Karan Johar reveals who he would cast if 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' is remade today

'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai had its gender politics all wrong, I admit it,' says the director

Karan Johar kkhh week cover - 1

When Karan Johar made his debut directorial, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, in 1998 under his father Yash Johar's Dharma Productions, he would have never thought that it was the birth of a cult classic. Johar went on to win the National Award for Best Popular Film for the movie starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukherjee.

But who would he cast if he was to remake Kuch Kuch Hota Hai today? Namrata Zakaria of THE WEEK asked Johar the question during a quick-fire session. And his immediate choices were Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh and Janhvi Kapoor.

READ FULL STORY: How Bollywood's Big Daddy Karan Johar built his empire

Of late, Johar has been critical of the political correctness in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, which is now remembered as the story of a tomboy who got the guy after she started wearing saris. And one can see the difference when it comes to Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani.

In an exclusive interview with THE WEEK, Johar said, “I think the evolution is mine, but it is also the growth of cinema in general. When I made Kuch Kuch, it was me deriving from cinema. I hadn’t gone to film school or studied the grammar of filmmaking. But what we call ‘stalking’ today, a leading man chasing a leading lady, was just called ‘romance’ or ‘aashiqui’ at one time."

"Kuch Kuch had its gender politics all wrong, I admit it. Even Shabana Azmi had reprimanded me for it. But there is no defence," Johar laughs. 

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"People said I endorsed infidelity through Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, but I said, look you can’t endorse something that’s already sold out. It met with such polarised responses, especially since the poster boy of love and romance, Shah Rukh Khan, played the hero. I also made My Name is Khan that was based on the secular fabric of our nation, or the misinterpretation of religion, but nobody addressed it that time. I am just slotted as a bubblegum, NRI filmmaker. After that I wanted to make something younger, like a high school musical. So I made ‘Student of the Year’ with Alia Bhatt, Siddharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan," he avers. 

"I knew I wasn’t moving any cinematic mountain with it. It wasn’t going to be remembered as a great film, but a fun film. That was enough for me. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was my most personal film, I had an unrequited love that broke me."

With Rocky Aur Rani.., Johar says he has corrected his politics. It almost speaks against the cancel culture phenomenon fueled by social media. Yet he admits he was taken aback by its success. "I had told my marketing team to take it easy with me, as I was feeling quite fragile directing a film after seven years. I was having an anxiety attack the night before. But when they shared the reviews, they were screaming. It really was the best reviewed film of mine. I was thrilled as I really wanted the validation from the critics,” he submits. 

The film ended up making over Rs 350 crore in a year that saw mega blockbusters such as Shah Rukh Khan's Pathaan and Jawan and Sunny Deol’s Gadar 2.

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