Karan Johar’s Delhi: The City Where Dreams Come True

J. Shruti

Delhi Evokes A Different Set Of Associations For Karan Johar

The gentrified Delhi of his films has the sprawling Waddesdon Manor — located in Buckingham, England — at a stone’s throw from Chandni Chowk — a neighborhood whose crowdedness is iconic.

In Joharverse

Two films have used the national capital as backdrop to establish the stakes of their romances: Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (K3G, 2001) and Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani (2023). The latter has a deeply introspective quality and attempts a conversation with the former.

Johar Uses Class Differences

To frame a romance between the rich boy and the middle-class girl in K3G through Rahul(ShahRukh Khan) and Anjali(Kajol). He’s a charmer, glinting with the sheen of foreign education and an opulent lifestyle. she’s radiating an unalloyed honesty that is shown as rooted in Chandni Chowk.

Rocky aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani

Rani (Alia Bhatt) is a Bengali ‘girl’ from South Delhi, and Rocky (Ranveer Singh) is from Karol Bagh, a West Delhi, Punjabi boy. Once again, the boy is richer than the girl, but this time, the girl is more sophisticated than the boy (his home is called Randhawa Paradise.

A Fantasy is Thrust Upon The City

The Delhi of Joharverse is not represented with any of the caveats associated with the city in real life. One could complain that the actual aesthetic of the city is removed in Johar’s version and what remains is the stereotype.