Karan Johar has entered the Rs 100-crore club with his latest blockbuster, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM). In fact, the film-maker, who started off his career with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), calls the film his “most satisfying piece of work”. In an interview with HT, Karan talks about his film, his career and Shah Rukh Khan.
With regard to creativity, are you happy with ADHM’s performance?
I am very happy and exceptionally content because this is the film I set out to make. It has never happened to me, where I have made a film and not had certain regrets that are like, ‘I wish I had done a few things in a particular manner’ or ‘I wish I had shot something in a particular way’.
But with ADHM, I have no regrets. To me, it’s the most satisfying piece of work [I have done]. It was an internal experience for me, as I felt that many moments from the film were pieces of my life. I was happy to share that emotion on the screen.
It’s also your first film to enter the Rs 100-crore club…
Yes, since the coinage of the term, technically, it’s my first Rs 100-crore film, and I’m officially a member of the Rs 100-crore club now. But what’s of paramount importance is the worldwide acceptance of the film, and that different audiences have loved it.
Even if a few reactions were polarised, a certain amount of thought went into it. ADHM is a film that has a very unusual take and interpretation on love, friendship and sensuality. I am glad, given the circumstances the film went through, that we still had a smooth and successful release.
Watch Ae Dil Hai Mushkil - Full Song Video
Has ADHM been your toughest release so far?
Yes, I must say it was a very daunting task. The toughest two months prior to the release of any film I’ve made were the toughest. There’s so much talk about whether the industry is fragmented or not, but I got a lot love and support from so many members of the film fraternity who helped me ensure a smooth release.
I will always be grateful to them. I can’t imagine a tougher time in my life, but it has taught me a lot. It made me realise who my true friends and support system are and who aren’t. Or who I can depend on and who I can’t. So, every experience is a teacher.
You directed ADHM after a four-year gap. Would you take as long to direct another film?
Not at all. I am going to be on the sets next year around September or October for my next film. I don’t know what that film is going to be. I have a few ideas, but I assure that it will go on floors next year and will release in 2018. I will be on a set [to direct a film] every alternate year.
Shah Rukh Khan came on to your talk show in its first episode. What kind of equation you share with him?
As I have always said, Shah Rukh Khan is and will always be family. And I believe he also said [on my chat show], ‘I have to constantly prove my love for him (Karan)’.
We have family, love and friendship. We have respect and so much gratitude for each other and for where we have reached. I have always said that Shah Rukh and his family are beyond just family to me. Sometimes, I feel that I don’t have to prove that to anyone. Only he and I know the love that we have for each other.
You are not just a film-maker but also a writer, reality show judge, talk show host, producer, etc. What makes you the happiest?
Directing a film is my only passion. The rest are just hobbies; they are the results of my primary passion. And those hobbies pay me well (smiles). My primary passion is film-making.
That’s the aspect of my life that defines me, completes me and completely grounds me. Everything else – from judging a reality TV show to hosting a talk show – is just a result of me being a film-maker. I am the happiest, satisfied and at peace when I am behind the camera.
Rumours are that your next directorial venture will star Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
No, these are all rumours and conjectures. I don’t even know the script of my next film. How can I have a cast? I have no clue what I am making next. I am taking off in December for two weeks to go somewhere and centre my thoughts. I will come back with new, renewed vigour in the new year.
Rumours are also rife that you are remaking Sairat (Marathi film)with Jhanvi Kapoor (Sridevi’s daughter) in the lead?
I don’t want to make any announcement of any sort as of now. Sairat is a film I absolutely loved. I have great regard for the movie and its film-maker. The movie blew my mind. I don’t want to say anything more until the formal details are out.
Do you feel completely at ease as a TV chat show host?
By now, the chat show has become second nature to me. Sitting on that couch and asking questions to movie stars and celebs from the film industry come easily to me. I enjoy and relish that experience. And I love the respect and branding that the show has given me.