Tag Archives: johar

Karan Johar and Kangana Ranaut agree on the definition of nepotism, as this old interview shows

When Kangana Ranaut called him “the flag bearer of nepotism” in the Hindi film industry, Karan Johar didn’t take it very kindly.

Alluding to the now infamous Koffee With Karan show where those now famous words were uttered , Karan told film critic Anupama Chopra during a (later) Q and A session at a London university:

“When she says ‘flag-bearer of nepotism’, I just want to say her, I am glad she knows what it all means. I don’t think she has understood the entire meaning of the term.”

Guilty as charged: Karan Johar, Kangana Ranaut, and their now infamour nepotism row has got a fresh boost

Apart from not knowing the meaning of nepotism, Karan also accused Kangana of playing the “woman card, and the victim card”.

His remarks earned him and Kangana several brownie points, especially when she responded with .

But an old interview clip of Karan’s — with, once again, Anupama Chopra — from 2014 shows that whether or not Kangana understands the meaning of “nepotism”, Karan does understand it. And what’s more, he believes that he’s been guilty of it as well.

While we take a moment to appreciate that, here’s a look at those relevant portions from his 2014 interview:

“[Referring to casting Alia Bhatt in Student of The Year] I picked up a chubby girl… I saw something… And I can’t lie. Maybe the fact that she is Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter also excited me. Right now, I’d like to say no, but maybe back then, it was a really strong sub-layer [sic]. And that is nepotism and we’re guilty. I’m guilty.

Would I have cast Varun Dhawan if he was not David Dhawan’s son? Because he is David Dhawan’s son, he was on my sets as an AD, and that’s why I spent enough time with him and got to know that he can be a movie star.

There are too many factors in this country that contribute to movie stardom, true talent is the least of them.”

[Anupama and Karan’s fellow guests on the show, Deepika Padukone and Tisca Chopra say at this point: “That’s so sad.” Karan then continues:]

“It is truly tragic.

Would I have been a filmmaker? I’m a producer’s son. I had no experience. I was an assistant on one film. My father had the platform to give me and that’s why I’m a filmmaker. And so if I go through any struggle in my career, I deserve it.”

From 2014, when he had a perfectly lucid understanding of what comprises nepotism to 2017, when he did an about-turn on the subject, Karan’s beliefs sure have undergone quite the sea-change.

It’s not just Akshay Kumar, but the female characters in the satirical dark comedy drama, Jolly LLB 2, were also applauded.

It’s not just Akshay Kumar, but the female characters in the satirical dark comedy drama, Jolly LLB 2, were also applauded.

One such character was the wonderfully-nuanced cameo by SayaniGupta, who played Hina Siddiqui, a young Muslim woman driven to despair.  It’s a small but pivotal and deeply impactful role, so much so that Sayani was lauded for her performance by some of the veterans from the industry. Twitterati in large numbers also poured their love for her.

Gupta has so far been doing a balancing act between commercial and art cinema. She has received critical acclaim for her offbeat and distinctive roles in films like her debut Margarita With A Straw (played the role of Kalki’s love interest)and most recently Fan (as Shah Rukh Khan’s secretary), however, Sayani doesn’t take compliments or criticism seriously.

“I have never sat down to ponder over what others have to say because ultimately you know what you have done. Piyush Mishra (theatre and film actor, NSD alumni) called me few days back when I was shooting for Jagga Jasoos, and said while referring to Jolly LLB 2, ‘I didn’t know you acted so well.’  Lot of people are complimenting me on social media as well. Somebody told me that they went to watch the film thrice because of me. There are lot of people who said I made them feel for the part and I made them cry,” says Sayani.

sayani

She continues, “My performance really moved my mother, and she is far too detached about the industry and not at all excited about the film world or what I am doing. She is not in favour of me acting and it was quite a struggle to convince her when I went to FTII (Film and Television Institute of India). Little by little, she is coming to terms with it but she would have rather seen me as an IAS officer or in a regular job.”

“We are from middle class family and they didn’t want their only daughter to get into films. Obviously there are certain perceptions about the film industry. My close friends never say nice things, they are always critiquing my work, but finally they felt that I was brilliant in Jolly LLB 2.”

Strangely enough, Sayani has been getting offers for horror movies for last few years and she, too, fails to understand the reason for it. “Maybe they think I am a Bengali, I have big eyes…” she laughs.

