On Thursday, in a historic verdict, the Supreme Court scrapped section 377 of the Indian constitution that criminalised homosexual relationship and defined it as an equation 'against the order of nature'. With this, a decades-old fight of LGBTQ activists comes to a sweet end. As we raise a toast to more freedom of love, this one man is on our minds.
Karan Johar. The man who says he has become the poster boy of homosexuality in India. The Bollywood A-lister whose love life, relationships, equations have been fodder for numerous rumours, assumptions, judgments and what not? He boasts of owning one of Hindi cinema's biggest production houses. He stirs up numerous emotions on the big screen as he strokes his fairytale romances or unfinished love sagas. He has given us quintessential lovers and also the futile ones. His heroes are macho, capable, ambitious. But all of the glory and success didn't curb the scuffle he withheld inside.
“Everybody knows what my sexual orientation is. I don’t need to scream it out. If I need to spell it out, I won’t. Only because I live in a country where I could possibly be jailed for saying this. Which is why I Karan Johar will not say the three words that possibly everybody knows about me," Karan wrote in his autobiography An Unsuitable Boy.
This, in particular, disheartened many from the LGBTQ community who were eagerly awaiting the book expecting support from one of the most powerful person in Indian cinema. Him acknowledging his sexuality could have boosted thousands of other hearts who were looking for the right inspiration to come out of the closet. But there's so much that holds you back. It's not just the fear of being sent off to jail. It's also about knowing that your outburst won't be met with love and warmth.
“This whole homophobia is so disheartening and upsetting,” Karan had written. Today, as the criminalisation of homosexuality comes to an end, he writes he is 'proud'.
The oxygen lies in the freedom to be able to love and pursue who you want to. Now comes the day when nobody will imprison you for voicing your own sexuality. Now is the time to take pride in your choices.
It's time for those three words, Karan.