Karan Johar: I always say, kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna...

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In February this year, with the birth of his twins — Roohi and Yash — Karan Johar became the newest parent in B-Town. 
And as the film-maker celebrates his birthday on Thursday (May 25), he readily admits that this birthday is a “very special” one. HT sits down with the film-maker to talk about his babies, career and films.
You have turned 45. What does it feel like?
I can’t believe I’m turning 45. I don’t feel it at all in my head or in my heart. And I’m definitely not behaving like a 45-year-old (laughs). Actually, it’s the first time in many years that I have thought, “Should I be wearing this? I’m now 45.” For the first time, I’m thinking that I should consider some of my wardrobe choices. But besides that, I can’t believe I have reached this number. I feel the same the way I did when I turned 30. For me, age is just a number, and I’m going to say that even if I don’t believe it, as it makes me feel good, temporarily (laughs).
Would you call yourself a birthday person?
I pretend not to [get excited], because after a certain age, it sounds really stupid (smiles). And it’s cool to say that you aren’t excited about your birthday and sound blasé and make everyone feel that you are superior and above it. But I love my birthday, opening and receiving [gifts], and especially, all the importance, attention and everything else. I have always been like that, at least since I was two. So it’s been 43 years of me being excited about it, but I put up a big act [of not being excited].
But this birthday will be special with your babies around…
Yes, it’s my first birthday with my babies, though they don’t know that. But they don’t know that they are making the day their papa turns 45 so special.
Has life changed completely ever since Roohi and Yash came into your life?
Of course. So much in life — schedules as well as routines — have changed completely. Emotions are all over the place. The happiness quotient is at its optimum. More than anything else, I feel that I have finally reached a certain point of satisfaction and contentment that we all strive for. I see a spring in my mother’s steps. Also, I sleep for seven hours now and feel really light as opposed to the stress of responsibilities that one generally feels. Now, I feel happy that I wake up to my children, and it’s a feeling that I can’t describe.
What made you believe that it’s the right time to have babies?
I feel you have to be completely ready — especially emotionally — for such a big decision in your life. I took the call when I felt I was fully prepared. One shouldn’t take such a step till they are ready.
It’s rumoured that your next directorial venture might star Ranbir Kapoor again (after Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)…
No, nothing like that is happening. This is all conjecture and absolutely untrue stories. I don’t even know what I’m making next. Right now, I’m giving it some thought. I’m dying to decide what I want to direct next, but a debate is on between many thoughts and ideas.
Is becoming a parent a big responsibility; possibly bigger than all of your blockbuster movies put together?
Absolutely, and I keep saying that they are my most ambitious productions (laughs). I have to make sure that I nurture them, love them, and I am accountable to them. I really want to be that kind of a parent because in my case, I have a dual responsibility. It’s like you get two for the price of one (smiles). My children will have the rare distinction of celebrating Mother’s Day as well as Father’s Day. I’m happy to have that responsibility since I’m ready for it.
You are known to be a workaholic, but after having babies in your life, have things become peaceful now?
I still rush. But, now, I’m rushing back only to my babies (laughs).
A lot of things that you do are followed by controversies. And, since it’s not easy being a single father, especially in India, were you, at any point, worried about how having babies might also lead to lot of negative talk?
I’m never worried about what people have to say; or being judged. I stopped worrying [about people] a while ago. My life is my journey and my decisions come from a very solid place in my heart. I never want to look around, hear around and listen to what people say on my left or right. I have a tunnel vision in my life and that’s what I care about. The emotional decision that I took, as far as the birth of my children is concerned, comes from a wonderful place in my mother’s and my heart. We knew that we would make wonderful parents to the two energies that we were bringing into the world; I don’t care about anything else. I always say, ‘kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna.’
Work-wise, 2017 started on a fantastic note for you with Badrinath Ki Dulhania and now Baahubali 2: The Conclusion…
Yes, it’s been a phenomenal start. We presented a small film, The Ghazi Attack, which was received well. Then, we produced Badrinath Ki Dulhania, and presented Baahubali 2. I feel Baahubali has woken up the industry and made people think differently about how to design and make movies.
Do you think Baahubali 2’s humongous success could be a game changer of sorts?
Absolutely, as it has also made us realise that if a product is made with that kind of passion, scale and vision –– and not designed just to be monetary projects –– it has a huge potential, regardless of all the talks about [falling] footfalls for Indian cinema. We all tend to look at our films as projects. Such thinking must change as if you want to make a film this way [like Baahubali], then passion has to be the first prerequisite. Everything else has to come second.
Your book, An Unsuitable Boy, got a fantastic reception. Were you expecting it?
I’m really happy and thrilled with the phenomenal response that the book has received everywhere. It’s so exciting to walk past airports lounges and see your book on the bestseller charts; and, most importantly, have people read it and get lots of feedback about it. It’s a memoir that I wrote and I’m extremely happy to share it with people. I’m so glad that it resonated with so many people across the country and even outside of it.