Karan Johar‘s biography ‘An Unsuitable Boy’, which he co-authored with Poonam Saxena, has been making the waves as Karan makes some startling revelations in his book. It is a candid account of Karan’s journey of being a child of a filmmaker to becoming one. From friendships to heartbreaks to his father’s passing to his sexuality, Karan talks about every single aspect of his life.
One of the topics Karan Johar has touched upon is the release of his first directorial venture Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. He makes quite a shocking revelation about the time he was threatened by the underworld just before his directorial debut in 1998. Karan’s film was clashing with Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda starrer Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan. This was also the time when the underworld had a strong hold in Bollywood.
In the book, Karan mentions about the time his father Yash Johar had seen the first cut of the film and how things escalated quickly after it. He reveals that underworld don Abu Salem had called at his residence to threaten him to not release his film. He writes, “On Monday, we were writing out the cards, dispatching them through production. My maasi had come to the house to help us. I went down to drop her. My mother was alone at home, even the servants were not there, and all of them had gone out. The phone rang. My mother picked it up, and it was a call from the underworld. A man’s voice said, ‘Your son’s wearing a red T-shirt, I can see him right now. And we’re going to shoot him if you release this film on Friday.’”
“For some reason, they didn’t want the film to be released that Friday; we didn’t know why. It was a call from Abu Salem, and my mother was shaking with terror. She put the phone down and ran towards the door. She pressed the lift number, and I was coming up. As I came up those nine floors, she was going through really tough moments. When I reached, she just dragged me to the room and said, ‘You have to call the cops. This call has come and they said they’re going to shoot you, they don’t want you to release your film this Friday…’”
Karan further talks about contacting Shah Rukh Khan and Aditya Chopra and how they decided to release the film. He writes, “That evening, my father, Shah Rukh, the cops, Adi, everybody was there. The cops advised us, ‘We will protect you but you have to go ahead. You can’t show your fear. You have to have the premiere on Thursday.’ By my mother said, ‘What does this mean?’ We were a simple family. We’d never had the underworld calling us to stop the release of a film. We’d never dreamt that something like this could even happen to us. My mother said, ‘We don’t want all this nonsense.’”
As planned, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai premiere had taken place but Karan Johar was kept in a small room with two security guards for his protection. Karan also recalls how he had always dreamt of having his first film premiere and having Shammi Kapoor coming out of a car to attend the premiere of his film. His mother Hiroo Johar knew about his dream and was crushed to see that her son could not witness it. This is when she spoke to Shah Rukh Khan about Karan’s absence and why the cops had to keep him away from the premiere.
Karan Johar further writes, “Shah Rukh said, ‘What nonsense!’ He went inside and dragged me out. He said, ‘I’m standing here in front of you. Let’s see who shoots you. I’m standing right here. ‘I said, ‘No, no, no, my mother was…’ He told my mother, ‘Nothing’s gonna happen. I’m a Pathan. Nothing can happen to me and nothing will happen to your son. He’s like my brother. Nothing’s gonna happen.’”
Having a great support in Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar got a chance to witness his dream coming to life. The audience even gave him a standing ovation but he did not get to see it. According to Karan, the same night he along with his parents flew to London because the police had told him that would be a safer option.