Karan Johar loves to dangle that proverbial carrot in front of the media, without really scandalising the crème de la crème of Bollywood by spilling all their dirty little secrets.
But in a particularly chatty mood for his trip to Dubai to promote his latest, “Student of the Year”, Johar didn’t hold back in name dropping or sharing nuggets on his famous friends, including Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Salman Khan.
Johar, who has never directed a film without Shah Rukh playing the leading man, said it was a “brave but risky venture for Dharma Productions to make a film with newcomers; but nothing ventured, nothing gained right.
“However, Shah Rukh is of course, coproducing the film but I could never call myself an equal to him.”
Johar explained: “He is emotionally superior and an elder brother to me. Plus he is such a brand power, how could I even think about competing with him as an equal.”
Launching in his current film are newcomers, Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan who Johar was all praises for.
However, when quizzed who would he have cast in the lead 15 years ago, Johar didn’t hesitate to say: “Shah Rukh, Kajol and Rani”, his lead actors in his debut film, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.”
He added: “But wait, the “Student..” has two male leads, so definitely Salman would be it. He and Shah Rukh were the reigning superstars back then.”
The director/producer shared that the duo in question also made it a point to drop into the film’s shooting.
Newcomer Malhotra was quick to share that the duo had even dropped in for the shoot, of course, separately though.
“It was my first day facing the cameras and I looked up to see Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif standing there, watching me act. I was a nervous wreck,” he said.
Bhatt was quick to add: “I had Shah Rukh there on the sets with me on my first day. And I fell down dramatically; not because of him though.”
Johar was also quick to share anecdotes about his other famous friend, Kareena, whose character Poo from “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham” was being mentioned as the inspiration for Alia’s on-screen avatar of Shanaya Singhania.
But Johar was quick to deny this.
“There is only one Poo and that is Kareena Kapoor,” he said. “I remember her father [Randhir Kapoor] rang me after he saw the film to say his daughter had played a comedian. Back then, Kareena and I thought we were the only two who laughed at the Poo jokes. But today, everyone gets it and sees the humour.
“Bebo [Kareena’s pet name] may have left Poo behind, but Poo hasn’t left her. She is still that diva today.”
Johar recalled the first time he saw her at a party, saying: “She was with her sister Karisma, who was a star at the time and Kareena’s first film “Refuge” hadn’t even been made.
“But there she was, pouting as a diva, throwing attitude like she had 10 blockbusters in her wake. She was a star even then.”