By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna releases tomorrow.
On the eve of its debut at the marquee, we cornered Karan Johar to give us some of the good stuff that happened while making the film. Here goes!
I got KANK's story idea in London after seeing the film Before Sunset. It's about relationships and a couple that meets after 10 years, both having married other people. After the film got over, I went to get some food.
While I was eating at Cafe Uno in Covent Gardens, I heard a couple talking at the next table. Their conversation was so interesting that it completely pulled me in. They were married and were breaking up, but it was so amicable.
The man was telling the lady that if she didn't feel passion for him, then it was best to part ways and move on. It was such a beautiful break-up - so human. There are so many such relationships, and that triggered off my thought process.
The film is about the relationship between Dev (Shah Rukh) and his wife Rhea (Preity Zinta), Samarjeet Singh (Amitabh Bachchan), Rishi (Abhishek Bachchan) and Maya (Rani Mukerji). Once I got the story and script in place, the cast fell in line too.
Shah Rukh has to be in every film of mine. He's a brilliant actor and a joy to have on the sets. He takes charge and makes everyone feel secure. For Sam - who has character, dignity and poise - only someone like Mr Bachchan could do justice to the role.
For Rishi, I needed a child who matures into a man due to circumstances. Again, Abhishek fit that role perfectly. Rani, with her eyes and emotional capabilities, is apt for Maya, while Preity, with her sense of style and vulnerability, fit into Rhea's character with perfection. I couldn't have got a better cast.
Pati, patni aur woe
People ask me if I have ever handled such a bold theme before - marriages and break-ups. To me, the theme of KANK is not bold. I think of it as the emotional saga of people trapped in circumstances. I have tried to handle it sensitively.
KANK is about the colour gray - it's a film with grey characters in a grey world. I have never dealt with grey characters before. The exception is Mr Bachchan - his is a very colourful and flamboyant character.
Voice of KANK
My favourite dialogue from KANK is the one by Shah Rukh where he says that the fundamental rule of all marriages is intense love and nothing else. If there is a compromise or any other reason for marrying, then the marriage is doomed. It's the most important line in the film.
Shah Rukh is the voice of the film and says many radical things about love, marriage and relationships. He is my biggest support system, and holds the film together. His presence in my life and my cinema is very important to me. Today, he has emerged beyond professional and personal boundaries for me. For my mom and me, Shah Rukh is family.
When we were children, Abhishek and I would have a blast at birthday parties. The party continues even now on the sets. He's great fun and plays pranks and harasses everyone but we all love him still.
Rani is the best
Rani is the finest actress of our generation. Her performance in Black is a landmark performance. I feel like a proud parent when I watch her acting today. She started her journey with me. I feel very protective towards her. Her eyes are the most expressive I have seen.
Preity is a wonderful actress and very restrained in KANK. I told her that I don't want a girl-next-door and she gave me a woman-next-door - confident, righteous and moralistic. She has pulled off an amazing performance.
I missed my father (Yash Johar) immensely during the making of KANK. Every time there was a crisis or a happy moment, I thought of him. It's the first time I have done something so big on my own. Dad's words of wisdom and sense of management have helped me tide over every crisis. I always felt he was watching over us. Every time I fell, he would help me to get up.
Coming of age
Karan has matured with age. I can feel a sense of evolution and calmness in me. I have stopped wanting applause and appreciation from people. I am sure the film will generate that on its own, without my help. I am in a phase of tranquility today.
All the negative rumours didn't affect KANK. Everyone had a blast while shooting the film. On my sets, you will always find casualness, camaraderie and comfort.
Wah wah time
I have already got my biggest compliment for KANK - from Shah Rukh's children Aryan and Suhana. Aryan called me to say, "Karan, I really liked the film." They only saw the first half as they had to go to school, but what they say they loved it. Anything else no longer matters.