Mumbai, July 28 -- Karan Johar has just signed Salman Khan for his ambitious next. And even as the film-maker and the actor team up after a gap of 16 years (Salman had an extended cameo in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai; 1998), buzz is that all is not well between Karan and his long-time friend and first choice for any film - Shah Rukh Khan. But Karan rubbishes these rumours and insists that he and SRK are still friends. Here, he also talks about working with Salman, and blocking big festive weekends.
Is it true that you aren't going to be working with Shah Rukh any longer?
It's simply ridiculous. SRK is a humongous star, and has been a part of my company's journey more than any other actor. I have tremendous respect, regard and applause (sic) in my heart for Shah Rukh, for the actor, the human being and the person he is. Shah Rukh and I would love to come together in a special film. And I am sure it will happen very soon.
Have you been in touch with him?
Yes, all the time. We are always connected, and I am deeply connected to his home and family any way. Some relationships are beyond work and my relationship with him will always be like that. I know that in crisis - be it emotional, personal or professional - he is one of the people I will always turn to, and I am sure he will also do the same.
Signing Salman has come as a surprise for everyone...
We are really thrilled and happy to work with Salman. As everyone knows, he was a part of my first film - for which I will always be grateful. Also he and his family are very close to ours.
Why did it take you so many years to work with Salman again?
I think working with him had had to be a special film that completely warranted his amazing celluloid presence. Sometimes, it's nice to come together on the right film.
You have blocked two big weekend - Diwali and Christmas (perceived to be SRK and Aamir's respective bastions) in 2016. Was it just a coincidence?
No, it was a structured, planned strategy. You always plan your releases in the correct time. And both the films - with the kind of scale they have inherently - need to come in the big season time.