By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, Jan 10 (IANS) He makes films on relationships and now multifaceted filmmaker Karan Johar is ready to enter into a relationship in real life.
"I hate walking into an empty bedroom at night. There're large lonely moments. Fortunately, I've the best relationship possible with my mother. That makes up for every relationship I don't have. Of course, I'd love to be in a relationship. But it has to be one I completely believe in," Karan told IANS in an interview.
"I'm 35 and I'm not here for frivolous fun. My mom doesn't badger me for a daughter-in-law. I live so many lives as a filmmaker that I forget my own emptiness. I am too busy creating lives on screen to create a relationship for myself," he added.
He didn't have any release this year, but is all set to entertain his fans with his films in 2008 with an Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra and John Abraham starrer.
"Bobby Deol has a very special role in the film. This will be our only release in 2008. In 2009-2011, we hope to release at least three films every year."
Excerpts from an interview:
Q: What are the best and the worst that happened to you in 2007?
A: I've always said I am not a businessman at heart. In 2007, I realised I've to make Dharma Productions a banner to contend with. It was a year of personal ambitions for me. Even my little skirmishes with Ram Gopal Varma and Anurag Kashyap made me happy.
Q: What do you mean?
A: My life is my work. I'm happy when I've a problem with someone. It's a diversion. I'm so busy being affable, amiable, accessible. Every year I like to have one person bad-mouthing me. It entertains me. When I patched up with Anurag within seconds I was so disappointed. Can you please find someone to say evil and mean things about me in 2008?
Q: What about marriage?
A: Of course, I hate walking into an empty bedroom at night. There're large lonely moments. Fortunately, I've the best relationship possible with my mother. That makes up for every relationship I don't have. She's my best friend and a reason to look forward to the next day. Of course, I'd love to be in a relationship. But it has to be one I completely believe in. I'm 35 and I'm not here for frivolous fun. My mom doesn't badger me for a daughter-in-law. I live so many lives as a filmmaker that I forget my own emptiness. I am too busy creating lives on screen to create a relationship for myself.
Q: Was your year filled with celebrity interviews and shooting ad films?
A: I'd agree with that. In 2007, I did not direct any films, but shot many ads including the latest, Alfred Dunhill. I am their apparel brand ambassador. Then, there was ICI paint, which I shot with Kareena Kapoor, Bru the coffee, which I've just tied up. And Timond watches, too.
Q: Wow! That is quite a lot of you being visible.
A: I am sure somewhere ads enhance your brand value. People look at you for things other than core profession. You just have to balance it and make sure you don't burn yourself out. I'm cutting down on my chat shows in 2008. I'm now the official interviewer for "Dubai Lifestyle" where I interviewed Maria Sharapova recently. My journey from a director to a member of the media has been interesting. I like to be interviewed as much as I like to interview. Who knows, I could be the next newsreader?
Q: You started the cult of celebrity directors in Bollywood.
A: I apologise. It started with me walking into people's homes with my chat show "Koffee With Karan". Everything else was an offshoot of the show. Now I've a parallel existence, besides being a filmmaker, as a talk show host.
Q: Has "Koffee With Karan" enhanced your image as a filmmaker?
A: To even pretend that I've grown as a filmmaker because of "Koffee With Karan" would be stupid. I've always been a people's person. I love talking to people. And it's great fun when you're paid for your hobby.
Q: And now, you are an integral part of a new NDTV entertainment channel.
A: Yes, NDTV Imagine takes off in a couple of months. I'll be physically part of just one show "Say Shava Shava". Otherwise, the channel's creative head, Samir Nair, is a very capable man. I'll be there whenever he wants me to step in.
Q: Will the channel rope in stars through you?
A: Why just me? There are many credible people - Prannoy Roy and his team, and Samir Nair and his team. And then there's me. We definitely make for a multi-star cast. I think everyone associated with the channel has enough clout to get the biggest names from showbiz.
Q: Did you miss making a movie in 2007?
A: Of course! But I've been so much part of brainstorming, structuring and planning that I had no time to miss my true vocation, filmmaking. My new banner, Dharma Productions, will start making movies in 2008.
Tarun Mansukhani, our new blue-eyed boy at Dharma with a strong sense of loyalty, is directing our next production from March, which will be completed in July. He offers rock-solid support to our production house. But my biggest support is my chief executive officer, Apoorva Mehta, who is also my best friend. He handles the entire financial structuring of my company. I wouldn't know what to do without him.
Q: Some more details about the movie, which Tarun is directing for your new banner?
A: This film will star Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra and John Abraham. Bobby Deol has a very special role in the film. This will be our only release in 2008. In 2009-2011, we hope to release at least three films every year. The year 2009 will see the release of our first animation film "Coochie Coochie Hota Hai" and the film that I'll direct will begin in the end of 2008. It will be released in 2009.
Q: Do you miss a larger support system?
A: I've a great support system. They are mostly people who've been with us from my father's (producer Yash Johar) time. But I don't think a single day passes when I don't miss having him with me. I can never be the man, producer and leader that he was. I just wish I follow in his footsteps. For him generating goodwill was far more essential than making money. The biggest hit for him was a unit that said we want to work with you again.
Q: The year 2009 looks busy for you?
A: Yes. Siddharth Malhotra who worked with Sooraj Barjatya in "Vivah" and also assisted in my production "Kal Ho Naa Ho", and Renzel D'Silva, who wrote "Rang De Basanti", will also direct films for us.
Q: Your favourite films in 2007?
A: I was bowled over by "Chak De! India" and "Om Shanti Om". It has truly been the year of Shah Rukh Khan. I also liked Anurag Basu's "Life In A Metro". And I loved Mira Nair's "The Namesake". I felt a strong sense of catharsis watching it. I'll always be grateful to Mira Nair. I hugged her after seeing the film.