar's name, what comes to your mind? His eccentric wardrobe, over-the-top way of enunciating, or the lurking shadows of stardom and the nepotism debate? Whatever it might be, his movies make Bollywood scale newer heights every year. His creative genius is unparalleled and always brings a fresh portrayal on the big screen.

With the recent release of Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani, my mind has been abuzz with the thought of a world that is created and run by the visionary director, Karan Johar. No matter what story he conjures or what themes he decides to bring alive on the big screen, it seems like Johar has a few favorite motifs that he just cannot let go of.

Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta from Kal Ho Na Ho, Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Siddharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan in Student of the Year

Take the recent release, for example, the love story between Rocky and Rani is overdone, but a freshness comes in with the obstacles Johar puts in place. Inter-caste marriages have been done in the past and plenty of movies highlight the struggles that come with them. But, Johar managed to add the twist of making the partners get a glimpse of each other's cultures beforehand. In many ways, Johar becomes a trendsetter for the Indian masses as his works have a modern edge to them that attracts the audiences.

Johar's movies often revolve around urban, cosmopolitan settings and characters. This portrayal of modern lifestyles and metropolitan cities resonated with the younger generation and contributed to a shift in how urban life was depicted in Indian cinema. Moreover, his characters are known for their fashionable attire and distinct styles. His films have influenced fashion trends and clothing choices among audiences, with his characters' wardrobes often becoming benchmarks for contemporary fashion in India.

From a spirited love triangle to the burning passion of unrequited love, Johar surely has a unique way of presenting the intricacies of this sweet emotion in cinema. Even in his joint directorial ventures like Bombay Talkies and Lust Stories, we see love take center stage, albeit in various forms.

The people in Karan Johar’s world will be governed only by three qualities - good looks, good looks, and good looks. There will be no place for people like Sweetu (from Kal Ho Naa Ho) who only want to find love and be happy. I correct myself, there will be plenty of people like her, just not in the spotlight as that place is reserved for unbelievably beautiful girls like Shinaya, Alizeh, Rani, and many others. I wonder what Johar would have to say about the love lives of people who don’t fit into society’s conventional beauty standards. How would he write the story of a girl like Sweetu or a boy like Sudo (from Student of the Year)?

Karan Johar on a vibrant background

However, finding love in Johar’s world will be an entirely different struggle. You will either have two people interested in you or have to fight another person to prove the value of your love. That is to say, love triangles will be plenty. Cheating will be commonplace because without some masala, how will a love story be entertaining? Abhimanyu will be after your Shinaya or Naina will have to bury her abundant love for Rahul so that he can be happy with Anjali.

On a scale of unrequited love from Anjali to Ayan, we would have an array of people trying to win over the one who rules their hearts. They would try their best to charm their loved ones even if that means they have to change their entire personalities. While people like Anjali will stay silent all their lives and secretly hope for their Rahul to come to their senses, Ayan and his doppelgangers in love will break into song and do everything in their power (incessant begging included) to force their beloved Alizeh in love. However, for a change, we would hope and pray for Anjali to learn from Saba and realize her worth without seeking validation and love from Rahul. For once, we would want Anjali to take a stand and choose Aman instead.

What about people from the LGBTQ spectrum? It is quite surprising to see Johar’s films devoid of any representation or depiction of queer people. This is not to fan the flames of the rumors that surround his sexuality but to point out how diverse he wants his stories to be. Yes, there are a few characters in his movies who may identify themselves as queer like Dean Yoginder (Student of the Year) and the wedding planner in Kal Ho Naa Ho but my question is, why are they left to be comedic instruments in an otherwise holistic script? Why are they only portrayed as comic reliefs when their depiction can open many doors for the plot of the movie?

I agree - Rahul in Kapoor & Sons and Angad in Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania came a long way in redefining the aspects of sexuality and letting the audiences familiarize themselves with the flip side of the coin. But those movies were only conceptualized by Johar, and not directed by him. We would like to see Johar take the reigns and mold a world with more such strong and vibrant characters who feel confident in their skin and can love freely. No matter how many obstacles Johar likes to put in his film, his overtly focused view on love is widely appreciated. Away from social issues and political stances, Johar strives to show a deeper, more emotional approach to life and ignites stirring conversations that resonate with people.

On the other hand, a world with Karan Johar at the helm will be fashionable and chic as hell. With new costumes every day and a vibrant aesthetic that surrounds the entire aura, there will be no shortage of color and modern elements in life. Everyone will live in massive houses like the Raichand mansion and own conglomerates like the mighty Ashok Nanda. Everyone will swim in a pool of money. What about poverty, you ask? It’s non-existent in Johar’s world as everyone is well-off with rivers of family money and business prosperity.

The utopia will never hyperfocus on fields like medical sciences and law, but rather encourage people to explore careers from arts like music to writing. The world will be filled with great musicians like Rohan Nanda and Ayan Sanger, unleashing their creativity and not worrying about impressing their peers with flashy degrees. Creativity will reign supreme.

I believe Karan Johar has the potential to run a world where friendship and love are felt with every ounce of emotion, with people who are free to be who they want to be, and who understand the importance of support and affection in life. His movies have a fun atmosphere that blends emotions with a comedic jibe that does not overwhelm viewers. I have grown up watching brilliant movies with Johar’s brilliant eye for detail and his heartwarming stories. He has a way with words that tug at our heartstrings and make us think long after we have left the theatres. While a utopia commandeered by Karan Johar is entirely a figment of my imagination, I am looking forward to seeing what magic he creates next, even if it’s just in the fictional world. A Karan Johar-esque World


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