We live in a society where most of the times we all are constantly judged for anything and everything we do. And more than us, it is the Bollywood celebrities who can relate to this since they are always in the limelight. We have always seen Karan Johar in a jovial mood but as a child, he had some embarrassing and torturous times. KJo was in conversation with journalist Barkha Dutt at We The Women conclave and there he revealed how he visited a speech therapist to change his baritone.
I was told these things in my school, by my teachers. They are all stuck in boxes. You are meant to be in a certain way. I have been tormented to a point where I went to a speech therapist to change my voice, to bring a baritone. Everybody would say, ‘You sound like a girl.’ I heard that like a million times and I told the therapist, ‘Can you make me sound like a boy?’ It was not fun. I did it for three years. This gentleman gave me voice exercises. It was embarrassing and torturous.
Karan also recalls how he used to imitate Jaya Pradha’s steps from the song ‘Dafli Waale’ and his parents never thought anything was wrong with it, but people found it strange.
I went and saw ‘Sargam’ as an 8-year-old and became obsessed with the song ‘Dafli Waale’. I would play the song at home and do Jaya Pradha’s steps and not Rishi Kapoor’s. My father used to ask me to perform and I used to dance like Jaya Pradha was dancing and he somehow never found it strange. No one said I was doing something wrong. But when I went down to the compound of my building or met seniors at the school, all the kids who were not from your domain would make fun of you.
That’s when I started developing an aversion to the word pansy… It scarred me. My hand and feet would move very differently from other boys. I would run funny and I stopped taking part in any sport as a result of it. Because every time I ran, everybody would laugh. Every time I spoke, people laughed as I had a squeaky voice. I thought my parents were absolutely cool. My father was as Punjabi as it can get. But he never thought I was doing something unusual or different but it did make a deep impact on me as I thought I was different and I was told I was different.
Karan had a very strong point to make and said that we should not put things in boxes.
Masculinity or feminity is being comfortable in your skin. You would not put things in boxes. Like I would not tell my child don’t cry like a girl. That’s ridiculous. If he wants to cry, he should cry.
KJo also said something that can be a life lesson for all of us- “You are living for yourself and no one else. You will sleep better at night knowing that you are living an honest existence. And there’s nothing stronger than living an honest life.”
We are sure a number of people out there were just waiting for someone to say this. Thank you, Karan!