You won’t find a better friend than Karan Johar in the film industry. Buzz has it that he shared the story idea of Kurbaan with his pals at Yashraj films (which he calls his second home). Before he knew it Yashraj’s New York was out before Karan’s Kurbaan.
And now Karan has gone and postponed his own plans of heading into producing television content only so that his friend Aditya Chopra can get a head start. Not only that, Karan has even agreed to host a posh chat show with super-celebrities called ‘Lift Kara De‘ where he will interact with super-icons, when ideally Karan would’ve preferred to use his own name and clout for television within his own production house.
The 20 super-icons that Karan would be interviewing on the show to be telecast on Sony Entertainment are Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan, A R Rahman, Dharmendra, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, John Abraham, Shahid Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Rani Mukherjee, Deepika Padukone, Kajol, Priyanka Chopra, Bipasha Basu, Kareena Kapoor and Preity Zinta.
Says Karan, “Working for Yashraj is like working for my own production house. When Adi offered me the show, it immediately struck a chord within me. I have a done a talk show on Star World. But that was more fun candid and gossipy. But Adi felt I needed to project a more serious side to my personality. Of course I’m fun and witty and acidic. But Adi said why don’t you tap into the other unseen part of you? I loved it because it is human and personal. I think it has great connect value. It’s about searching for every icon’s biggest fan.”
What appealed to Karan was the search for iconic superstars. “How we define an icon is very interesting. What about Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra because of whom kids want to win beauty pageants or enter the fashion world, or what about kids wanting to imitate Kareena Kapoor’s clothes…they are all iconic. These people create dreams for million.”
Aditya Chopra has done all the ground work and drawn up the list of celebrities. “I’m just hosting the show. I’m just happy to be part of Yashraj’s foray into television,” says Karan.
As for Karan’s own television foray he says, “We at Dharma are definitely looking at going into television. Maybe in a year. I believe television is a very impressionable medium of entertainment. And I’ve the biggest fan of the home medium in my home. My mother keeps telling me that she’d love to watch my shows on television. She has inspired me to start a television unit at Dharma. We’ll now take a call after the release of My Name Is Khan. ”
Now of course Yashraj has beaten Dharma to it. So Karan will give his own television software dreams a decent gap.
“We’ll be doing television on a much smaller scale than Yashraj. I don’t have the infrastructure or the knowledge to do television as seriously as Adi,” says Karan.
Obviously Karan believes in kurbaani when it comes to dostana. He laughs off the resemblances between Kurbaan and New York. “I don’t see the similarities between the two films in terms of content, visual and tonal treatment. New York did much better and I personally liked the film. Every film has its own destiny. Even if Kurbaan had come first, it would’ve performed just as it did. Kurbaan was more niche in treatment. I’m very proud of Kurbaan. It’s possibly the most credible film I’ve ever made.”
Karan is proud to launch new directorial talent from his production, house. “For many years we launched no new talent. I wanted to take cinema ahead. Now I think I’ve done better than launching new talent. I’ve launched captains of the ship.”
At the moment Karan is completely immersed in the process of editing his own directorial venture My Name Is Khan. “Shah Rukh and I feel we’ve made a film we can be proud of. It’s the most uncorrupted uncompromised and honest film we’ve made. Of course I’m anxious to see how audiences embrace the humanism of My Name Is Khan.”
Any fears that the film may suffer for because Karan’s films have been identified as closet musicals whereas My Name Is Khan has no lip-sync songs? “Even Rang De Basanti had no lip-sync songs,” retorts Karan. “I do feel audiences are naturing even if a serious film like Kurbaan fails. It’s the budget that failed. Not Kurbaan. It was a cinematic success, although a box-office failure. Because it was so monstrously expensive we couldn’t recover our investments. Unusual films should be cautiously budgeted.”
Karan is very happy with the year that was. “We’re proud of the directorial talent we launched this year. 25-year old Ayan Mukerjee made his debut. I’m grateful to give him the opportunity. And Rensil D’Silva, I’m very proud of both. And yes they’re doing their second film with Dharma. Ayan is on a backpack holiday in Argentina. But Rensil has already given me his next script. Starting with Dostana and then going on to Wake Up Sid and Kurbaan, I’m thrilled at where I’m taking Dharma. I’d be much happier taking cinema ahead than making money. Cinema from the heart is far more important than money in the bank.”