Their last outing together was a damp squib, but Karan Johar hasn't lost his faith in Shah Rukh Khan. He has once again teamed up with him and Kajol for My Name Is Khan and says the superstar is not only good at emoting but is capable of directing a film too.
Excerpts from the interview:
My Name Is Khan has no lip-sync songs?
No, none. The songs are all in the background. In LA, we had fans coming to us to ask if there was any track like Suraj hua madham in My Name Is Khan. This time there's no "It's the time to disco" and "Where's the party tonight". But there's guts, soul and heart in the music. I've a huge comfort zone with my composers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. That's the only way good work can be done.
Apparently, Javed Akhtar refused to share lyrical credits with Niranjan Iyer?
Javed-saab is a father figure and our rapport goes way beyond work. Niranjan has written the dialogues and two songs in "My Name Is Khan". Javed-saab was gracious enough to let Nirajan write the rest of the songs. And when I insisted, Javed-saab had to write one song that only he could and he very kindly agreed. He's also written the lyrics of my production Wake Up, Sid.
How was it directing Shah Rukh and Kajol again?
I am blessed to have them in my film. I don't know what it is about them. It's just magic. They build an inexplicable energy on screen. They instinctively understand each other's acting. When I direct a scene with Shah Rukh and Kajol, I know I'm doing my best work. These two characters in My Name Is Khan had to be Shah Rukh and Kajol.
You almost didn't get Kajol?
She had to read the script. That was it. She said yes. I wouldn't want any actor to say yes to my film just because he or she is a friend. I want my actors to really do the role. I've great friendships, but I don't want any actor to compromise on his or her basic tenets on cinema.
Was Kajol weighed down on location by her motherly duties?
Not at all. I've worked with Kajol in various stages of her life. I'm working with her again eight years later. When we worked the last time, she didn't have a daughter. So, of course, she's a different person. Today, I find her calmer more focused on her work than ever before. Kajol manages to be fantastic wife-mother and actress.
I find Shah Rukh and Kajol alike in their attitude to work and family. They're both so much into their spouses and kids. When the shot is over, they rush to their respective family. On location in LA between shots they spoke to each other about their respective families.
How was Shah Rukh?
Time and again I'm blown away by Shah Rukh. How can he think of so many things about his character when he has so much on his plate? He has done monumental research on his autistic character. I was zapped by how much he knew on the subject. And he brought all the knowledge on the sets.
He had written reams of notes on how he wanted to interpret his character. And to him it was no big deal. He's ready to direct a film any time. He will be outstanding at it. His understanding of human nature and emotions can never be matched by me.