Karan Johar opens up on Student Of The Year, which sounds different from his star-studded formula films

Unlike his earlier star-studded ventures, Karan Johar’s fifth directorial venture, Student Of The Year, has newcomers — Alia Bhatt (daughter of Mahesh Bhatt), Varun Dhawan (son of David Dhawan) and Siddharth Malhotra as its lead actors. He says claims he is as nervous as a parent introducing his kids. Excerpts from an interview with the director-producer.

Student Of The Year is the first Dharma Production to present new talent. Was it necessary to cast newcomers?

Making this film on this scale and with three new talent is something I felt I needed to do. I thought it was about time we provided a platform with new talent. It has been an emotional journey for all of us in the company. The film feels different from any other film I have directed, as earlier I worked with movie stars who don’t need any hand-holding. With these three newcomers, it was a journey nurturing and parenting them. I feel like a nervous parent; I have got my children in the garden for the first time.

Was pampering difficult for you since you aren’t a father?

You have to be an only child to know what pampering is all about. And I have the privilege of being the only child. Being indulged and have every demand met is what I have experienced from my mother and father. It is very easy to double up as a parent, if you have had that kind of upbringing.

The film is based on the school life of the lead actors. Were you inspired by anyone’s school life?

This is a school in my head. The world of glamour within it is something that is me, something that runs in my core. I am not going to be dishonest about it and say there is a school like this in the country. It is an aspirational school, which is possibly the best way to word it.

Is there any similarity to your student life and the one shown in the film?

(Laughs) No. I can assure you I never had such a student life. Cinema is all about creation and your aspirations as a human being. If you are not good looking, you want to show good-looking people, if you are not thin, you want to show them walk out of the beach looking sexy and hot. If you haven’t been to a hot and happening school, you want to show just that. Cinema is all about escapism, and I am an escapist.

Did you ever work towards getting the title ‘The Student of the Year’?

No. I used to be average at studies and dance. My student life was far from the sports I have shown in the promos. I was happy in my own life, and never aimed to get that title.

Haven’t you taken a risk directing this youthful film without stars?

I have never looked at it as a risk. I have no idea about the commercial outcome of this film. It is more about how you present a film. This is a film about me and how I look at things.

Do you expect business for this film to be in the Rs. 100-crore league?

I don’t know why we are tagging films like that. There is too much pressure with this tag. It is great to achieve it; but in the end a film is here for longevity and it is not that every Rs. 100-crore film will breathe forever. When we think of the gems of cinema, we don’t categorise them in terms of their box-office collections.

A lot has been said about which of your star friends will do a cameo in this film.

Only Kajol is doing a cameo. And it comes in a really interesting place.

Bollywood News Service