He's back on Telly... on a new channel. Not sipping coffee but still hoping to tune into success. After a year away from the movies, he plans to roll out four productions in 2008. Midway through Say Shava Shava's 11-day run, Karan Johar takes time off for a tete-e-tete with Roshmila Bhattacharya
What makes Say Shava Shava different from the other reality shows on air?
The participants are not trained singers. Many of them have never sung out side their bathrooms before. So it's a really brave effort on their part and something I can appreciate, since I can't sing to save my life either.
You're not a singer - how can you judge others then?
I react as a filmmaker. After 10 years in the industry and recording over 100 songs, I know when a singer has hit a wrong note or the vibe is not right.
All reality shows have been riddled with controversies.
That's because whether it's a politician, a house captain or the winner of a reality show, the eventual choice is rarely unanimous. We often think with our heart rather than our head, and end up voting for a vibe instead of the talent. I feel the shows are fair but since the emotional quotient is high, talk of bias inevitably crops up.
Who are you betting on?
It's early days yet. I have my favourites but it wouldn't be fair to go on record about them.
How does NDTV Imagine plan to deal with the three Rs- reach, revenue and the remote?
NDTV Imagine is Sameer Nair's baby and he knows the pulse of the audience. We're not trying anything new or path-breaking to begin with, just tweaking set norms to bring in the ‘real' element. Yes, competition is keen.. some channels will survive, some won't. (Smiles) I'm confident NDTV Imagine will stay in the race. We'll grab eyeballs as we go along.
<b1>Has your equation with STAR changed after Sameer Nair quit?
No way, a large chunk of Koffee with Karan was filmed after Sameer left.
Will KBC and Koffee.. move to NDTV Imagine?
That's not for me to say. I can't speak for KBC but Koffee.. is still a STAR property .
TV shows, anchoring and ads.. hasn't filmmaking taken a backseat?
I deliberately took a year off to structure my production house. Dharma Productions will be back in 2008 with four projects. Tarun Mansukhani is directing Kuchi Kuchi Hota Hai (the animated version of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai) and also a regular feature film toplining Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham and Priyanka Chopra.
Siddharth Malhotra's film should go on the floors early next year. Renzil D'Silva, who penned the screenplay for Rang de Basanti, will be writing and directing a film that will bring together Saif (Ali Khan) and Kareena (Kapoor). Then there's my film, My Name is Khan which Shibani Bhatija is writing. It should start around August-September. We're finalising one more film that should roll by the year-end.
Will My Name is Khan mark a comeback for Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol?
I still have to narrate the script to them. I hope and pray every day that they agree. I so love watching them together in the same frame that I may just start crying if it happens again.
Aditya Chopra's film with Shah Rukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan is supposed to roll in August. Won't that lead to a clash of dates?
That's pure conjecture. Adi has no such plans that I know of.
Will Nikhil Advani and you collaborate on another project?
Kal Ho Naa Ho was Nikhil's first film but I learnt a lot from him in terms of technique. After that we went our own ways but there's no negativity I know what he's capable of and I'm sure we'll see that brilliance soon.
What about Soham Shah?
You've sorted out your differences with Anurag Kashyap too?
Yes, he's writing Renzil's film. I've never let ego come in the way of work. There are still some issues which I think Anurag will deal with in his own way .
Everyone's entitled to their opinion. Criticism hurts, makes me angry, but in the long run I can take it because I know I'm not perfect. I've yet to make a defining, path-breaking film.
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna was a break from the usual Karan Johar film.
It's my best movie so far. I don't know of anyone else who would dare make such a bold film on a budget of Rs. 50 crore. It was one of the most grey roles that Shah Rukh's played so far, and even though he may have had issues with the character, he never let his opinions come in the way of his performance. Shah Rukh is not just one of the most professional actors in the country but by far the finest too. They call him the king and I truly believe he is one.
After KANK, will you return to familiar, safer territory?
I'm just 35 years old and have grown with every film. Today I'm bored of lavish sets, large item numbers and romantic situations. They made me who I am but they no longer excite me.
What I do next may not necessarily be a trendsetter but it would be an unusual film for me.
2007 was a wonderful year.. Om Shanti Om reinvented the Manmohan Desai formula, Chak De! India was brilliantly directed and written, Taare Zameen Par was all heart.. I wish to be a part of that kind of cinema.
I'm told that after Taare.. you want to parent a child?
There's a strong urge to do that. Since I'm not in a relationship, life gets lonely. I have lots of terrific friends but at the end of the day it's just my mom and me.
Thank God for my work that fills up my days, helps me sleep well at night and leaves me with little time to brood. But the fact remains that there is a big, empty space in my life.. (Smiles wryly) Now Farah (Khan) is going to pull me up again for my lonely boy lines.
Whose shoes would you like to be in?
If not my own then Shah Rukh Khan's. He has a great collection of shoes, is married to a special woman, has a beautiful family and a lovely home.
The one woman you'd want to sip coffee with if marooned on an island?
Kareena Kapoor, the most entertaining woman I know.
Getting which couple on Koffee with Karan Season 3 would be a coup?
Abhishek and Aishwarya Bachchan, they're the country's sweethearts.
Kajol or Kareena?
Hard to choose.. Kajol's done more work with me while Kareena is family.
SRK in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Devdas or Chak De! India?
Chak De! India.
If you were asked to play James Bond..
I'd have to send the makers for therapy.
A film you'd want to remake?
KANK.. it was over-opulent, over-hyped and 25 minutes too long. I could make a more intimate film about two couples.
If you could travel back to the '60s which film would you want to direct?
Kagaz ke Phool.. then jump to the '70s and Kabhi Kabhi.