Karan Johar Babies: What We Know So Far

I got a text and a tweet while at a tea room celebrating a friend’s birthday.  And then immediately had to tell everyone at the table, and then text everyone I know, and then write an emergency blog post so you could all share in the joy.  But now I am home, and I can scour all my favorite internet sources and see what I can find out!

Surrogacy first.  Surrogacy feels like it just got to be more of a regular thing in American culture, right?  And in America, it is regulated state by state and situations vary greatly.  In some states, it is just a handshake agreement.  This can cause all kinds of problems, with a surrogate who is left with the choice or terminating the pregnancy or raising the baby themselves if things don’t work out, or with parents who lose their potential child because the surrogate can’t bear to part with them.  There are horror stories of fathers who end up paying child support to a surrogate for a baby they were planning to raise themselves, or surrogates left to take responsibility for getting through the pregnancy on their own and then arranging a different adoption that they can feel comfortable with.  However, these are extreme examples.  In most cases (and states), there are procedures, an interview process, legal documents, it’s all worked out in advance with every possibility accounted for.

Of course, the comment comes up “why didn’t you just adopt?”  For Karan in particular, and for plenty of single or same-sex couples in America, this is a question so stupid as to be insulting.  They can’t adopt, because the legal climate is constantly changing, especially for queer parents, and adoption might be difficult or impossible depending on where they are.  And even if adoption is possible, there is always the fear that the laws could change and you could lose your child.  A biological child is much safer.

In India, just adopting as a single parent is super super hard.  Heck, adopting as a married couple is hard!  I’m not an Indian law expert by any means, but I know this because of Sushmita Sen.  She wanted to be a mother right away, while she was young.  And she also wanted a career, and she didn’t want to get married.  So she adopted Renee at age 25, after months of court cases and appeals to prove her ability and right to be a mother.  Can you imagine the dirt and abuse that Karan would have to go through if he tried to adopt?

Image result for sushmita sen baby renee

(Sush and her two girls.  She adopted again a few years back)

Surrogacy itself is getting more and more regulated as well.  I can see two sides to the argument.  On the one hand, there is the fear of wealthy parents preying on Indian surrogates.  Which I can absolutely believe, the West has shown a definite ability to view Indian bodies as expendable, purchasable, and created for their use.  And the record of certain upper-class and wealthy people in India also doesn’t seem that great.  And there is the continuing “save the female fetus” concern that plays a part as well, if the scan shows a female fetus, will the parents try to break the agreement?  Will they keep hiring different surrogates and trying again?

And surrogacy also brings with it the slight possibility of other concerns.  Why exactly did they not want to adopt?  In America, the coded language is “I wanted a baby who looked like me”.  Which often means “I wanted a white baby.”  I know a ton of adoptive parents and adopted children, by the way, and none of them look anything like each other but one glance will tell you that they are clearly a family. I also know that the adoption process wasn’t that complicated for these families, they registered as foster parents, were interviewed, had their houses looked over, a year later they got a baby, and several months after that all the paperwork was done and they went from foster parents to adoptive parents.  But that is in one particular state in America, that tells me nothing about the adoption process anywhere else in the country, or in any other country.

Sometimes I have heard Indian people or Indian heritage people use the phrase “but you don’t know where it came from” or “you don’t know anything about the family” when they are talking about adopted babies.  And I assume that is the equivalent of the “I want a baby who looked like me” in code America, but instead of being about race, it is about caste.  Or religion.  Or caste and religion.

So, I can see why it might be a legitimate concern for the authorities, that unregulated surrogacy could lead to abuse.  And I have another concern that I don’t think they are addressing, that the whole push for surrogacy or to have children in generally might be something socially created.  I’m not talking about any couple in particular, but it seems like in India there is such a firm idea of “You grow up, you get married, you have a baby” with no pause between any of these steps.  Married as soon as you get your first job, baby as soon as you get married.  And if something stops that baby from coming, maybe sometimes part of the misery of it is because everyone in your life is expecting the baby to be there immediately and scrutinizing your every move, along with your internal sadness as a couple.

But on the other hand, it also feels a little bit like this regulation is coming from old-fashioned people who are afraid of things they don’t understand.  There are couples like Shahrukh and Gauri or Aamir and Kiran who want to have children and can’t and surrogacy gives them an option.  And adoption might be tough for them.  I don’t know adoption laws in India, or if they vary state to state, or any of that.  Sushmita Sen makes me think it might be a bit more complicated than just going to an orphanage and picking one out, the way the movies show it.

Image result for kiran rao azad

(Little Azad has such delicate little features.)

 

And these old-fashioned people are trying to pass a law, not aimed at protecting the surrogate mothers necessarily, but at controlling anyone who wants to have a baby in a different way.  The Health Minister introduced a bill making it illegal to pay a surrogate, and for a non-Indian couple to use a surrogate in India.  Okay, a bit extreme, but maybe I can see the reasoning behind these provisions in a concern for the exploitation of poor Indian women who might be pressured into surrogacy.  And then the bill also forbids surrogacy for singles.  And that does not sound so great.  In fact, it sounds a little bit like it is aimed exactly at people like Sushmita who want to be a parent but not a spouse.  And people like Karan, who the Indian government won’t let become a spouse.

