Filmmaker Karan Johar, who pioneered the art of crafting bubblegum romances, treads the unconventional path with his forthcoming Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (KANK) that releases on August 11.
The star-studded film, which features Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bhachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji, deals with extramarital affairs, a banned area in Johar's films so far.
In his previous films - Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (KKHH) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (K3G) - the heroes and heroines were too idealistic to be true. But with KANK, Johar crosses the traditional threshold and enters a more realistic world to look at modern-day relationships.
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna is all set for release on August 11
Johar feels that in today's world, adultery is more rampant than ever. The film is therefore an endeavour to examine extramarital affairs with an open mind.
"It is a human drama with glam and gloss intact but I have tried to keep it real. It is something which most couples would identify with," said Johar in an interview.
Basically, KANK is about meeting the right people at a wrong time.
In the film Shah Rukh and Rani are married to two different people and pretend to be happy despite the dissatisfaction brewing below the surface. One fine day they bump into each other and realise they are made for each other.
Shah Rukh describes KANK as a bold film and adds that it is like new wine in an old bottle.
He says Johar, who created Rahul - an ideal son, husband, brother and friend - with KKHH and K3G, kills that idealistic image with KANK.
"Rahul is sarcastic, cynical, a failure and not a nice man. All those women, children, daughters, wives and mothers who idolised him as son or husband will change their opinion," Shah Rukh told CineBlitz.
But he feels that in spite of all the irregular features, KANK will hit the right chord with audiences.
Though Johar, who has co-scripted the film with Shibani Bathija, the screenwriter of the Kajol and Aamir Khan starrer Fanaa, claims he did a lot of emotional research before penning the KANK story, rumour mills beg to differ.
They say the film is partially inspired by Hollywood flick Closer and Yash Chopra's Silsila.
"I party a lot and have seen many relationships upfront. To be more specific, I saw After Sunrise in London, in which ex-lovers meet and it seems they might end up having an affair. I heard conversations of real life couples. I read a self-help book called Fighting For Your Marriage.
"I met a marriage counsellor in Delhi. So, I have done plenty of emotional research. Of course, a story, however real, has to be told in a fictional and entertaining way," said Johar.
If making this film was arduous work for Johar, it was taxing for his favourite star Shah Rukh to play the character because he couldn't identify with it.
"I was embarrassed doing some scenes of the film. I am not a prude but I found it odd that I sleep with someone else's wife in the film. I felt shy doing them (the scenes) and I blushed while saying certain dialogues," said Shah Rukh.
Apart from changing the theme of the film, Johar had to restructure the casting as well. Originally, he wanted to rope in Shah Rukh, Kajol, Ajay Devgan and Rani Mukerji for the lead roles.
And when Kajol, who is Karan's lucky mascot and plays a guest role in KANK, and her hubby turned down the offer, Rani got into her shoes and Preity replaced Rani.
So, in the movie, Rani will be seen in the role meant for Kajol and Preity will be seen playing the part meant for Rani.
Apart from these irregular features, the film has retained some old conventions. It continues the trend of the four-word title with the first one starting with 'K'.
Breathtaking locations are one of the main highlights of a Johar film and KANK, shot extensively in New York, New Jersey, New Haven, Philadelphia and East Hartford, Connecticut, too, has picturesque locales.
The major portion of the film has been shot in the US in a single schedule and the cost of the film is above Rs 50 million.
Mixed responses are floating in from different segments of the trade circle. Some are saying the film is going to be a hit while others feel that it won't work.
In a few weeks, the verdict will be out. Watch this space.