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Come and meet hilarious KARAN JOHAR
FSJ November, 2012

Come and meet hilarious karan johar

“AN EXCITED FAN CAME UP TO ME AT EGYPT AIRPORT AND SAID, ‘I’M VERY GLAD TO MEET YOU MR RAJKUMAR SANTOSHI!’”

He has cream cracker biscuits in a jar on his table, there’s an autographed photograph of Meryl Streep up on the wall that reads: ‘For Karan Johar, with very best wishes’ and there’s Ayan Mukherji, director of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, on the line wanting Big Brother Karan Johar to sort out a production crisis. 

He is revelling in the role of Master Of The Year to all his little protégés.

When Karan turned 40 this year, the Cine Artistes’ Association arranged the personalised autograph from Meryl Streep for her biggest fan ever


“I’m a humungous fan. Never ever would I have taken anyone’s autograph but Meryl Streep’s. There’s Meryl Streep and then there is the rest of the community of actors”

Why is Meryl Streep’s autograph so special?

“I’m a humungous fan of hers,” says Karan unabashedly. “Never ever would I have taken anyone’s autograph but Meryl Streep’s.” Just the fact that she “wrote my name” made his day.

“I am her hugest fan, I adore her, worship her, there’s no actor in this world like her. There’s Meryl Streep and then there is the rest of the community of actors.”

He himself has given his autograph loads of times. But remember the 1st time, Karan?

“Yes, it was after the release of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I was in London when a guy came up to me with a paper and pen. I was not trained to think that anybody would want my autograph. So I looked at him and smiled. He said, can you sign? And I asked, why? He said, I want your autograph. I looked at him disbelievingly, it took me 30 seconds and then I remember writing a long note. It gets shorter and shorter over the years but when there is a one-off person or when there are kids especially, I like to still personalise it.”

“An old, tottering man in his 90s in a wheelchair got very angry and said, ‘You are a stupid boy! You don’t know your father ‘I S Johar’ was in the movies?’”

Any stand-out incident with fans?

“Yes, this happened about five years after KKHH. Again I was in London, in a tizzy to catch a flight. I was rushing with lots of shopping bags to my hotel to pack and leave when I noticed this Indian couple looking at me quite hysterically. By then I was quite used to getting recognised, I’ve been one of those directors with some, err, face value.  I was really stressed for time but I never like to say ‘no’. I always feel, each person you upset is one ticket less that you’ve sold.

So I said to the couple, ‘Yeah, yeah, very quickly please, I’m in a rush.’ And they quickly gave me their camera and posed. I was shocked because I thought they wanted my photograph but they were just looking for a sweet-looking Indian face to take their picture and they didn’t know me at all!

“These strange things happen to me frequently with fans. Once I was at Egypt airport, we’d just shot ‘Suraj hua madham’ for K3G. I was standing with my dark glasses in the middle of the terminal waiting for my flight to take off when an excited man came up and said, ’You are...you are...’  I nodded, ‘yes’. And he said, ‘I’m very glad to meet you Mr Rajkumar Santoshi!’

“These mad things really happen to me. I’ve even been called Yash Chopra. Once, an old, tottering man in his 90s in a wheelchair stopped me and said, ‘Your father and I used to say naughty-naughty things to each other.’ I wondered, oh, oh, where’s this going to now? He was saying, ‘Your father was a very funny man and he was so good in the movies.’  I said to him, my dad made movies, he wasn’t in them. He got very angry and said, ‘You are a stupid boy! You don’t know your father IS Johar was in the movies?’ It was hysterical!”

– Bharathi



Outsider SIDHARTH MALHOTRA, the dude from Delhi who got lucky


“KARAN HAD SPOKEN TO RANBIR AND IMRAN KHAN BUT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A BIG FILM AND HE DIDN’T WANT TO MAKE SOTY ON THAT GRAND SCALE!”


He is tall, handsome but not spoilt. His costar Alia describes him as the silent one but he clears that out with enthusiastic, grounded banter

“I WOULD’VE NEVER LANDED IN MUMBAI WITH MY BORIYA BISTAR SAYING, MUJHE HERO BANNA HAI!”