Especially considering the timing.  Back in June, Tusshar Kapoor happily announced that he had just become a father by surrogate.  And this bill was introduced shortly thereafter.  Tusshar Kapoor isn’t the biggest name in the world, but his family is pretty famous, so it made headlines.  And as an unmarried 40-something man, there were already rumors about him possibly being gay.  And then the government starts the process to ban any more gay men from parenthood.

Image result for tusshar kapoor baby

(That’s Tusshar on the left, the baby in the middle, and I don’t know who the other guy is.  Tusshar’s boyfriend?)

Karan’s babies were born a few weeks back.  Which, if my calendar makes sense, means that it was almost immediately after Tusshar’s announcement that Karan decided to take the plunge.  Or else just a few weeks before.  I wonder if it was because he saw how much Tusshar’s family and the film fraternity in general had embraced that baby?  Or if it was because he saw the legal writing on the wall and knew that he had to move fast?

I also wonder how carefully the public face of this announcement was planned?  Not like the immediate announcement, which wasn’t an announcement at all, it was just formal news of the registration of birth.  But he had 9 months to work on this.  At what point did he decide to include so much discussion in his autobiography of why he wants and children and thinks he would be a good father?  At what point did he start to drop comments in interviews about being lonely and wanting a family?  Or was it not planned at all?  Is it just that this was on Karan’s mind all along and he was naturally working out his debates in the public eye through his writings and interviews?

Right now his moves are obvious, to stay inside his house and get the little babies settle in at home while their father and grandmother do the important job of going “ooga-booga-boo” over the cribs.  And when he is ready, he can figure out if he wants the first photo to be released over twitter or through a magazine spread.  And maybe write a full formal announcement so he can avoid any other questions.

Until that formal announcement or interview or however he wants to do it comes out, all we are left with is speculation.  Biggest story I am seeing reported now: The names are Yash for his father, and Rihoo for his mother (a re-arrangement of her name “Hiroo”).  But I don’t know if I even believe that.

 

Now, my big questions: Who knew what when?  Has Shahrukh been quiet on twitter for the past few days because he doesn’t have a film to promote or because he’s been hanging out in Karan’s nursery?  What about Varun and Alia?  Were they hanging out with Karan during Badrinath promotions and looking at ultrasound pictures?  And Aditya Chopra?  Kareena Kapoor, dubbed by Karan himself as India’s biggest gossip?  How about Amitabh?  Well, probably not Amitabh, seeing as he was the one to spill the news about Aaradha.

Speaking of Aaradha, my favorite part of the speculation: future potential marriage partners!  Karan has a boy and a girl, so any partner is covered!  My first choice: Adira and baby (maybe) Yash get married, merge Dharma Productions and Yash Raj, and bring together the greatest genetic pool of creative and business film talent that the world has ever seen!  And then baby (maybe) Roohi marries AbRam!  Finally merging Karan and Shahrukh and Gauri into one fabulous family.

abram_kjo

(Can you imagine how cute it would be to put this photo on the wedding announcements 20 years from now when Karan becomes AbRam’s father-in-law?)

 

Here’s one thing I think we can agree is not speculation at all: these babies will be loved and spoiled and adored by their father and grandmother and a whole film industry of “uncles” and “aunties”.  And they will be very very very very very very very well dressed.

 

UPDATE: That official statement is now out!

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17 thoughts on “Karan Johar Babies: What We Know So Far

  1. Pingback: Karan Babies: The Twitter Analysis! – dontcallitbollywood

  2. I’m so happy for Karan! I’m sure he will be a great father and he’s had lots of practice with Shahrukh and Gauri’s kids over the years. They will change his life, and open up his heart, in so many new and wonderful ways. Happy ending for sure!

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    • I am so excited to see how he handles the public image of being a single father. Of twins too! Will they be on next season of Koffee? Will we get photos of playdates with AbRam?

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  3. I don’t understand why you need to criticize Indian government for these rules. If you knew something about surrogacy practices in India then you wouldn’t say such. South east asia have been a big market for foreigners to adopt babies. Mainly because cheap rates. India has become huge market that exploitation of poor women happens sometimes.There are cases like kidnaping-for-adoption or misuse of babies by agencies which is then to be sold without the consent of biological mother. Also “international adoption ” is also the reason for child trafficking as you get huge money for every child.
    Also, homosexual relation and live-in relation are not recognised. So,why the heck Indian government should formulate rule keeping them in mind as it is against Indian ethos.
    Government also criticizes the ‘celebrity culture’. As for the celebrity that you are whining about, for them it has become a trend or fashion, not a necessity. Surrogacy was introduced so it could help infertile couples who don’t have a single baby.And now these couples can only have babies through close relatives like DIL , SIL.
    So say anything with proper study or don’t say anything at all or unnecessarrily criticize Government.

