He is multi-faceted, mature and takes criticism in his stride. But Karan Johar has one problem - he is unable to come to terms with ageing and wants to remain young forever.
Excerpts from the interview:
So how does it feel... your life is going great guns?
More like 'grey' guns, considering how much hair dye I've to use. I woke up on my birthday and dyed my hair, feeling very old. The dye was a rude reminder that I'm inching towards my 40s. I've a youth fixation. I want to be forever young. Now, unfortunately I'll have to be wannabe young. It's vanity unfair, I tell you.
Lately you've been doing a lot of other things besides making film.
It's all part of the growing-up process. Making films is my only real passion. Everything else that I do is derived from that passion. Hosting a talk show or endorsing a product is hobbies, just like other people play tennis or dance at a discotheque.
<b1>You're openly appreciative of your colleagues' works.
Yes, I can be good as a filmmaker only if I acknowledge brilliance in others. I never praise unless I mean it. Yes, in my early years I did shower empty praise on undeserving filmmakers. That's because I wanted to be Mr. Popular. Today, I don't feel I have to do that. But I think it's very important to recognise brilliance in others.
My father always said you've to be around people who are better than you. I feel there's certain negativity in the film fraternity. We all talk about how bad things are in the industry. But then some of us get upset when someone makes a brilliant film. That's wrong. We must celebrate films like Black, Satya, Rang De Basanti and Lage Raho...Munna Bhai. Personally, I felt rejuvenated after watching these films.
The one film that you wish you had made?
Lage Raho...Munna Bhai -- undoubtedly. It was poignant, entertaining and immensely humane. I loved the scripting of it. I miss good writers. We really lack writing talent in the film industry.
I believe you're planning to introduce new talents into the industry?
I am nurturing new talent. Tarun Mansukhani, Siddharth Malhotra are two young directors who are directing films for me. I'm constantly reading scripts and looking at young filmmakers who can cover genres that maybe I can't in my films. I've been sitting with the Rang De Basanti writer Renzil D'Silva. I'm developing a script with him. Then Shibani Bhatija, who wrote Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. She's writing the next film that I'm directing.
I'm producing an animation film. Everyone is conjecturing that it'll be an animation version of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. But I wouldn't want to comment. Don't want a good idea to get out.
What are you directing next?
It should start early next year. It's a story that needs to be told. I'm developing the script with Shibani Bhatija. It's a film with a conscience.
What TV plans for you?
I'm part of creative team at NDTV's entertainment channel. Samir Nair is efficiently at the helm of things. I'm enjoying the process. I enjoy doing television. With cinema you touch lives. With television you walk into lives. I've done it all, except act.
Your closing thoughts on turning 35 this year.
Well... I'd like to believe life begins in the 30s. Most of my childhood dreams have fallen into place. But I want to re-invent my old dreams and create new ones. My dreams are of a colossus proportion. I just want the film fraternity to be proud of the movies I make.