By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, Sep 26 (IANS) There's more than super-success at work here. Both Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor are 30-plus, fiery, feisty, famous and eminently single. And although both are off-camera celebrities, they get mobbed big-time in public places.
Once upon a time, both of them were overweight, bratty, spoilt kids from very filmy families who were fated to take their somewhat-shaky family fortunes to unimaginable heights.
Ekta was the over-possessive daughter of Jeetendra, the superstar of the 1970s. As a child she once chased one of his father's heroines with a slipper because she found the leading lady misleading her precious father by batting her eyelids too hard.Karan was so much younger than his father that he grew up thinking producer Yash Johar was actually his grandfather.
As hopeless kids Ekta and Karan would run into each other at birthday parties, both blissfully fat and grinning from year to year into impending nothingness.
Laughs Karan: "I don't think our parents ever thought we could make much of our lives. Ekta, I believe, was seen more as the eternal couch potato than someone who'd one day be weaning millions to become couch potatoes. I think she wanted to be a journalist at one point. So did I. At one point I even strayed into acting as a child."
Karan did the children's serial "Indradhanush" on national television and later even played Shah Rukh's nerdy sidekick in "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge".
Karan chuckles hard. "Both Ekta and I were very maladjusted and very overweight kids. Today we've both turned out rather well. Our parents must be proud of us. I'm as proud of her as she is of me. We bond as people who evolved almost simultaneously from wastrels to people who could make a difference."
"Whom can we marry?" both of them lament today. Ekta feels her power and fortune block all bachelors from honest courtship. Karan hasn't found his dream girl.
"I don't think I ever will find the right partner. If finally neither Ekta nor I find someone else, we'll marry each other," said Karan.
"At least my mother will be very happy. Not only because I'll finally get married. But also because she'll get to know the plot line of her favourite serials beforehand," he added.
"I love Ekta! She's an absolute darling. I truly admire her tenacity and her ability to do the work she believes in despite the snobbish opposition," Karan said.
There is one more factor that binds the two talkative tycoons together. It's their mutual affinity to numerologist Sunita Menon.
Laughs Karan: "Ekta and I have clawed Sunita's hands out of her body. Both of us suffer from an incurable fear of flying. And we've often flown with Sunita. Her hands bear the tell-tale signs of our flying phobia."
Ekta reciprocates all of Karan's compliments. "I'd love to marry Karan. When is he proposing? Whenever we do meet we hug like long-lost pals. Karan is one of my closest friends from the film industry. I don't have friends in Bollywood. I prefer to stick to my television crowd.
"I remember I had gone to see Karan's 'Kal Ho Naa Ho' with an unbiased Friday-evening audience. And I saw how the audiences cried and clapped. I called him up and said, 'You've a winner on hand'.
"Even with his earlier 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham' they came down on him like they do on my serials. I told him not to worry, K3G will rock. And it did. I feel in some ways we both are victims of an elitist attitude. He makes the biggest hits with the biggest stars. And yet, like my serials, Karan's films somewhere get cheated in the critical evaluations."
She added: "Karan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and in a different way Sanjay Gupta are my favourite filmmakers. But Karan is the only filmmaker I chat up with and I attend his parties. I rarely attend parties. But I remember at this one party an actress was being very rude to me.
"I was getting progressively uncomfortable. I can never forget how Karam came up to me and just put his arms around me. I realized that evening how important it is to make guests feel comfortable at your parties. That evening Karan and I bonded for life."
Ekta mentions the Sunita Menon bonding.
"She's the only one who can advise me and Karan fearlessly. We both are vulnerable people who are easy to win and exploit. Sunita has been a source of strength."
Ekta is also very fond of Karan's mother. "Aunty's inputs to my soaps are invaluable. Both Karan and his mom have always been very supportive."