Stars don't get bigger than Shah Rukh: Karan Johar
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Mumbai, Jan 8Thrilled with the success of his "Kal Ho Naa Ho", producer Karan Johar now plans to make a commercial for Pepsi, possibly featuring his favourites - Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan.
Waxing eloquent about the two, Johar told IANS: "Stars don't get any bigger than Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachchan. Once a filmmaker accepts that, the ego never comes in the way. I'm happy with the success god has given me.
"And I'm happy god has given me Shah Rukh to attain that success. There are certain stars who glow much more brightly than others. That's why they're called superstars. I'm happy to have worked with two such stars -- Bachchan and Shah Rukh."
Not content to rest on his laurels, Johar is already planning his next film.
"'Kal Ho Naa Ho' is already behind me. I intend to produce films that I don't necessarily write or direct. We've Nikhil Advani who after 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' is making another, very different film for us. We've Soham Shah who's been working on his screenplay for a year. It will probably be a song-less thriller.
"Then there'll be my own directorial venture which I'll start in 2004 and release in 2005. I'm doing what I feel is instinctively right. I'm open to filmmaking talent from outside our production house. Anyone with a good screenplay is welcome."
Johar, who has just returned after a new year vacation with close friends Shah Rukh, Aditya Chopra, Hrithik Roshan and their families, feels the need to stretch himself as a movie maker.
"My next film will take me to another level in my career. Maybe I'll do a period film. I've to read extensively on the period I choose. But the emotions wouldn't really change. The values and the mindsets in another historical era would be interesting."
Johar counts Raj Kapoor and Yash Chopra as the two biggest influences in his career and is extremely vocal about his association with the latter.
"Yash Chopra's son Aditya and I are like brothers. Many years ago we decided we'll always be part of one another's work, and that no film of theirs and mine would be released within the same year. I always want Adi(tya) to be part of my creativity. I even did Shah Rukh's clothes in 'Mohabbatein'.
"Whenever I write a script he's the first person to hear it. It was Adi who made me realise what my calling in life was. The Chopras made me an assistant director. That's where I interacted with my favourite actors Shah Rukh and Kajol.
"The emotions I've invested in my time with the Chopras will always be precious to me. I love them to death and I never ever want anyone or anything to come between us. We'll always create a support system for each other's cinema. Like the Johars and the Chopras more people should learn to work in close association."
Expressing disappointment over the films during 2003, Karan says no film in the year inspired him like Ashutosh Gowariker's "Lagaan" and Farhan Akhtar's "Dil Chahta Hai" in 2001 and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Devdas" in 2003.
"But I'm glad 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' has done really well both in India and overseas and it also got critical acclaim. Initially we apprehended that some of the humour won't be such a huge success in non-metropolitan centres.
"Because it's set in New York we presumed the film's audience would be slightly city-centric. But it's so successful in the urban 'A' centres that it's made up for whatever dark patches the film may face at the box office. Overseas, it is astonishing. I'm glad our production house is reaping the benefits of the goodwill that my father (producer Yash Johar) generated over the years."