KANK is Karan's finest work: Amitabh Bachchan ...

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By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai, Aug 6 (IANS) After the first full screening of "Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna" (KANK), the anxious and nervous Karan Johar had an unexpected surprise - he received a bouquet and a letter from none other than Amitabh Bachchan.

The letter, as beautifully, lucidly and crisply worded as only Bachchan knows how to, occupies a pride of place in Karan's office.

"Yes, after seeing the film I did send a bouquet and a letter to Karan.... and not just to Karan but also to Shah Rukh (Khan) and Abhishek Bachchan. Why not? Their work is exemplary," Bachchan told IANS.

"I think KANK is Karan's finest work. A difficult and very mature subject - certainly so for Indian audiences - handled and put together with the dexterity of a master. Proving once and for all, that behind Karan's trendy designer clothes and stubble, there lurks a balanced, sensitive and an extremely intelligent maker.

"One that has not compromised with any aspect of commercial Indian escapist cinema and yet succeeded in leaving something to think about as you drive home from the theatre."

Says the overwhelmed director: "I was very moved by Amit uncle's gesture. I've always treasured his praise. When Amit uncle says something complimentary you know you're being complimented by one of the highest authorities on Indian cinema.

"Shah Rukh, who in a way launched me, and Aditya Chopra, who has taught me filmmaking, all have a high opinion of KANK. I was an assistant to Adi and his opinion matters a lot. I remain his assistant at heart. For me he's like the ISI stamp (of the Bureau of Indian Standards)."

Karan is certainly enthused by the response he got from his cast and crew that evening. "The feedback was very encouraging. Of course since it was a cast-and-crew screening everyone wanted to love the film. It was a minor hurdle, and I think I crossed it."

Then Karan gets his anxiety pangs again. "Not that the private screening means anything in the larger interest. And yes, like all directors I'd say I can change a few things in KANK, but I can't. Anyway it's done now. The verdict will be out on Aug 11.

"I was fascinated by this subject. My writer Shibani Bathija's narrative work is exceptional. Earlier she wrote a wonderful story in 'Fanaa'. I think 'Fanaa' was beautifully directed by Kunal Kohli. I hope KANK carries forward the roster of hits this year."