Karan Johar, one of the most successful filmmakers, has been working on several platforms. From TV to movies to ad films, Karan is slowing taking over several genres of entertainment. But, with that being said, he is often accused of only promoting star kids compared to giving new talents a chance. In a tell interview, he talked about everything from Dharma Productions’ upcoming projects, his rapport with Ranbir Kapoor, life as a father, the criticism and trolling that Dhadak faced and much more in The Man’s World.
When asked about Dharma Productions’ upcoming ventures, he revealed how all of them are very high concept films. Talking about Takht, Brahmastra, Kesari, Kalank and others, he revealed, “I’ve realised in the last couple of years that I either want to make the big event films or the high concept films like Brahmastra or a Kalank or now a Takht. We’re making a Kesari also, which is based on the battle of Sarahgiri, or we’ll make a horror film or a film like Raazi, which was a cerebral spy thriller, or a Kapoor & Sons or we’ll throw in a love story like Dhadak, but eventually I think our endeavour is to do high-concept or big-event. That’s the ideology of Dharma Productions. We also want to start a digital arm and I’m going to do that in the next two months so there’s a lot of content providing – I’m a big believer in big-screen entertainment so I’m not going to let that go, but I also know that digital is the explosion that’s happening around us.”
Karan Johar even revealed how Vicky Kaushal has become the star. “I was very excited about Vicky Kaushal. I loved him when I worked with him on Lust Stories. He shot for only four days with me and actually, on paper, the part was entirely the girl’s, but his role evolved in those four days. I added stuff, I changed things around,” he said.
But, when talking about his most favourite actor, he named his close pal Ranbir Kapoor. “My-time favourite actor will be Ranbir Kapoor because he’s just phenomenal. I’m excited to have worked with him; I’m excited to work with him for Brahmastra.”
Then, he went ahead to name a few of the new talents he has loved to work with. “I would say Kiara Advani is a girl that I’ve discovered as an amazing acting resource. I really think that Ishaan Khatter is very talented. I’m really excited to see how Janhvi [Kapoor] and Sara [Ali Khan]’s careers unfold,” he added.
It is known that Janhvi Kapoor and Ishaan Khatter starrer Dhadak received a lot of backlash and was trolled a lot after the trailer was out. As it was a remake of Marathi blockbuster Sairat, Karan admitted that he knew they would be trolled for the film. “You have to understand that Sairat was an anomaly. In Hindi cinema, to take new talent and do this kind of business hasn’t happened. I knew we were going to get lambasted with all kinds of trolling. According to me, Sairat is an outstanding feature film. Dhadak cannot be compared to that in any department. To me, when I wanted to launch new talent, it has to be the right vehicle. Dhadak is like how Ek Duje Ke Liye was, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak was – this kind of tragic love and the first burst of love, but based in heartland India. Shashank [Khaitan] came to me and he really wanted to do it and he was very convinced. See, I never take these decisions on my own. I always react instinctively to an idea. I was very scared because, like Student Of The Year, I had the responsibility of actors who I was presenting on Indian celluloid for the first time. I had to set them up as actors in the working fraternity. For me, I may have a different opinion which is a creative opinion but my boxes got ticked on what I wanted to achieve for them. And I told Shashank, there’s a lot to learn on what to do and what not to do with Dhadak but I’m glad that you’re getting this opportunity to learn. This could have also gone south. On Friday, to be honest with you, I was really nervous,” said Karan.
When asked about why the cast part was removed from Dhadak when Sairat’s story revolved around it, he said, “Again, not my call. Shashank didn’t remove it entirely, it’s there but it’s subdued. It’s there in two dialogues, two mentions. Honestly, with all the uproar that happened with Padmaavat, we were shooting around the same time, Shashank took a call to keep it to this and I went with it.”
Coming to the nepotism debate that has become a huge controversy, Karan Johar who has somehow become the face of it, Karan said, “For reason. I don’t want to talk about my struggles, it’s not like I had the most cushy existence and my father wasn’t this mega film-maker who made a hundred blockbusters and then introduced me. I always say that nepotism exists in Bollywood like it does in many industries. Yes, it gives you access and it gives you the privilege of your first opportunity, but if you fall or fail, you will be out. While there are 5 or 10 examples of nepotistic stars achieving something, there are 300 who are not on the radar anymore. I mean there are enough and more of movie stars who are not from the film industry who are phenomenal movie stars today. This conversation started on my show, so I feel like I’m partially responsible for it. Kangana [Ranaut] came, said what she had to and left, caused the storm and it continues to have this impact. I’m not even holding anything against her. She said what she had to. Honestly, if you ask me, I don’t think Kangana even realised what she was saying would cause this stir. If I feel Varun Dhawan is good for the part, so what if he is David Dhawan’s son? Should I not launch him and find somebody just because I should not adhere to this nepotism phenomenon? I never said I was running an NGO. I’m running a bona fide commercial entity. I’m very excited to introduce new talents. Some will be from the fraternity, some will not. I’m done with being apologetic about it. There have been 15 to 16 directors whose films have been produced by me who are not from film families. No one talks about that. I am producing Good News with a new director called Raj Mehta. Raj Mehta is not from a film family. He was an AD in Dharma who climbed up the rungs and is now directing a full-length feature film with a big cast. Did anyone give me any kind of credit for that? No. Bhanu, another AD, is directing a horror film now. No one will say anything, but if I launch somebody’s grandson or grandnephew, I will be lambasted.”
Ever since Karan Johar welcomed his twins Roohi Johar and Yash Johar, his life has completely changed. Talking about his fatherhood, he said, “All the things that Hallmark cards tell you, mushy quotes you’ve read about parenting and fatherhood and motherhood, all those things are actually, I have to admit, true. When they cling on to you, you feel powerful and so amazingly loved. You become that parent who shows other people their children’s photographs even though you know that they don’t really care, because you never cared. Parenting and what we know of it is not a cliché. It’s a reality and my heart bursts every time I rush into the house to see them. Not that I am a hyper parent , but this kind of emotional governance and vigilance is something that my mother does over me and I get irritated, but now I understand where it comes from. I’m paranoid about everything now. Parenting teaches you about parents and it’s sad that someone like me is understanding it far too late.”
Then, when talking about his relationship, he said that he hasn’t been in one in a long time. When asked, when was the last time he had sex Karan was quick to responded, “Three months ago. I calculated this just yesterday, actually. I remember it.”