Dear Karan Johar,
It smells like a different day today. Everybody has been discussing your plain spoken statements in your autobiography. “I always told you he was a gay…”, “Chalo, finally he admitted…”, “He talks like one too…”
Judgments, and more judgments. Judgments, hurtful and uncalled for. Coming from a bunch of blockheads who in their entire lives, have done nothing more than passing judgments.
The first time I saw you was in ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’. I must have been a four or five-year-old kid that time. DDLJ stayed with us, so did you. Today’s self-assured, suited-booted Karan Johar has traveled a few thousand miles from there. With umpteen number of hit films, and rise of a number of present-day stars to your credit, you stand tall as one of the most prominent entertainers India takes pride in. And yet, how ironic! A part of your own countrymen prefers to talk about your sexual preference over your work.
It was not very far ago that ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ embroiled in some serious controversy. I was never sure how perfect the idea of destructive nationalism is, but let it be. I was further never sure how justified the idea of boycotting a piece of art ever is. But then again, let it be. But then, a bunch of fellow folks found something juicy to talk about. “Why did this man cast the Pakistani actor? Something must be cooking between them…” Sigh!
I remember going to a theatre to watch ‘Bombay Velvet’. The film was certainly a dud at the box office, but that was the first time that we saw the actor in you. Elated, I discussed your character with my friends, only to be shut up. “That gay?” they giggled.
Which is more sad? That we live in a legislative system that does not allow us to choose our own sexuality? That we are surrounded by insensitive, impolite, impertinent individuals who know not to show respect to one’s personal choice? That we have reached a time wherein we are answerable to the society for our most intimate decisions? For falling in love, making love, talking love? Or the saddest part is that one can’t even talk about his displeasure.
“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. I know I am the butt of many jokes, pun intended. I know how my sexuality is discussed. I have become like the poster boy of homosexuality in this country,” you wrote. This breaks my heart. We must be living in a miserable age; a very unkind age. It’s not just you; it is probably every man with a different sexual orientation who is crucified with the rigid, societal norms everyday. It must be taking such a massive toll on one’s self-esteem. Yet, all of you get up, get ready and show up everyday…
And no pretence in accepting this. We have failed you miserably. You have stirred our emotions, made us laugh, made us cry. You’ve explained love, heartbreak, friendship in the most flamboyant manner possible. In return, we have given you judgments that you didn’t call for, names that you didn’t deserve, slangs more hurtful than bullets, and tons of bitterness to start your day with. We scrutinised every move you made, every word you spoke, every time you laughed. “Why is this man not getting married?”
“He’s so rich, he must be having so many means of pleasure,” we whispered. And amidst all these, we forgot that just like any of us, your basic emotional needs were no different.
On behalf of every man who let you down, sorry. On behalf of every man who has today made you the ‘poster boy of homosexuality’, sorry. Sorry on behalf of ones who fill your Twitter inboxes with hatred every morning, and on behalf of the ones who make it difficult for you after you head home alone, leaving your glitzy life behind. Sorry on behalf of those who have subjected you to so many judgments.
There will be a day when neither you, nor anyone else will be scared to scream ‘those three words’ out aloud. It will be a world with more grace, love and co-existence.
Till then, thank you for being the unsuitable boy…