Karan Johar in a candid chat with Subhash K Jha
How did you discover Siddharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan for your next directorial venture Student Of The Year?
Our cameraman on MNIK, Ravi Chandran, made Siddharth and Varun stand in for Shah Rukh and Kajol for lighting. I saw them in the monitor and I knew they had the ‘It’ quality.
So you mean if they weren’t caught in that particular light you wouldn’t have cast them in Student Of The Year?
It’s all destiny. But let me tell you all three of them had to go through audition, reading, screen test and a whole lot of classes. It was wonderful dealing with them. I believe in all three of them. But there is the anxiety. I hope I live up to their dreams. I feel like a parent to three bright students. Earlier I had no plans of directing the film. But now I’ll direct it myself.
What is it going to be?
A commercial Hindi picture with songs. There’re lots of songs.
But no Shah Rukh?
What do you mean, no Shah Rukh? He is the co-producer of Student Of The Year along with me. Shah Rukh and I both feel launching talent is the way forward for our cinema. Then he suggested I direct it.
Shah Rukh and I both feel launching talent is the way forward for our cinema
Shah Rukh and you got very sentimental on Koffee With Karan…
He is more than family to me. The one-on-one made us very comfortable. We both expressed ourselves with head and heart. It was Koffee with a different taste. I am now shooting an episode with Hrithik Roshan and his wonderful wife Susanne.
Speaking of new talent what do you think of Ranveer Singh in Band Baaja Baaraat?
He’s amazing! He has set a benchmark for a new breed of stars. They brought great synergy into the film. I called up both Ranveer and Anushka.
So was Band Baaja Baaraat your favourite film of 2010?
According to me, the film of last year was Udaan. It’s a very special film. And what a tremendous debut by director Vikramaditya Motwane. We really need new talent in the industry and that’s exactly what I’m doing in Student Of The Year.
According to me, the film of last year was Udaan
Mr. Bachchan has mentioned a sequel to Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham?
It was a great conversation we had. It’s an idea definitely worth exploring. Who knows I may do the sequel. You can never tell. Did you ever feel I’d direct a film with newcomers?
Are you going to continue doing the chat show?
Not when I am directing. But Koffee With Karan will always be a part of my life. It’s a part of me I love and I enjoy. I am probably known more for my chat show than my films. On some level that’s flattering. But on another level it’s shocking.
I think that’s ridiculous
You’ve no idea. Kids call me ‘Koffee Uncle’. Have I started looking like a beverage?
Kids call me ‘Koffee Uncle’. Have I started looking like a beverage?
You look fine
Thanks. But in some ways I am like a beverage. I can be served hot or cold.
What were the most exceptional aspects of 2010 for you?
For me it was My Name Is Khan (MNIK) that made the year special. Koffee With Karan is just an extension of my personality. It’s a hobby that pays me well. And it has done a lot of good for my brand. MNIK was a creative forward-movement from me. Its worldwide acceptance meant a lot to me and Shah Rukh.
Do awards still excite you?
Yes! Any accolade excites me. I like the applause. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the trophy gleaming on my table. Javed Akhtar saab once said something very relevant about the awards. He said, ‘Take the awards seriously during the year that you get them’. I love being nominated and winning.
Your lineup of films for 2011?
Besides my own film there’s the Imran-Kareena untitled film. Everyone calls it Short Term Shaadi or Stand By Me. Then there’s the sequel to Dostana 2 and the remake of Agneepath. Punit Malhotra, Siddharth Malhotra and Ayaan Mukherjee are working on their scripts.
How do manage to do many things?
I am blessed. The only thing predictable about my activities is that they’re unpredictable.