While Sayani so far has rejected two offers post Jolly LLB 2 (as  she is “choosy”, “instinctive”, “and not ready for it”), she is certainly excited about her first international project, The Hungry, which is an Indo-British production starring Naseeruddin Shah and Tisca Chopra. The film, for which the actors were very selectively chosen, is directed by debutante filmmaker Bornila Chatterjee, who is an alumnus from New York’s Tisch School of the Arts. The Hungry is an adaptation of William Shakespeare tragedy Titus Androcinus, which is believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593.

“This year marks the 400th death anniversary of Shakespeare. His stories could seem a tad hyper-real for this era, but this film is a realistic take. The script won at a collaborative cine-lab,” says Sayani, further adding, “The film has a bunch of deadly actors. We shot for it in Delhi and Agra. The ambience on set was stimulating and since we all got along so well, it turned out to be a great shoot.”

Recently, Sayani earned an honourable mention for the Best Actress award for her short film, Leeches, at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles  (IFFLA). In just two years of her career, she’s also bagged one of the lead roles opposite Naseeruddin Shah with The Hungry. The actress considers it her privilege to act alongside ‘Naseer’, who was her teacher at the FTII.

“Naseer was very excited about his role after decades. He plays my father. He has been my teacher and lot of my understanding about acting and the craft is because of him. It was almost like reassurance of sorts when he would come to take our class. I adore him as a human being. He is fun to be around. He has always taught us how acting is all about reacting. He is a keen listener, which adds to the performance,” she says, adding:

“There are two of the coolest men I have worked with – Shah Rukh Khan and Naseeruddin Shah. They are sensitive, they are aware, they don’t take themselves too seriously. They are normal dudes.”

So did Sayani take any advice from the two “coolest” men?

“Some of the things Naseer told me is: ‘Learn your lines till you bump into a furniture. Know your lines backwards. Study the script well. Be relaxed and don’t take things too seriously. Make it fun and light.’ On the other hand, there’s much to learn just by the way Shah Rukh carries himself. He is the most technically sound actor, I feel. His understanding, the cleanliness with which he does everything, his craft is solid. He doesn’t show it. He is persistently hardworking and also the humility. He doesn’t take his stardom seriously,” she reveals.

Two of Sayani’s “friends” from the industry are the erstwhile directors – Rajkumar Hirani and Vishal Bhardwaj. She may not have offers from them yet but she certainly takes their advice. “I don’t talk work with them. Hirani often tells me that I should give people time after they have seen my film. I did audition for a part in Rangoon but Vishal told me that it won’t be good enough for me. I would never ask them to cast me because that could hamper our relationship. Whenever they want to cast me, they will.”

Sayani is currently shooting for Ranbir Kapoor-Katrina Kaif- starrer Jagga Jasoos which has been in the making for a long time. “When I signed the film I was playing the only narrator in the film. I had a separate track of my own. But since there is no script — Dada (Director Anurag Basu) doesn’t work with scripts, he writes as he goes along — my role has changed. I will know what my part is only after I see the film. Also, it is a very difficult film when it comes to format. It is musical, it’s a children’s film, and it is not a normal narrative. I play a 14-year-old girl and that is all I know (laughs),” she says.

Karan Johar is a soft target: India is actually a sad tale of an unequal democracy

Filmmaker Karan Johar must be a very confused man these days.

In a country where he enjoys the same rights as others, how can outfits, political and otherwise, of small consequence hold his business interests to ransom with such ease? How on earth would he know that India’s relations with Pakistan would nosedive a year later and make decisions accordingly now?

He can make movies, provide employment to a lot of people, entertain a huge audience, make money and make richer everyone down the value chain, but how is he supposed to handle it when theatre owners decide not to screen his movie on a whim or under pressure?

He is a soft target. Like so many others of his ilk and the creative community. He is an influential, even powerful, person in the film industry. But it is soft power he wields, not the real power – of muscle and ability to carry out threats – that counts, and is grudgingly respected in the country.

He cannot vandalise theatres, unleash a few hundred men to tear down posters or stage rallies and issue warning to artistes. He can direct a movie sending a subtle message to a world getting paranoid over terror and Islamophobic, but he cannot terrorise people. He would like to mind his work.

