Karan Johar’s ‘An Unsuitable Boy’ is a candid, free-flowing account by the blockbuster Bollywood director which gives us an insight into the hitherto unchartered territories of his private life. From his school life to his experiences with sex, from friendships to films, Karan finally ‘comes out of the closet’ (pun intended).
Whether you like him or not, you surely cannot ignore Karan Johar, specially now that he is everywhere – from films to judging reality shows, hosting chat shows or award shows, Karan Johar is an essential part of it all. The book is an excellent insight into the man who defines Bollywood.
What works for ‘An Unsuitable Boy’ is the freewheeling style it is penned in. The language is simple, emotions are real. Karan Johar opens up about being bullied in school for being effeminate; about paying for sex; his bouts of depression, his trysts with love and also about the relationships in his life – with his father, his mother, Shah Rukh, Kajol among others.
He does not hide his sexuality but the nuanced way he presents it will surely win your heart. In fact, some of his experiences are so relatable, it almost feels like the book is actually a conversation you are having over a cup of coffee. The honesty behind the words strike a chord.
The chapters where he describes his initiation into the film industry, and those about his experience of making films were interesting enough. The anecdotes would surely make you want to revisit the films and take a fresh look at them.
Karan Johar has long been targeted for ‘hiding’ in the closet, thus letting down the LGBT community in India (more so post December 2013). ‘An Unsuitable Boy’ is a step in the right direction. Hopefully his book, like his movies, will once again make alternate sexuality a dinner-table conversation in middle class India.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
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Rabindranath Tagore had famously said about short stories: “Sesh hoiyao hoilo na sesh” (stories that stay with you even after you read the last line). Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s collection of short stories ‘Long Island Iced Tea’ surely fits the bill.
The stories belong to various genres and will surely keep you hooked with the brisk pace of the narrative. My favourite of the lot is ‘On The Other Side’ for the beautiful characterisation and the somber ending. The mood of the book varies but there is an inherent string that binds all of them together.
Ram Kamal Mukherjee captures human emotions well. It helps that most stories have predominant Bengali characters. There are many situations, in different stories, that one can relate to personally. In fact the stories might even remind you of works of literary legends (The Storyteller reminded me of Dusk by Saki, for example).
This is a book which appears light and ordinary but the simplicity of the text makes it stand out. When you think of it, the depth of what you read hits you. Here lies the brilliance of the author.
In short, like Long Island Iced Tea, the book is also a mix of various flavours that come together to produce a great cocktail (of life).
P.S. – Thank you Leadstart Publishing for the review copy.
My Rating: 3/5 stars