Special Article: Campus Life In Karan Johar’s Movies

 (By Mukta Singh) Bollywood’s leading producer-director Karan Johar is known for his highly stylized and larger than life movies. His depiction of college life and campuses has made him the darling of many young Indians with movies like ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’ firmly etched in their memories.

Karan Johar manufactured a unique campus life in his first directorial venture ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’. A campus that never existed on this planet! It made us believe that college life was all about celebrating Friendship Days, playing basketball, falling in love, and holding on to the same guy forever in the hopes of marrying him.

He cemented this idea with another unrealistic campus life shown in ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’.  With ‘Pooh’ (not Winnie the Pooh) Karan Johar had ‘corrupted’ an entire generation of teenaged girlz with “I am too fake to be real’ virus. Even today you will find obsolete versions of Pooh/Pooja in circulation in this mortal world. Not a hair out of its place, since they have been straightened out to perfection, with French manicured nails to tuck that one careless strand of hair behind their ear, lots of kohl and gloss, these girls were your prototypical bitches in college. 

But when we went to college in the real world this manufactured reality crumbled under its own feathery weight. Who had the time to play basketball other than those who were on the team or got in through sports quota or both? Who had the time to transform from an ugly Betty to Pooh between assignment deadlines and half emptied cups of too hot chai? Who had the time to enjoy in any other way than college fests and hanging out in Kamla Nagar even if you are broke?

This college life fantasy is so strong that even after we face the reality of our mundane and ‘not so happening’ college life we continue to believe that Kajols, Kareena Kapoors, Shah Rukh Khans and Hritik Roshans do exist somewhere and studying happily in their colleges.  But we are not fortunate enough to be in their college!

After making movies like ‘Agneepath’ which was a clear departure from his trademark style, he is back to touch base with his core constituency. His core constituency has always been young Indians who cherished his style cinema since their teen ages. His latest movie titled ‘Student of the Year’ is about a school campus which is supposed to be located somewhere in India. But one good look at the trailer and you come to know that this movie is not even remotely connected to anything Indian!

With ‘Student of the Year’ Karan Johar is going to launch not one but three newcomers in Bollywood. The newcomers Sidharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan belong to families who are big names in the industry. The movie is expected to hit theaters in October this year.

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