Dad in the merchant navy, grandfather in the army. And acting was always Sid’s plan?

“Initially I wanted to be in the merchant navy just like my father but that option went out when I didn’t take Science. Then I planned to do an MBA in Finance, I never thought I would come to Mumbai and become an actor, especially in a Karan Johar film, Dharma Productions and everything else. I never even dreamt of it actually. I auditioned for an Anubhav Sinha film and that’s when my whole Bollywood keeda started and I landed in Mumbai. I would’ve never landed with my boriya bistar saying, mujhe hero banna hai. I would’ve never done that.”

As AD to Karan on My Name Is Khan did he dream of becoming a Dharma Production hero?

“No, never yaar, I think Karan also didn’t imagine that he was ever going to make a film without Shah Rukh Khan. I think he had spoken to Ranbir and Imran Khan initially but that would have been a big film and he didn’t want to make it on that grand scale.

The only two people he could think of, who were easily accessible, were me and Varun. So he took the easy way out because it was a two-hero story. We were just lucky to be at the right time at the right place. But we auditioned, of course.”

Who wouldn’t want to know a few more quick facts on this hunk?
His height:  6’1”
Weight: 80 kgs
Date of birth: Jan 16, 1985

“BEBO IS SPUNKY, SHE IS ATTRACTIVE AND SHE IS PROBABLY THE ONLY ONE WHO WAS ALWAYS OPEN ABOUT HER RELATIONSHIPS. IT’S A PITY SHE IS MARRIED!”

First autograph: “Oh, it was actually in Dehradun, when we were shooting. Oddly and interestingly, I was getting back from my shoot in FRI (Forest Research Institute) to our vans when a girl came up very excitedly and said, ‘Oh sign, sign something.’ I thought, she’s asking aise hi because she knows that we just did some shooting, she wouldn’t even know who I was. So I said, okay, I will sign if you know my name. And she said, you are Sidharth Malhotra and you are from Delhi. I was quite impressed! I was like dude, she knows, so sweet. So I actually took a picture with her and I signed my name for her. That was the first autograph I signed. She was I think from Nepal and she had googled me.”

Who would he like to date from the film industry?

“Lots of them, I think lots of women are interesting yaar. I met Bebo recently. She is spunky, she is attractive and she is probably the only one who was always open about her relationships. It’s a pity she is married. Hypothetically, no offence to Saif!”

What next after SOTY? A two-film contract with Ekta Kapoor?
“That’s not true. There is a project with Dharma which is in waiting, but nothing is confirmed. We have not really decided what to do next.”



ALIA, the tender Bhatt who’s just 19


“I’D LIKE TO DATE RANBIR KAPOOR!”

Extremely fair, with warm eyes and lopsided smile that remind us of her step-sister Pooja Bhatt, she looks like a very young, frail teenager. But once Alia starts talking, her maturity peeks through her innocence

“I NEEDED TO LOSE WEIGHT. I WAS THREE TIMES MY CURRENT SIZE. IN THREE MONTHS I LOST 16 KGS”

Ok, it wasn’t her pedigree but an audition that impressed Karan

“But I needed to lose weight. I was three times my current size.  Yeah, so in three months I lost 16 kgs and we did a photo shoot with the boys who were already in the film. Karan saw the frame and said, ‘This is going be my cast.’” And thus walked Mahesh Bhatt’s third daughter into the biggest break she could’ve ever hoped for in the Hindi film industry!

With so many in-house actors and directors, she had many to run to for advice

“Pooja (Bhatt) is my step-sister and Shaheen is my older, real sister. Pooja said the same thing that my father told me. Basically, not to get lost in the crowd and to be your own person. But it’s Shaheen who has actually been the strongest pillar for me in this whole procedure. My mother was always there wanting to know what’s happening, she is the reason why I am in one piece today. But if there is anybody I need to talk to or share something with, it will be my sister Shaheen. I really couldn’t have done this without her.”

SOTY IS NOT ALIA BHATT’S DEBUT – SHE WAS A CHILD ARTISTE IN SANGHARSH WITH PREITY ZINTA IN THE LEAD!

