• Friday, December 01, 2023


Karan Johar becomes Bollywood hate figure

How hindi cinema fans have turned on filmmaker

Karan Johar (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Asjad Nazir

Last month Karan Johar was trending on Twitter and without looking at the tweets, I immediately knew that it would be for something bad.

I tweeted these exact sentiments on the micro-blogging site and many people agreed with me. That is because the filmmaker and TV personality seems to have become the most hated high-profile celebrity in Hindi cinema online. Returning to why he trended that day, it was for negative allegations directed towards him.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas had confessed on a podcast that she left India to pursue a career internationally because certain dark forces in Bollywood were preventing her from progressing. Soon after her comments went viral, Kangana Ranaut took to social media to accuse Karan Johar of being the one who drove her out of India.

Whether what she was saying was true or not, the media ran the story and most people speaking about it on social media sites including Twitter seemed to believe the outspoken actress. Few questioned if the allegations were true and seem to automatically believe them. The filmmaker received a torrent of abuse, which demonstrated the toxicity surrounding him these days.

That abuse continued weeks later when an old video resurfaced of Johar threatening to end  actress Anushka Sharma’s career.

All this added to him earlier deactivating his Twitter account and limiting comments on Instagram because of all the hate directed towards him for other things.

Whether it has been conspiracy theories, debates around bad films, the scourge of nepotism, fake stories being planted, outsiders being bullied or the need to boycott Bollywood, his name has regularly popped up in a negative manner when all these discussions are being had. There is no evidence to suggest anything being said is true, but the fact his name is constantly mentioned when any kind of negativity is directed towards Hindi cinema shows how far he has fallen. There is no getting away from the fact that the once golden boy of Bollywood, who wrote and directed hit films along with hosting a new type of celebrity talk show, has become a hated figure.

Whether he is being unfairly targeted or if any of the comments are justified no longer seems to matter, as the public turn against him.

From having interviewed him, spoken to sources in the Indian film industry and observed everything as a leading expert, the root of his problem seems to be his desperate need for attention, and power. Whether it is him constantly popping up on TV, making silly comments, wearing garish outfits, hosting live shows, and attending countless red-carpet events, there has been no getting away from him. He also seems to want a level of control, including over film stars. Being constantly in the faces of the public reminds them of silly things he has done in the past. That has spilled over into the once record- breaking writer, producer and director’s films failing badly at the box office. Interestingly, the films not doing well means he doesn’t have the same power as before.

Maybe it is time for introspection for him and to take a big step back. But a desperate need for attention means that he will unlikely do that, as he gears up for more TV shows, movies, and live events. Not taking that step back means the target that seems to have been painted on him will get bigger, which means the abuse will only carry on. When a negative story happens in Bollywood, his name will keep on popping up on social media in a negative manner.

A big test will be his next release as a director with Rocky Aur Rani Ki Premi Kahani, which was postponed from a release date on Friday (28) to July to obviously avoid a clash with hotly anticipated film Ponnin Selyan 2.

If that film starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt fails, the career crisis facing Johar will only get worse and so will the hatred. No one will question if it is justified because he has become such a polarising figure.

Eastern Eye

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