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Karan Johar: Part of my destiny to have met Aditya Chopra, Shah Rukh


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Filmmaker Karan Johar on Tuesday said producer Aditya Chopra and superstar Shah Rukh Khan are the “two pillars” in his life to whom he owes his 25-year career in cinema.

Johar assisted and featured in a brief role in Chopra’s hit directorial debut Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, the 1995 musical romance film starring Khan and Kajol. Three years later, both the actors fronted Kuch Kuch Hota Hai which marked Johar’s beginning as a director.

“It was also part of my destiny to have met Aditya Chopra and Shah Rukh Khan. Two pillars, two reasons why I sit here today. They acknowledged something about me that I didn’t see in myself. I will always be grateful to them for that. The rest was a lot of just passion… I may have been as sincere as I was. But what happens when you don’t have people who are in powerful positions like that?

“You can make it entirely on your own still because your belief system can be strong enough to combat all odds. But I was fortunate that my struggles came later. My first step was because two people who are not related to me by blood or family believed in me strongly. It has a lot to do with destiny, but nothing happens without hard work,” the filmmaker said.

Johar was in New Delhi to attend the All India Management Association (AIMA)’s ninth National Leadership Conclave, where he was honoured with the ‘Director of the Year’ award for 2023’s Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani.

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The 51-year-old, who sat down for a fireside chat at the event, looked back at his career, mistakes, failures, and the role of cinema in society.

Not just Khan and Chopra, Johar — son of late producer Yash Johar — said it’s not easy to maintain a professional outlook when one is working with actors one looked up to while growing up like Amitabh Bachchan, who starred in his home banner Dharma Productions films such as Dostana (1980) and Agneepath (1990).

The director said he doesn’t believe in resting on past laurels.

“If you can deal with failure and success in the same way, you will always be a successful human being. That doesn’t mean you equate success with just money. You equate that with self-happiness and what you’re feeling within. I acknowledge failure, I accept and embrace it. I also analyse it, and I move on. But the thing I move on the fastest from is success because resting on our laurels is wasting a whole lot of time,” he said.

Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on films being soft power, Johar said cinema is “an enormously impressionable medium”.

“We are an impressionable soft power when we can connect to millions of people through our communication. We have, time and again, realised the ramifications of what’s good and what’s bad.

“We have tremendous power and therefore, with tremendous power comes tremendous responsibility… What we project, what we say, you have to account for it with some amount of salt and sensitivity because people take the said word seriously,” he added.

One film, he said, cannot change the fabric of society but cinema can highlight big issues like women empowerment.

“Nothing happens overnight, but I believe the consciousness of our society has been enhanced considerably by what cinema has projected in the last decade or a decade and a half. Of course, there’s a flip (side) to that as well. There have been films that continue to kind of be harmful. But I hope those filmmakers realise the importance of the platform they have and their voice,” Johar added.


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