Happy birthday Karan Johar: 11 lessons his films taught us about life

  • Sanya Panwar, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: May 25, 2015 11:02 IST

I love Karan Johar. In fact, I love him so much that my friends have started calling me Garan – aka “Girl Karan”.

I love that in Karan (KJo, if you will) I see someone who is truly, proudly, and completely himself.

A popular filmmaker. A known fashion lover. A reality TV judge India adores. A pop culture mastermind. A sassy best friend and everyone’s forever favourite person in filmdom (call him Mr Congeniality, already!), Karan is hilarious and heartfelt. (Have you forgotten his Koffee with Karan days?)

And so are the movies he makes.

His films not only tell few of the best love stories of our times, they also serve as a nice dose of– glossy, because everyone’s gorgeous in them, we’re talking about Karan Johar, people!– reality. They teach us some important lessons about life– like not letting ourselves get pegged down or labelled and always following our heart. And of course, lovin’ our parents! (It’s all about that.)

So, as our fave person in movie biz turns 43 on May 25, here are the 11 most important life lessons his films have taught us.

Get your pencils (all you luddites out there) and Smartphone ready (everyone else) and let's get started.


(Gif sources: YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter, Giphy)

1 Romantic comedies are real-life stories waiting to come to life if only we believe. I am just a girl standing in front of Irrfan (on the television screen, obvs!) asking him to love her. Or something like that. Have you seen Kajol and her (hyper, hilarious) Chandni Chowk ways in K3G (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham)? http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2015/5/ranbir2.gif

2 In our society, we are (all) obsessed with labels. High school culture has taught us that people are supposed to fit into neat little boxes: the loser, the nerd, the math kid, the bookworm, the jock, the stoner, etc. But nobody is just one thing (and if they seem to be, you’re not looking hard enough). So thank you Sid (of Wake up Sid!) for teaching us to never think we have someone ‘figured out’. (Karan produced the film.)


3 It doesn't matter if you are single. Always make an impact at weddings. This is your Ranbir Kapoor-Deepika Padukone Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (Badtameez Dil or Dilli Wali Girlfriend, you choose) moment. Carpe diem for the heck out of it. (Karan produced the film.)


4 Always provide snacks at work meetings (or that weekly gossip session with your ladies and gents). Always. What's that famous saying? "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them eat." Take a bow Kajol the halwai from K3G.


5 An impromptu dance performance is the best Secret Santa present, ever. Preity (Zinta): You had us at the pop and lock. Well, well, it’s the time to disco: What are you waiting for? Dance like nobody's watching. (Unless everybody's watching. Then just dance really well.)


6 For inner confidence, give your kids, brothers and sisters (pet, neighbour, stranger, anyone) a super-duper secret warrior name. So, Karan gave us Sexy Sam (Big B in Kabhi Alvida Na kehna) and Poo (Kareena Kapoor in K3G).I am choosing Lady Gaga Butter Masala for myself. Shh, don't tell anyone. It's a secret.


7 Fashion statements are essential: Colour Blocking. Mixing Patterns. Accessories. There’s an entire song on Gucci-Louise-Vuitton-Stella-Mccartney-Versace in Student of the Year. Lesson: Doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, be fashionable, not boring.


8 ‘Shouting’ at people after a career setback or romantic disappointment is like exercise for the soul. Emotional yoga. Being spiritually sporty. Namaste and all that jazz. There’s a Kayoze Irani (one 'brave' student, who gives it back to Rishi Kapoor aka Dean Yoginder Vasisht of Student of the Year) in all of us. When life gets you down, let him out: Trust us it’s a valid coping mechanism. Of course, life coaches will tell you something like lie down on the floor, it could relax your body, clear your mind, give you energy to think more rationally. But, shouting works too.


9 Nobody’s perfect. Not even your parents. K3G taught us this, hundred times over. People have bad days (months and years) and they say mean things and they make mistakes. Sometimes even the nicest people, people you love and respect, make the wrong choices. That doesn’t make them bad people, or mean you should give up on them. The truth is people change. Even you parents. And that’s okay.


10 If at first you don’t succeed, try again, just like Anjali (SRK’s eight-year-old daughter, who dusted herself off and tried countless times to find her widower father his one true love: his college bestie, Kajol). While you may not share Anjali’s opinion that finding your soulmate = eternal happiness, the girl knew what she wanted, and she didn’t give up until she got it. And that’s real strength: not, not getting knocked down, but always getting up again.


11 Here, it is, the last (and the most valuable) lesson. It’s kind of unfair to use Rizwan Khan (SRK in My Name is Khan) as an example of this, because duh, of course he is confident: But confidence really is everything! Rizwan, who suffered from a rare disease called Asperger syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder that affects a person’s behaviour and perception), was so decidedly unapologetic about putting himself out there that he not just married the woman he fell for (Kajol), but even set out to find US president Barack Obama when he has too! That was crazy inspirational, because it reminds us that people are just people – and ultimately it’s all about how you move within the body that you have. You don’t have to hide away at home, thinking you’re not good enough to carve yourself a place in this world unless you were born looking like Jennifer Lawrence/Lopez/Hudson/Garner/Aniston… Seriously, are there any non-insanely-hot Jennifers? Anyway.

What lessons have Karan Johar’s films taught you? Share with us in the comments below.

You can reach the author on Twitter at @SanyaHoon

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