From appearing as the scrawny, nerdy Rocky in 1995's Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (of which he was also the assistant director) to winning four Filmfare awards and four International Indian Film Awards, Karan Johar has shaped the Bollywood landscape with bittersweet love stories for two decades now. This past weekend, he joined the Big 40 club.
The guest list for KJo's birthday bash on Friday night read like the Who's Who of Bollywood: Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Bipasha Basu, Sanjay Dutt, Kajol, Kareena Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Sonakshi Sinha, Vidya Balan, Farhan Akhtar, Shahid Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Konkona Sen Sharma, Neha Dhupia, Kalki Koelchin, Ekta Kapoor, Genelia D'Souza, Sonali Bendre, Randeep Hooda, Rahul Bose, Ritesh Deshmukh - to name a few.
In addition, veterans such as Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Anupam Kher, Kiron Kher, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, and of course, KJo's parents Hiroo and Yash Johar were also present.
The venue was straight out of a KJo script: Mumbai's Taj Lands End hotel, where KJo filmed the Abhishek Bachchan wedding scene in his 2006 release Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.
The fashion designer Manish Malhotra, whose costume design career began with Johar's Dilwale Dulhaniya and who has since gone on to become Bollywood's costumier extraordinaire (winning a Filmfare for his costumes in Johar's 1998 Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) was recruited for the red-carpet affair, which adapted the theme of "black and white". To ensure everything looked perfect, Malhotra took charge of not just the venue's decor but also styling the hospitality staff and some of the celebrity guests.
"Black and white" turned out to extend not just to the decor and costumes, however. In the days leading up to the party, rumours of all sorts were rife: the whole Priyanka Chopra-Karan Johar feud, for instance. Allegedly, Chopra was being snubbed by KJo due to a supposed affair between her and Shah Rukh Khan. It was expected that she would not be invited to the event.
The "will she, won't she" factor of Chopra being at KJo's birthday lent an equal amount of speculation to SRK's attendance. Having recently fallen out with his wife Gauri and with close friends over the purported affair, it was reasonable to assume that SRK would think twice before coming, given that Chopra might be there as well. On the other hand, how could he not attend the Big 40th of the close friend who has given him hits such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and My Name is Khan?
With Gauri on his arm - in what has now become a rare public appearance - Khan did turn up. And so did Priyanka Chopra.
Invited she was, and come she did - looking extremely stunning, no less. Best of all, there were no ruffles, no confrontations. And KJo had a happy birthday, indeed.