An Unsuitable Boy is a book you'll read in Karan Johar's voice. If you've seen him on any of the talkshows or reality shows (and I'd consider it a rather grand achievement if you haven't seen he seems to be everywhere) then you know that he has this personality that is actually just him. I've always felt that it isn't contrived like almost everyone else out there (yes, I think every single star has at one point of time sat down and listed what their brand adjectives should be and then worked their butt off to reach it!). This is why I liked reading the book and this is why I think An Unsuitable Boy works. It's not trying to be intellectual, its not trying to be a gossipy bestseller, its simply a person talking about their seemingly extraordinary life.
Karan Johar, the quintessential 'townie', that's what all of us ordinary suburban mortals like to call people who live 'townside' or in 'SoBo'. Townies are people who have it made, their life is what you see in movies, their life is what people think lives are like in Mumbai. The book starts with this exact same vibe. I think where you grow up is something that gets ingrained in you. While I know a lot of people look at him as this spoilt rich brat, I don't think that's the case and this belief that I had about him (no, I do not know him but we all have opinions about people right?) gets reinforced in this book. I actually love the vulnerability that comes through in his younger years while still being set against the backdrop of a plethora of well-known people. Hey, I've even met one of them, Natasha (who is an absolute delight btw) and I couldn't help but recall the one time I saw her and wished I could afford to make her my fulltime hair stylist simply because she has such a positive energy! (nope, still not have that much money in the bank!)
Yes, the address and the connections definitely help when it comes to finding yourself. I would love to take a couple of months off to go find myself but then that's not a luxury most of us can afford. But then that's ok too. You don't need to actually go away to find yourself. You need to communicate and have that discussion with your inner self to be able to find joy. Yes, coming back to the book, this is something I think comes through in the book. There's a whole chapter on Bollywood and how its evolved and grown into a place where communication is a little lost.
One of the most talked about part of the book was the Love and Sex chapter. Well, what's my take on it? I think it takes a lot of courage to talk about your personal life on a public platform. There's a part that talks about how you need to build a connection with the masses and I think this book in general tries to do that. Especially when he talks about his personal life, he seems to have this honesty about what he's gone through but still an ability to look at himself and be comfortable in his own skin.
So was there something I didn't like in the book? First, there's a 'became' that should be a 'because' on pg. 180. I really get frustrated when this happens, especially in print media. Second, sometimes I think that the book goes into a sort of self-adulation zone. Yes, I'm a firm believer in loving yourself but since I don't know him personally (hey, this could be his personality in real life too), I find it a bit pompous. However, this still doesn't take away from this feeling of reliability in the broader scheme of things and that's exactly why I'm here writing this piece.
Should you go buy it? If you like a book that doesn't try to take itself too seriously then yes. If you like your autobiographies to be these aspirational guide books, then no. This isn't for you. If you're a movie buff or a Shah Rukh Khan buff, then this is for you. If you're just like me and want to read something that isn't pompous (no matter how pompous people call the writer) then go ahead, take a peek into the mind of one of the most celebrated movie makers in our country!
Name: An Unsuitable Boy
Author: Karan Johar With Poonam Saxena
Price: Rs. 699 (acc. to backcover), Rs. 340 on Flipkart
My Rating: 3.5/5