"You would be surprised if you actually get to know that how many people have actually seen Stepmom," says Karan animatedly even as he continues to receive congratulatory calls for We Are Family, "It is just about 2% or 3% of the audience which is stepping in to watch our film. In fact those select few who have already seen Stepmom are the ones belonging to that urban elite crowd. In any case, our second half is totally different. I am sure you know the reactions that are coming in for the extended song sequence 'Hamesha Forever' that plays in the climax."
Though critic reviews too have been more or less positive for the film, it is performances by Kajol and Kareena Kapoor as well as Arjun Rampal that are getting maximum appreciation. Feeling justified with his choice of actors here? "Absolutely," smiles Karan, "Kajol, Kareena and Arjun were all brilliant. They were the first choices for the film."
Time and again one hears actors being the 'first choice' for Karan's films. However, when it comes to the might of his production house, isn't Karan really being modest when he says that he saw an acceptance from his actors? Isn't it obvious that when Karan calls, actors come in, despite a new director on board? Case in point being Imran/Sonam for Puneet Malhotra (I Hate Luv Storys), Saif/Kareena for Rensil D'Silva (Kurbaan), Ranbir/Konkona for Ayan Mukherjee (Wake Up Sid), Abhishek/Priyanka/John for Tarun Mansukhani (Dostana), Kajol/Kareena/Arjun for Siddharth Malhotra (We Are Family) and Imran/Kareena for Shakun Batra (tentatively titled Short Term Shaadi).
"Well, I guess we all are fortunate in that aspect," laughs Karan, "On a serious note though, the fact remains that ours is a banner of repute. When a star steps in, he knows that we would position him as well as the film right. He is confident that he would earn a polished film for himself once on board."
While he respects the confidence that his actors show once they sign up for his production house, he is also cognizant of the fact that his directors are to be allowed complete freedom despite them making their debut with him.
"I make a film according to the vision of the film maker whom I hire," says Karan. "Each professional is different; my evolution as a filmmaker is different from those who work with me. A director comes with his own sensibility and this is reason why we have been able to release five diverse films in last 12 months. I just have to like a film's screenplay and once that happens, it is the director's show all the way. Never once do I dictate terms that a director has to do something in a particular way just so because there is any diktat from Dharma Productions for that."