His film My Name is Khan has been in the line of fire for various reasons, with the title creating ripples, but filmmaker Karan Johar says that there could have been no name better suited to his “ground breaking” pet project.
The much hyped film which marks the re-union of Bollywood’s most beloved onscreen couple, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, has been dogged by controversy since the beginning, be it the actor’s U.S. airport detention or the Shiv Sena threat closer home.
“I don’t over calculate any strategy. While deciding upon the title, I just went by my gut and decided on something which brings to fore the spirit of the film and the story that I wanted to tell. Everything was decided in true earnest. The right title of the film was and stays on as ‘My Name Is Khan’,” Mr. Johar told PTI.
The film sees Mr. Khan play a man suffering from Asperger Syndrome, who is mistaken for a terrorist post 9/11 and undertakes a long journey across the US to prove his innocence to the love of his life, played by Ms. Kajol.
The 37-year-old director is confident that with the film, he explores a new side of his own self as a film maker. “I felt that as a film maker, if I could express my thoughts on this subject in a cinematic narrative, that would be the best,” said Mr. Johar adding that he, Mr. Khan and Ms. Kajol all got out of their comfort zones for the film.
“The fact is that all of us are in a very happy safety zone. In a mainstream film, we can get a song which is entertaining, a scene that is funny and emotions that are easily lapped up by millions. Such prerequisites really make us very comfortable. But then now is the time to break new ground,” said Mr. Johar.
When dealing with an issue like terrorism, why did Mr. Johar choose to depict his central protagonist as someone who is suffering from Asperger Syndrome? The answer is simple, says he.
“It was important for him not to be neurotypical because otherwise, he wouldn’t have embarked on a mission like this. Rizwan Khan is aspirational and knows only good and bad people. He sees things in black and white. Anyone else in his place would have had so many different point of views but his mission is very simple.
“The beauty of his mission though is that even he doesn’t realise the potential of the change that he manages to bring in with the world rooting for him,” says Mr. Johar.
The film faced a threat from Shiv Sena after the party took objection to Mr. Khan’s comments supporting the inclusion of Pakistani players in IPL and Shiv Sainiks continued to protest against it’s planned release on February 12.