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“Karan Johar Draws Personal Inspiration for Tota’s Character in Rocky Aur Rani: ‘I Embraced Effeminate Traits and Loved Dancing'”

Director Karan Johar reminisces about his childhood passion for dancing, which unfortunately led to him being called names for being ‘effeminate.’

During a recent interview, filmmaker Karan Johar opened up about his latest film, “Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani,” which has received a promising start at the box office. He shared how actor Tota Roy Chowdhury’s character in the film was deeply connected to his own childhood experiences. Karan recalled facing name-calling in college due to his body language and mannerisms, and these memories have remained with him till today.

“Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani” marks Karan Johar’s directorial comeback and features an ensemble cast including Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh. Tota Roy Chowdhury portrays the character of Alia, aka Rani’s father, who is a skilled Kathak dancer. The character faces humiliation after a performance as people associate Kathak with femininity. However, he later responds fittingly when Ranveer’s character, Rocky, joins him and learns Kathak. Their powerful performance on the iconic song “Dola Re Dola” has garnered significant praise from audiences.

During his conversation with Film Companion, Karan Johar emphasized that “Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani” holds personal significance for him. He shared how, as a child, he had a passion for dancing and would dance in his room to Hindi songs. His father, Yash Johar, encouraged this interest and took pride in his son’s performances, even showcasing them to his friends. Karan recalled that during that time, nobody criticized him for his dancing, and he grew up believing it was perfectly acceptable. However, in college, he experienced ridicule and mockery from others for his body language and dance moves, which left a lasting impact on him.

The hurtful experiences of name-calling and mockery for his effeminate mannerisms have stayed in Karan Johar’s heart. He revealed that Tota Roy Chowdhury’s character in the film was partly inspired by his own childhood, carrying the message that talent knows no gender. Karan believes in the importance of embracing individuality and expressing oneself freely, irrespective of societal norms. Although he doesn’t label it as a “traumatic experience,” he questioned why others couldn’t accept him for who he was when his father fully embraced and celebrated his uniqueness.

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