karan johar

Bollywood film director Karan Johar poses for photographs as he attends the Jio MAMI' 21st Mumbai Film Festival in Mumbai on Oct. 13, 2019. (Sujit Jaiswal/AFP via Getty Images)

MUMBAI — “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham” or “K3G,”as it is popularly called, is a cult-classic in Hindi cinema. Karan Johar, director of the film, recently gave a no-holds-barred look into the making of the film and what he really thought about the film, on Audible Suno’s show “Picture ke Peeche.”

Here are some of the wackiest things Karan had to say:

“I thought that I’m making the biggest film in Hindi cinema since “Mughal-E-Azam” until Aamir Khan’s “Lagaan” and Farhan  Akhtar’s “Dil Chahta Hai.” We don’t know why he missed out dozens of films made by so many filmmakers in-between 1960 and 2001!. The films he mentions were hardly of the scale of “MEA.”

(There is a back story here revealed by Javed Akhtar to this writer years ago. When “K3G” became a super-hit, many industry people chided the then-young Johar for making what they called a routine family drama when cinema had advanced, quoting examples of “Lagaan” (which did well only in Mumbai and overseas), “Dil Chahta Hai” (a hit only Mumbai and one more metro) and “Chandni Bar” as evolved cinema. Johar got a complex and his next three films lacked the Indian connect—“Kal Ho Naa Ho” (as writer) and “Kabi Alvida Naa Kehna” and “My Name Is Khan” (as writer-director).  It is another matter that all four of these films, led by the biggest blockbuster “Gadar—Ek Prem Kathat” are now taken as cult classics, and the only ones from that year to be counted that way!

“I made the same film as “Kuch Kuch Hota Hain,” that’s what “K3G” was!” he stated apologetically but inaccurately. “I took the storyline of “Kabhi Kabhie” and the family values of “Hum Aapke Hai Koun!...” and made this mush of a film. “K3G” is the single biggest slap in my face and my biggest reality check!” he erroneously says about his last directorial of six with a completely universal connect and a massive repeat value.

While extremely proud of how loved the film is, Johar says that he was shocked “into reality” when the film did badly in terms of reviews and awards. He says that he did not know what he was doing, including spending a crore and 10 lakh on the song “Suraj Hua Maddham” and making a film three hours long.  

Talking about Kareena Kapoor’s iconic character, he says, “Poo, OMG! You should go and check online. There are lines, memes and games on Poo, but at the time only Bebo and I loved her character.”  

Johar reveals that this most beloved character in the movie was a reflection of him. He says “I am Poo, that’s who I am, I wrote all the lines, picked the clothes, everything!” He recalled going to Milan to pick out Kareena’s clothes, which were inspired by Alicia Silverstone’s character in “Clueless.” He also said that Kareena was stuck inside Poo’s character for the next six years because she loved it so much.

However, the fact remains that “K3G” was among the highest-grossing films of the year 2001, had brilliant music and is a more polished if routine product compared even to “Kabhi Kabhie” whose pattern of the second “Kabhie” spelt with an “e” was followed. And it is not a mere super-hit but a timeless classic savored even now that can be endlessly watched as a whole or in bits.

After this, despite producing blockbusters like “Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani,” “Simmba” and “Good Newwz,” Johar as a director has yet to reconnect to that level. Maybe he should just be proud of the second of his best works as a director and rate Hindi cinema audiences higher than the “intellectuals” who deride his cinematic milestone.

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