In his first interview since hosting the mother of all Bollywood parties last week, Karan Johar explains why it meant such a great deal to him:
Q Everyone turns 40. Aamir, Shah Rukh, Salman … all have had birthdays but none made this noise. Why such a big hoopla about you turning 40?
A: (Laughs) Yeah, you are right. They all may have had celebrations but probably no one overreacted the way I did. But you see, everyone has some reason to have a big celebration in their life — getting married, the birth of a baby — I’ve not had any of those. So this was THE big party of my life. Also, the party was not just about me turning 40, it was about me finishing 15 years in this industry. I feel blessed.
Q But why was your party more like a red carpet awards function than a birthday bash?
A: It was a dream I’d always had. Manish (designer Manish Malhotra) was the director of this beautiful, grand film that my birthday party was. He styled everything, from the décor to the invites. Everyone at Dharma Productions worked overtime to make it that grand.
We chose a formal dress code because unlike Delhi, we don’t have seasons here in Mumbai and we hardly get to dress up. Many guests called me up to ask what should women wear in a ’black-tie’ dress code.
I said it’s not as if we are going to play fashion police if you are dressed casually but it’ll be nice to wear formal Indian or Western… and they all did.
Q Who, according to you was the best dressed man and woman at the bash?
A: Gauri (Khan) looked stunning in her red gown. Among men, I thought Aamir (Khan) looked the best in a Tom Ford bandhgala.
Q Almost the entire industry turned up, but did you miss anyone in particular who couldn’t make it?
A: I really wished Salman (Khan) had come. I’m exceptionally fond of him. But then he and Katrina were shooting for my best friend Kabir Khan’s film in Bangkok, so I couldn’t even have dragged them from there.
A: Yes, it is. I realised that it’s not going to help either Priyanka or me to keep carrying the emotional baggage of whatever happened recently, and all that was said or written about it. I thought to myself, I’m turning 40, I have to be the senior and mature one to extend the first step, which I did by inviting her. She honoured the invite by turning up, and all’s good now.
Q So how naughty was turning 40 for you? Were there any err … naughty surprises planned by friends?
A: (Laughs) Not at all. My party was total ‘un-adult-rated’ fun. C’mon, my mom was there till very late. We just had a blast dancing till the wee hours in the morning. But none of it was naughty!
Q And who danced the most?
A: Shah Rukh and Deepika Padukone. Not together, of course (laughs). They just wouldn’t get off the dance floor. Thankfully, Shah Rukh did not turn up late for this party, as he often does. I had warned him to turn up while I’m still 40!
Q What was the most memorable moment of the evening for you?
A: Funnily enough, it’s not any emotional moment. The décor was all red and black, and the mood lighting inside the hall was very dim.
So after being in near darkness all night, when I came out after the party ended, the bright sun glared into my eyes as it was 7 in the morning. I felt blinded for a moment, and realised we had danced all night. Won’t ever forget that moment.