My office is my marriage : Karan Johar


By his own admission, this is the first time Karan Johar is travelling to “promote” his film. “As a producer, I never travel to promote my film! And when my last directorial venture My Name Is Khan was to be released, I didn’t get the opportunity as the film was embroiled in controversies.
After Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, K3G, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, My Name Is Khan… this is your first directorial venture sans Shah Rukh and other established stars. Isn’t it one element in your films that your audience expects?
Of course, it’s a huge risk to make a movie on such a monumental scale with newcomers; but I feel nothing ventured is nothing gained. If established filmmakers like us won’t leverage our hold in the industry to launch the newcomers, who will. I know as we don’t have an established star cast in this film, we don’t have a hallmark of expectations and we are shooting in the dark. But, then what’s the fun in doing what everybody is doing.
But, what could be the motivation for such a huge risk?
I wanted to take on the challenge of making a film with newcomers. It would have been much easier for me to make a movie with a big, ensemble star cast, but then it would have been yet another film in that genre. It would have been uninspiring for me, at least at vis-a-vis training the cast. Here, it was a new challenge to not only launch the new talent, but also to nurture it. It’s very enriching to groom the greenhorns, sharing you experiences with them, and then make them translate their learning into performance on the celluloid and capture the heart of cinegoers. It’s very easy doing good numbers with a big star cast film, but the real task is to generate big numbers with a completely new star cast. And I hope we set a precedent! For I’m sure if we pull it through well, the rest from the industry will follow, as we all are driven by the ‘me too’ attitude; herd mentality is the way forward.
If I ask you hypothetically, what would give you more satisfaction – a successful product or making successful stars out of newcomers? I think their success graph would give me more pleasure than what my film achieves. It’ll be extremely gratifying for me, if the talent created and nurtured by me is accepted and loved by the audience.
You just praised Anurag Basu, saying you felt limited as a filmmaker after watching Barfi… I actually felt inept when I saw the film; I felt I’m not capable of this level of brilliance. While the film completely swept me off my feet, I felt limited as a filmmaker. I think we are very low on positivity when it comes to appreciating somebody else’s work within the industry, but I’m absolutely comfortable appreciating my contemporaries’ work as it makes me a better professional. I wish to channelise that feeling in the best possible way as I believe if you can’t acknowledge and appreciate somebody’s brilliance, you can’t achieve the same yourself.
On Simi Garewal’s show, you had said vis-a-vis your love life that you’ve always tried to attain the unattainable; so are you following somebody unattainable in your life now?
(Laughs) I am into a relationship with my career and my work space; and my office is my marriage!