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‘I hardly make family films’

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chat Karan Johar says he hardly makes family films and all that he puts out are stories of a society that lives in denial

The world thinks he makes ‘family films’. He seems fatigued with the tagline ‘It’s all about loving your family’.

“I hardly make family films. In fact, my only one could be Kuch Kuch Hota Hai . Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham (K3G), Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and My Name Is Khan were not about a picture-perfect family. I come from a three-unit family, and I didn’t set out to make any family films. Calling K3G a family film almost sounds like a picnic in denial. I believe in our society we have a wonderful way of living in denial. I just put it out there in my films,” says director-producer Karan Johar, sitting in his tony office in Mumbai.

Karan has had a successful year with Agneepath , Ek Main Aur Ek Tu and Student Of The Year , and his office is working full swing as he has an action-packed 2013 too with at least five films at hand — Ayan Mukherji’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Diwani , Sonam Nair’s Gippi , an adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s 2 States , and Karan Malhotra and Punit Malhotra’s next films.

Besides character outlines for his forthcoming films put up on white boards all over the room, there are also montages of the TV series Packed To The Rafters . He is endorsing the popular Australian series, which Star World is bringing to India. The series tells the story of Julie and Dave Rafter and their three children. When their last child decides to leave home, the couple wants to live a life on their own terms. But their three children, realising that staying with their family is more secure, get back. The Rafters family then goes through its set of upheavals and joys. (Packed To The Rafters will run Monday to Friday at 9 p.m.)

It’s all in the family

Karan says that he agreed to endorse the show after watching back-to-back episodes and realising how deeply the show was connected to Indian society. “In India, we live with our parents. The Rafters face this as a sudden ‘problem’. Honestly, I am a big propagator of moving out and establishing independent identities. I think it is healthy. It’s the time to be self-absorbed, and couples should find time for themselves. At 40, I stay with my mom, so I am hardly the one to give such advice. But everyone should get married and move out, else we tend to replicate each others’ mistakes. The letting go bit is a very important thing in life and though it is almost hara-kiri to say so in the Indian context, couples, even at an older age, should give time to each other,” he says.

Asked about the difference between today’s film audience vis-à-vis those for television, he says, “Films get a more discerning audience because you need to make an effort to get to the theatres, spend an amount and sit glued to a place. TV is easier, you can flip channels.”

Asked about his spicy talk show Koffee With Karan that quite contrasts his ‘family guy’ image, he says with a glint in his eye, “That’s the Gemini in me at work! The show is about fun, frivolousness and irreverence. The only way to delve into the human mind is with humour. If the syntax and the tonality of my show had been serious, the viewer would know it’s a mere façade.” He is working on the fourth season of Koffee With Karan . But no TV programming for him, he says. “I don’t understand the medium. The only one who has been able to handle both films and television well is Ekta Kapoor, and hats off to her!”

H.U.

I come from a three-unit family, and I didn’t set out

to make any family films

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