Bollywood Hungama
Last Updated 14.12.2018 | 6:35 PM IST
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Karan Johar battles perceptions surrounding MNIK

Karan Johar“>

Bollywood has moved on, better films are coming in; audiences’ expectations have soared higher while filmmakers (the ones who are willing to change with the times) have matured as well. The ones who were only making a particular kind of cinema have started experimenting with diverse subjects. Quite a few actors too have realised that change is the name of the game and being routine is passé. Commercial cinema has started seeing a new definition for itself while the success of 3 Idiots has proved that sky is the limit if the film carries a great entertainment value even if there is this deep rooted message hidden somewhere deeper down.

This is exactly what one looks forward to from My Name Is Khan as well where Karan Johar, Shah Rukh, Kajol and Co. have aspired to tell a story which is new and fresh, boasts of a certain responsibility quotient to it and still has been designed as a universal entertainer which would appeal to a global audience, a market that it promises to explore in weeks to come. No wonder, the man behind it all, Karan Johar, chooses to call My Name Is Khan as a love story at heart which comes with good enough entertainment value in spite of an issue being addressed at the gut level.

MNIK a film about terrorism? Wrong perception

Karan Johar

“There is this entire perception which is making the rounds that My Name Is Khan is a serious film about a serious issue with terrorism as it’s back drop. The fact is, this is an entirely wrong perception”, Karan sets the record straight once for and all. If he is really tired of defending his yet to be released dozen times a day, he is not quite making an attempt to hide it. The reason behind his tiring state is understandable. After all the film is barely a couple of days away from the release and the wrong perception may just be sounding a little too threatening, especially so when MNIK has quite a lot going in it’s favour at the moment.

“Yes, there is an issue which is being addressed but at the end of the day this film is an emotional love story. It is about a man (Rizwan Khan, played by Shah Rukh Khan) who embarks on a mission for love. The story is about what prompts him to get going on this mission and where does he eventually go. But there is nothing about terrorism in MNIK; you don’t see any terrorist in the film.”

This immediately sets MNIK apart from Karan Johar’s last production Kurbaan (directed by Rensil D’Souza) which had terrorism as it’s driving force with it’s lead protagonist (Saif Ali Khan) playing the role of a Pakistani terrorist. Though some rumour mongers had a field day initiating idle conversations around the similarities between the two films, Karan Johar instead chose to shrug it all away.

Karan Johar

The name is Khan. Rizwan Khan.

“The film is about Rizwan who doesn’t know that in this personal mission of his, he is making such a huge difference for the rest of the world. The power of any initiative lies in doing something with all the heart and compassion without being marred by any ill thoughts or corrupted outlook. Rizwan is one such individual who does so much but without an understanding that his act would have such wider impact. He is so genuine and true and this is why he does everything with so much of heart and compassion. There are very few people who feel pure love and act as per that. This is why the story is possible when seen from Rizwan’s point of view because his mind is completely honest while his heart is truly uncluttered and pure”, Karan goes on to describe the element of love which are so prevalent when it comes to Rizwan Khan.

One wonders where does all of this leave Kajol? While Shah Rukh Khan seems to be enjoying an author backed role here, does Kajol get her moments of glory in the film as well? After all, the journey of MNIK is being touted to be that of a man whose wife leaves him behind for certain reasons.

“Again, one more wrong perception”, sighs Karan, “Who says that Mandira (the character played by Kajol in the film) leaves Rizwan? Though I certainly don’t wish to reveal anything around the storyline, let me set the record straight that it is Rizwan who is forced to leave Mandira because she says something to him which drives him to take such a drastic step. Beyond this, I don’t wish to comment on anything else. Why don’t you watch the film and get answers to the all perceptions that are being fed to you?”

Shah Rukh and Kajol – ‘Janam Janam Ka Saath’?

Karan Johar

One wonders though how audience would be reacting to this rather different chemistry between Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol who are returning on screen more than 8 years after Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham? After all, together they have worked in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Karan Arjun and Baazigar – all of which have been mega hits that continue to find huge patronage amongst audience, courtesy their satellite re-runs. Since in each of these films, Shah Rukh and Kajol are shown to be sharing the vows of ‘janam janam ka saath’ with promise of togetherness being a single most stand out factor, won’t audience be shocked with some diverse character portrayals that they have in the film?

Karan hardly pauses for a moment before answering this. “Let’s admit it, everyone is required to evolve and grow over a period of time. I have grown, audience has shown over a period of time that how evolved they have become and our actors too have taken a huge leap further”, Karan does a quick reality check here.

One wonders though that when a film has Shah Rukh as a central protagonist with the promos also giving an indication that it revolves primarily around his character, how does Kajol make her presence felt and justify her inclusion? Assures Karan, “Kajol has a very strong role in My Name Is Khan and nowhere would you feel that she has been left behind. She is a big part of the journey that Khan takes. After all at its heart, the film is a love story of Rizwan and Mandira.”

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