In the 19-odd years that Karan Johar has spent in the entertainment or glamour industry, he has played numerous roles. He started off as an actor before making a hit debut as a director with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in 1998. Since then, he has produced several films, tried fashion designing and modelling, and has even established himself as a successful TV chat show host.
But not all those who enter the industry manage to strike gold.
Over the years, Karan has seen many such struggling actors and other artistes buckle under the pressures of this industry.
The latest victim of the system has been the young Telugu actor Uday Kiran, who ended his life past midnight on January 5. In the light of his suicide, and of others before him, Karan offers some advice to those new to this industry. He also talks about balancing his TV career with his directorial commitments.
The entertainment industry is harsh, but it’s equally alluring. What advice do you have for newcomers?
If you are good at something and you are succeeding at it, please continue doing it. But I feel bad for people who linger when nothing is happening in the hope that something will happen soon. The glamour world is tough. I would say, give yourself a time frame, say two or three years, and then get out when the time is right, or wrong.
Don’t continue trying to do something that isn’t working. I would’ve left this industry in a heartbeat if things weren’t working out for me. I don’t think you should have to battle failure daily or witness disappointment and rejection for no reason. Just go out there and do something else.
Would the same suggestion apply to star kids too?
The fact that star kids are part of a nepotistic culture doesn’t mean that they have it easy. They have an expectation to live up to, which isn’t easy at all.
Coming back to what you’re working on, what are you directing next?
I will get into that right after February; although the shooting will start in December. I can’t say more than that right now.
Rumours claim you’re casting Salman Khan in your film. Is that true?
I would love to work with him, but right now, nothing is finalised.
You mentioned once that you want to adopt a baby. Is that still a possibility?
It’s definitely on my emotional agenda, but right now, I am consumed by the work I am doing. I am not sure I have the bandwidth. And raising a child is a tremendous responsibility. I’m not sure I am ready for it right now.
How do you manage back-to-back shows on TV — Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa (JDJ) , Koffee With Karan (KWK) and India’s Got Talent (IGT)?
I had kept November (2013) to February allotted for TV. I have shot the episodes for KWK and am currently shooting for IGT. Though it gets a bit stressful in terms of time, both the shows JDJ and IGT are exciting and give me new perspective. KWK is a stress-buster for me. It’s part of my persona, and I manage it at home.
Do you feel there has been an overdose of Karan on TV?
Yes, I think so. But post this season of IGT, I will give viewers a long break.
People were taken aback by Salman Khan’s claim of being a virgin on your show. Your take.
I hope people understood that it was a joke as Salman has a great sense of humour. We realised at that time that it would become news. But, I was amazed when during my travel around the New Year people told me that they were shocked to hear that.
Why does the current season of KWK look like a film-promotion platform?
Only a couple of them were lead pairs from films, but they worked out like that. It’s also easier for me to plan those episodes. But I got them way before the promotion of their films began. I did that in the last season as well.
What are your expectations from the new season of IGT?
There are many new acts. We have a day at a circus with trapeze acts, outdoor stunts and two new hosts Bharti Singh and Mantra.