But SOTY is not Alia Bhatt’s debut.
Coz she was a child artiste in Sangharsh with Preity Zinta in the lead!

Her height: 5’5”

Weight: 53 kgs (now)

Date of birth: March 15, 1993



First autograph: “In Dehradun, to a girl called Sukham. I actually remember her name!”

Alia practised her autograph: Coz she always wanted to be an actress. But what she practised is, “Absolutely contrary to what I do coz now you don’t get time. Here you just scribble something. But I have practised, yeah. My autograph comes with a smiley face and a star.”

Best birthday gift ever got: “My best friend gave me a Louis Vuitton bag. That was the best birthday gift I have ever received.”

Who she’d like to date from the film industry: “Ranbir. In reality, not just on screen!”

Turning point: “I think SOTY. I am too young you know to talk about it but this was a turning point in my life coz it did really change my perspective about everything.”

What after SOTY?
“I plan to take a very long holiday, I have actually booked my tickets already!”



VARUN, second son of 90s’ comedy king David Dhawan


“MY BIRTHDAY IS ON THE SAME DAY AS SACHIN TENDULKAR!”

Contrary to his background, he’s most at home with his non-filmi friends. Right from training to play football to learning the guitar chords for his debut film, Varun proved that he won’t rest on his surname alone

Eerily, there’s much in common between Varun and Rohan Nanda, his character in SOTY.

“Yes, there are a lot of similarities as in I really have an older brother and in the film also I have one. My brother (Rohit Dhawan, director of Desi Boyz) got married in Goa this year and in the film also my brother got married but in Bangkok. It was kind of freaky. I was like, ‘Oh shit, everything in the film is happening in my real life too.’  And I didn’t want that coz a lot of stuff happened in the film which I wouldn’t want in my personal life!

“I DON’T HAVE A LAMBORGHINI OR A DUCATI OR A FERRARI, I HAVE A CIVIC. I DON’T USUALLY WEAR D&GS, I WILL WEAR A T-SHIRT FROM ANY LOCAL BRAND. I AM NOT REALLY INTO CLOTHES”

“Apart from those similarities, Rohan Nanda and I are very different. I am not a multi-millionaire’s son like he is in the film; my father is just a film director. I don’t have a Lamborghini or a Ducati or a Ferrari, I have a Civic. I don’t usually wear D&Gs, I will wear a T-shirt from any local brand. I am not really into clothes. I’m not into music and football. So Rohan Nanda is very, very different from me in some ways.”

With so many youngsters around on the SOTY set, pranks were a plenty.

“Once, Karan and I played a prank on Sana (Baby Sana of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai who has a part in SOTY). Remember the shot in the promo where I am walking out in pink shorts, bare body? Though the shooting was over, we told Sana that she had to come and tell me, ‘Tumhe iss tarah dekhke kuch kuch hota hai…’ to which I ask ‘Kya?’ and she says, ‘Bahut kuch hota hai’. It sounded ridiculous and she had to say it very seductively. The whole unit was in on it except Sana and each time she said it, everybody burst out laughing and Karan would tell her, ‘Come on, say it properly’ until she got very stressed. We then told her that it was a joke!”

This prankster’s height: 5’9”

Weight: 71 to 72 kgs

Date of birth: “April 24, 1987, same day as Sachin Tendulkar but not the same year!”

First autograph: “During My Name Is Khan, I don’t know why I signed it. But the first proper autograph I signed was in Dehradun for SOTY, when we were shooting a song. I’d just finished my dance when someone came and asked me for an autograph.”

He never practised his autograph: In fact, “I suck at it badly, very badly. I sign like a six-year-old.”


“I DON’T WANT TO DATE ANY ACTRESS. NEVER SAY NEVER BUT I AM GOING TO TRY NOT TO!”

Best birthday gift: “I was away from home and missing home when I was studying in England where all my friends were white. They made a card for me, with stick figures of my parents around it. It was very sweet and then they took me out and stuff like that. That was my 23rd birthday I think.”

Who he’d like to date from the film industry: “No one. I don’t want to date any actress. Never say never, but I am going to try not to.”

What next after SOTY? “I don’t know, haven’t a clue.”

– Priyanka
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