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    • I think I tried very hard to explain why I understand the possible need for regulation on surrogacy, exactly as you describe. However, the specific exclusion for single parents does seem aimed at non-traditional families, single mothers like Sushmita Sen and single fathers like Karan. And that I disagree with since I have known many wonderful single parents in my life.

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      • There have been several documented cases of people (especially foreigners), who have decided not to take the baby if it’s born with a problem, and then the birth mother is stuck with all the costs of raising a medically expensive baby, often when she is very poor herself. In some of these cases, she is not even paid the agreed upon fee for carrying the pregnancy. There was one case of a German couple that refused their babies at the last minute, if you want to Google that. Note that this baby won’t “look like everyone else” in India (both parents were German), so that’s an additional complication for the babies growing up (they were twins, as I recall). Surrogacy not for single parents? I expect it’s for the same reason that adoption wasn’t, for many years, for single people. The authorities think that a child needs both parents to have a proper upbringing. You can argue that having one parent is better than having none, but it’s not so long ago that these same arguments were being made in the U.S. Certainly they must be within your memory, I think, Margaret. Outlawing payments for surrogate mothers? Probably for the same reason that they outlaw payments for organ donations. Again to prevent exploitation of poor people by those with money. Before these regulations were enacted, I read of several cases where the surrogate mother was not paid, where the surrogate mother’s own marriage and family life was completely disrupted because her husband did not like her carrying someone else’s child, or her children couldn’t understand why their “brother/sister” (the new baby) was given away, etc. Plus poor women being used for serial surrogacy, at risk to their own health. Lots of potential and actual minefields in this activity.

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        • Agree with all of your points! And I’m glad to hear them, when I was writing this post I thought maybe I shouldn’t bother spending so long discussing the ins and outs of surrogacy and potential minefields, but it sounds like I was right that this is something people care about.

          Again, I understand the concerns with regulation and so on for almost all the factors related, I just disagree with the “single parent” restriction. As I would disagree with it in America, or any other country where it is still in place. Even a preference for married couples I might be able to understand, it’s just this complete restriction against single parents I don’t agree with. And is relevant here, since I am sure that was part of Karan’s decision to have children at this point, an awareness that it might be now or never for him.

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          • The preference was for married adoptive parents. I believe now it is possible for single people to adopt, though I think it still has to be same sex parents and children — i.e., single women (like Sushmita and Raveena) can adopt girls, and single men can adopt boys. But I’m not sure about the sex restriction. Anyway, I don’t agree with you that Karan thought “now or never”, because I don’t think they’re going to reverse the relaxation of the law that allowed single people to adopt.

            BTW, someone said upthread that live-in relationships are not recognized in India. But there was a Supreme Court ruling that a live-in relationship that lasts for two or three years (I can’t remember exactly) should be treated just like marriage as far as determining alimony, etc., if the couple breaks up. This was a couple of years ago, and there was a huge outcry from people who thought being in a live in relationship prevented the legal liabilities of marriage.

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          • That’s fascinating about live-in relationships! I’m working on a couple posts about Meena Kumari now, and her marriage was so messy legally, with Kamal being already married and then not living together for long periods. I was thinking about how marriage norms vary so much era to era, and now it sounds like there’s being another shift with live-in relationships.

            On Sun, Mar 5, 2017 at 9:55 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I didn’t mean to come out too strong here, as these are things made enacted by government, so not my view. The Supreme court of India which once criminalised homosexuality(2013) is now considering to reviewing the curative petitions filed by organisations in terms to reverse it. Also, some section in the current government feels the same as it will be wrong to jail someone just because someone has different sexual preferences.And they think need to keep up with this world and not enforce 19th century Victorian morality.
      Again, for adoption by single parents is possible in India. As there was a case of a guy who wanted to adopt a kid(with Down’s syndrome) as he was inspired by sushmita sen. After going through hurdles, rules were somewhat relaxed and now age to adopt is 25 years. That guy became the youngest person in India’s history to adopt at 27 years.Others things were cleared by someone in comment thread about surrogacy.

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  4. As much as I’ve talked about poor Indian surrogate mothers being exploited by rich Indian or foreigner adoptive parents, one thing I want to point out, as I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere, but it’s something that struck me. From the pics of AbRam, Azad (Aamir’s son), and now some putative pics of Karan’s babies (can’t guarantee they’re genuine), what struck me in all cases is that the surrogate mother must have been white, judging from the kid’s skin color and features. I’m not quite sure about Sohail Khan’s surrogate kid. If true, maybe what we should really be discussing is poor white women being exploited by rich Indian celebrities to feed their color prejudice. 😦

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    • I had he same thought about AbRam! But as he gets older, he looks more and more like Gauri, so now I just don’t know. And Azad definitely looks like a little mini-Kiran. But not necessarily so much like Aamir, maybe white sperm donor?

      On Sun, Mar 5, 2017 at 10:35 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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