Fawad_social

While minding his work, he would expect a few constants. Respite from hassles not connected to his work is one of them. He would like his business interests protected too. If he is threatened in any way, he would expect the police to be of help. If there’s a dispute of some other kind he would like to knock the doors of the judiciary. These are the avenues open to him, like to any other Indian. If there’s no help from these two, he is helpless. He can only be at the mercy of extra-constitutional powers.

That’s what separates people like Karan Johar and say, someone like Raj Thackeray, chief of Maharashtra Navirman Sena, and makes him so unequal in the democracy ours. Leaders of outfits with local or limited interest command people who can carry out dire threats, make trade unions stop work and owners of theatres drop the idea of screening a movie.

They only need an issue with emotional content. It could be anything – patriotism, nationalism and any matter relating to religion, region and culture.

Thus we have organisations attacking pubs, killing rationalists, raiding libraries, threatening writers, harassing women in short skirts, destroying art work in exhibitions, branding people anti-national, snooping on food in hotels and what not. The list of targets can be unending.

Since intimidation is the accepted language of conversation among these people, polite dialogue or conversation is out of question. Backed as they are by political powers, the law looks the other way when they are in action. They virtually go scot-free every time, encouraged thus to carry out their next offensive without much worry.

Where does that leave Karan Johar or by extension us? Johar’s problem is he could be targeted at multiple points, right from the stage of shooting to where his movie would be screened. People at different points can be ‘managed’in different ways and he can hardly do anything about it.

Others are more fortunate that way. Still that does not take away the helplessness we are exposed to. What is more worrisome is earlier these attacks or threats used to be irregular; the frequency of the activities of such groups over the last couple of years has made it a trend. There’s more violence and tendency to coerce in the air.

Can we be assured of protection from these people? When the ruling establishment go indifferent and other political parties play the game of opportunism it is virtually impossible. It is one of the existential crises we face now. Wielders of rough, crude power are overwhelming those commanding soft power. It’s a mockery of the idea of all Indians being equal.

Ajay Devgn on clash with Karan Johar: ‘Don’t waste my time thinking about anybody else’s film’

This has been the season of clashes.

It all started last year in December with Bajirao Mastani and Dilwale clashing, which was followed by rumours of a big clash between Raees and Sultan. However, we are guessing Shah Rukh Khan decided to play it safe after Bajirao Mastani did better box office business, and Sultan had a solo release.

The clash between Mohenjo Daro and Rustom is still underway, with Rustom emerging as a winner .

ajayd140810

However, one of the biggest clashes of this year has to been between Karan Johar’s directorial venture Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Ajay Devgn’s directorial venture Shivaay, both of which are releasing on Diwali this year.

While both Johar and Devgn have not spoken about the clash till now, Ajay has finally addressed the elephant in the room, in this DNA interview. Not known to mince his words, Devgn has been very straightforward about his stance.

“I don’t waste my time thinking about anybody else’s film. I want to concentrate on my film because, eventually, it’s the product that speaks. Why break my concentration? I’m only concerned about what I’m making,” said Ajay Devgn upon being asked if he is “prepared” for the clash with Karan Johar’s film.

He further said that when they announced the release date for Shivaay, nobody else was releasing a film at the time, and that it’s their [Dharma Productions] prerogative if they want to cash in on a good day. Devgn further informed that when he reached out to Fox Star India (who are co-producing Ae Dil Hai Mushkil) they refused to budge on the release.

This is especially a delicate clash because Devgn’s wife and actress Kajol, and Karan Johar have been thick since even before they started their careers. There have been reports of a fall out between the two since the clash.

Both these films, Shivaay and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil are very crucial to Ajay Devgn and Karan Johar respectively. This is Ajay Devgn’s second film as a director after 2008’s U Me Aur Hum and his last film was DrishyamShivaay has taken close to two years to script and make and therefore its stakes are very high.

Karan Johar, on the hand, directed his last film (Student of the Year) in 2012, and has been producing films since then. His lead actor in the film is Ranbir Kapoor, whose last few films have not been successful. Anushka Sharma is, for all practical purposes, the most “bankable” star in his film.

This must be something that plagues Johar since he was the one who conveniently “dropped” Imran Khan from his favourites list after he stopped delivering hits.

Given this background on the film, is it strange that Johar is making no sounds about his film. There are no hashtags, no first looks, no songs, not even Instagram posts about it. Just radio silence. Should we be expecting an announcement of a shift in release soon?