The press conference took place at the Frankfurt Book Fair on october 7th. Karan Johar is one of the most successful producers and director in Bollywood and is well knoewn in Germany too. He came to Germany for the german premiere of his latest film "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna".
Q: What do you think is the worldwide success of Indian Cinema?
Karan Johar: At first, it’s wonderful to be here. This is something that I’ve been asked many times before, why Bollywood films specifically work on the european market. They are like rollercoster. You go up and come down , you keep moving with the film, it forces you to cry, it forces you to love. So it’s like being on a journey and where you go through every emotion. And you come outside emotionally closed but also emotional satisfied. And I think the european audience or international audiences all over the world watch Indian Cinema or DVDs to get this sense of satisfaction. I think Bollywood satisfies the inner core of more western audiences. Therein lies the indian success.
Q: Most of your films where shot outside India in England or the USA. Are you inclined to travel back to India by doing a return in the next film after all?
Karan Johar: Well, I don’t think of geography ever when I’m writing a film. All characters come from somewhere and have their roots which I tried to established. But yes I like to do a film which is completely based in India like “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” was.
Q: Let’s talk about “KANK”. I think for Indians it is quit unusual that there are two couples, falling in love with other ones and break up. I think normally they would stay together. But in the western cinema it is quit usual. Now the film is released in the western, so what do you think can the film constitute for the western audience?
Karan Johar: What happens in the west happens in India as well. Yes in India many people were shocked. All I wanted to do with this film was to think before you will do such an important step like marriage. We get married for many reasons, for financial abilities, for social pleasure... but I think the only reason to get married is if you truly feel that you met your life partner and love and there should not be other reasons. Compromises will catch up with you life and destroy many relationships later. So “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna” is a film which shows you the truth, which doesn’t be shown in our daily life. That’s why many people were shocked by watching this film. So my film is the beginning for many other films to break barriers.
Q: Many other indian producers adopted great novels and made film. Do you plan also to do this as here on the book fair you can find many great novels to make a film of it?
Karan Johar: I would love to adopt a novel and in the recent past I would like to do, adopting it and writing it. That would be very challenging for me. I would like to do that, such a film like “Namesake” by Mira Nair. I read the book and I saw the film and I said ‘Oh god it’s so beautiful’.
Q: Why it’s so difficult for young girls and boys outside India to get a casting in Mumbai for Bollywood films?
Karan Johar: You have to based yourself mainly in Mumbai if you want any kind of working in films. You can modeling or something like that. And when you’re good enough you will be noticed and meet your way into film.
Q: Were you affected by knowing about the great boom of Bollywood here in Germany after the screening of “Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham”?
Karan Johar: Yes I was informed. It happened three years ago. The number of mails on my homepage increased for the last two years. We have nearly one hundred mails every day. It makes us feel very proud that the non asian audience somewhere in the world is loving our cinema just like we do. It’s a great feeling.
Q: When you’re talking about releases: Here in Germany we have the problem that nearly every release is very late.
Karan Johar: Well I think that’s the decision of the distributor. We release all over the world on one day, but probably it doesn’t suit everywhere, maybe there are holidays in Europe. So now the release is on the 26th of october.
Q: Why it is so rarely that the characters of your movies have a favorite dog or a favorite cat. Or you could make movies about a horse. So why don’t you do it? Isn’t it a part of your culture?
Karan Johar: You know, we have such large families, we live with our grandparents. So we have enough of activity. And everybody lives in flats that it would be very difficult to bring a horse. But we do have dogs and cats. And to work with animals in India is very difficult. Everybody is very sensitive to animals, so one should be. But in our culture we have more children than animals in our home.
Q: What are your projects for the future and what about your show “Koffee with Karan”. Will there be any DVDs?
Karan Johar: Yes “Koffee with Karan” will be on DVD in november or december. The channel has to decide the date of the release. But what I can say is, that I begin my second season in december. About new projects I have to think about when I’m back home. Probably I adopt a novel.
Q: When will you shoot your first film in Germany?
Karan Johar: It really depends on the narrative and the story it have in it. If I come to Germany the film has to be located in Germany. So If I like the story and it can use in that country we will do it. I think there would be a strong possibility.
BNA-Germany: You a so young and already you have archived so much. If you look ahead in 30 years time, where would you want to be, where do you expect yourself in 30 years?
Karan Johar: Thank you for calling me young. I pray that I’ll still making movies, that I’ll still telling stories, I’m still emotional moving people all over the world. That’s all I do, all I know...It’s the only passion I have. All I do is think about the movies which I want to make and the stories I want to tell. If I don’t make movies I always feel handicapped and I never want to be handicapped. So 30 years later, if you ask me what would be my dream and what would be my passion it would be to make movies constantly.
BNA-Germany: If I look to the development of your career from your first film “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” until now. Will you push the envelope even further, maybe you might be the first Bollywood director who will start a complete new genre?
Karan Johar: You know I don’t want to do things just fake to doing them. I never made “KANK” thinking that I’m pushing the envelope. I believe in the film and the told story I wanted to tell. I don’t want to be bold for the sake of being the same. I make films, and I always make films of relationships. So I will always make films I believe in. It will always depend on my state of minds.
Q: It’s obviously that you prefer the same actors and the same crew in your films. So it’s like doing a film with the family. Is this something personal or is it common in the indian film industry?
Karan Johar: The film industry is like a family. Abhishek and me are childhood friends. Amitabh Bachchan is like a father to me. I was growing up with the Yash Chopra family. So it’s like a one large family. There are sections and divisions within that family, there are competitions, there is jealousy, but we are very close. We make films about families with that family. I worked with the same people for the last ten years and I enjoy that. What has worked very well in the past you will not change.
Q: You are costume designer, actor, director and producer, script writer and you host a own show. Do you think you are typical for the film industry?
Karan Johar: No. But I think they won’t be surprised if suddenly I would be a 100-Meter-Runner for the Olympic Games.... As I was young I had many many inspirations and things I wanted to do; being a journalist, being a film critical, a script writer Then my mother who was quit blind I think told me ‘You’re so beautiful, you’re so good looking that you should be an actor’ That was the point I realized that all mothers are blind. But I’m happy behind the camera and I’m fortunate to have the platform to do all that I ever dreamed to doing in one lifetime. I love hosting my talkshow, I’m absolutely passionate in directing. Acting is something I’m not so good in doing that. I’m sorry. So I don’t think of do that. But I’m so glad to have the opportunity to do all that and I enjoy my life. Life is beautiful.
Q: What’s the reason why it took you four years for producing a new film?
Karan Johar: Actually I produced other film. But I have becoming a director after a long while. After “Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham” took a while to understand the process of production and to understand the whole organization which I never get until my father’s death two years ago. So it took me a while to understand everything.
Q: In “KANK” you work together with the five big stars of Bollywood. Was it difficult? I think big stars have big needs?
Karan Johar: Well, I must tell you that the bigger the stars the less the problems. They are the most wonderful people to work with actually. And they are actually very easy to deal with. I have a great rapport for all of them as they are members of my family. I always felt like we had have a picnic. I had no problems working with any of them.
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