Karan Johar is sick of song sequences with gorgeous dancers, expensive sets and clothes which is rather contradictory to his body of work – Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghum and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. “Those were real emotions in an unreal ambience. I directed the song ‘Rock and Roll Soniye’ and I was so bored all 5 days of it. I needed to challenge myself.”
And that’s how My Name is Khan came about. It is one of the biggest releases of 2010. The director and his two stars Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol are going all around the world promoting their newest love story. Just fresh after ringing the NASDAQ bell in New York (“Scary, neither Shah Rukh nor I know much about numbers” says Kajol) and now heading to Berlin, they make a London stopover.
The press conference was packed with many female members discussing the most dignified way to get Shah Rukh’s autograph. No one seem too surprised that it was delayed by an hour. But it was worth the wait as all three addressed spoke on many interesting tidbits of the movie.
Karan on the creation of MNIK:
It started three years ago after Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. I had to step out my comfort zone. I was dealing with Asperger’s syndrome. It took a whole amount of research – 2 years in writing. I started February 2007 and releasing the movie in February 2010. I don’t feel like I have given birth to a child, rather a family.
Karan on MNIK story:
When I started writing it, I realised I am not bringing anything new to the love story which was the most important part of the film. The lines of love between Shah Rukh and Kajol were not coming that easily because I had already done it. Hence I let Shibani step in. It is her vision.
Shah Rukh and Kajol on accepting MNIK:
Shah Rukh: I owe a lot of my career and life to Karan. I am quite incomplete as an actor and a star without Kajol in a Karan Johar movie. I have never sat down and thought about it this is my next step as an actor. An actors job is not to do what he wishes to do, his job is to do what you wish to do to the best of his capability.
Kajol: It was very very easy. Karan Johar is directing it ,Shah Rukh is doing it. This combination doesn’t come together very often.
Karan Johar on choosing a disorder:
I haven’t won an award for 12 years. I’ve been told if you deal with a disorder, you definitely win an award. I like to walk on red carpet with something in my hand. I was bored of what I was doing. I need to challenge myself address an issue I feel strongly about on celluloid. That is really the reason why i chose to make MNIK. today inspite of not knowing the outcome I feel like a better filmmaker, a stronger person.
Karan Johar on choosing Asperger’s syndrome:
It was very essential he was not like you and me. It’s a man not in our world. He had to do something completely illogical because he would just take things said to him very seriously, so when he is told to meet the American president, he will. The woman he loves tells him to do so in fit of anger. You and me would not be able to even meet a minister. But he just sets off. His love goes beyond logic. Today’s love is too cynical. There are prenups for crying out loud
Shah Rukh on playing Rizwan Khan who has Asperger’s:
Two aspects for playing someone with Asperger’s – one, there are very stringent parameters within which you need to perform. No singing, dancing. Specially the love story because people who have this disorder don’t feel to a matter of extent. Second, I don’t think any cinema should end up not being right about disease/disorder. I read curious incident of dog in midnight, books, DVDs, spent time with people with the disorder, took a bit of cinematic liberty and mixed all together.
Kajol on Shah Rukh playing Asperger’s:
I had a vague idea what Shah Rukh would be like as Rizwan on first day but he blew me away. He added so much. In every film Shah Rukh Khan plays Shah Rukh Khan. For the first time I saw Rizwan Khan, not Shah Rukh Khan.
Karan on working with Fox:
Our association with Fox goes back three years, we were in conversation. Shah Rukh and I decided to produce it. With our association, we have expanded our base beyond our domestic parameters. They have international expertise and they bring a lot to the table. We have given our domestic know-how.
The questions never stopped coming. The host had to stop proceedings due to the lack of time. But the most wonderful part of the evening more than the answers, was the interaction between the three – poking fun at each other and interacting with an ease, which begun in 1998 with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Twelve years on, whether they create magic again on the screen is left to be seen, but they surely do continue creating it off-screen.