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e is one filmmaker who is every bit a celebrity as the superstars he directs in his movies. And, he not only makes movies about love; he makes movies that you fall in love with. This guru of gloss has been credited with spreading the love of Bollywood throughout the world. Clearly the most popular director of contemporary Hindi cinema, he was the only representative from the Indian film industry to receive an official invite to the London Olympics opening ceremony. From a cameo role as Rocky who appeared as Shah Rukh Khans sidekick in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), Karan Johar is today one of the most sought after directors in Bollywood. He is fashion designer, walks the ramp, knows all famous people and connects with the audience in a very special way. In fact, no filmmaker in the past or present has possibly been this camera friendly. Indian primetime television has been quick to seize upon the selling power of the Karan Johar brand; he endorses at least half a dozen products while his talk show series Koffee with Karan beats most other celebrity shows. It is the predictability of his filmmakingwhere the audience knows to expect another stylish parade of superstars living the high lifethat is the rallying point of his success. Movie fans for instance would know that a Karan Johar film will have well-developed characters who are rich yet vulnerable in love, would play golf and baseball but would never leave home without the symbolic Tika, or jet-setting billionaires who fall in love with slum girls and fight their families only to have life-size images of their parents every-

KJ: the guru of gloss



where in their house. er: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh You look at his characters and you Khan, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor and aspire to be one of them. He gives you Rani Mukherji something other film-makers cant pleasing faces to admire and fantastic even dream of doing considering the film budgets locations (mostly foreign). Look at how and personal rivalries among the stars. The result? he made the shanty Chandni Chowk, In spite of being a designer family drama with a one of the oldest localities of Delhi, clichd tagline, the film became an all-time hit. look all swanky and without If the tale of marital discord Kabhi an iota of poverty in Kabhie Alvida Naa Kehna did not click, the Khushi Kabhi Ghum. Even 2010 release My Name Is Khan the grannies in his movies shows how much Karan Johar has are good-looking, and you evolved. The film reached out to a will always have people takglobal audience with its complex ing the best care of them. treatment of post-9/11 America. Critics would rebuke him Shah Rukh Khan and Kajolthe lucky for not representing a credmascot duo that he relies the most ible world of real men and onwere in it, repeating the magic. women or lifelike situations. In between, They ask what the chances he has also produced films like are that an Indian, arriving Dostana, Wake Up Sid and KurJyothi Varma in London to find his longbaan. In one of his recent ventures, lost brother, locates him in I hate luvstorys, he actually takes a jiffy through a random search tool at pot-shots at the mushy kind of cinema that he the airport, and also manage to trace made. his childhood love to help him patch up Karans next is Student of the Year that he with him. And all this amid song and has said would be the shortest film of his career, dance in cool locations and people zipand a very different two-hour experience. Ive ping about in funky cars. outgrown mush, but Ive not outgrown love, he Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) his said recently. first movie, very innocent, changed n the way movies were made then. He initially had two ideas one of how a guy realises his love for his best friend much later in life, and another of an eight-year-old girl on a look out for a woman who could be wife to her widowed father. He combined them and thus, KKHH was made replete with friendship slogans, the dance steps, and delectably mushy dialogues. For the multi-starrer Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Karan Johar brought to the screen six of Bollywoods biggest stars togethn shows how much

My Name Is Kha reached out to a Karan Johar has evolved. The filmtreatment of e with its complex global audienc post-9/11 America.