Our man in Bollywoodhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/our-man-in-bollywood/

Our man in Bollywood

Waching Karan Johar dealing with the media is a lesson in public relations.

Waching Karan Johar dealing with the media is a lesson in public relations. Jokes,sarcasm and quotable quotes roll off the filmmaker’s tongue with such felicity that it’s easy to understand why he’s such a media darling. He gives the cameras and the journalists,and an avid film-worshipping nation,exactly what they want—a salacious glimpse into the fascinating and bewildering world of Bollywood. Johar acknowledges this. Like he says,the reason why his celebrity chat show on Star World,Koffee with Karan,is such a hit is because he gives us all exactly what we want,however much we may deny it. “People love my show because it’s comfortable,intimate setting makes people think they’re eavesdropping on a lounge conversation of the stars,” he declares at the launch of the third season of his hit show. Not to mention his unique mix of wit,mischief and gossip.

As Koffee with Karan gets set to come back in its third season on November 7,Johar makes no bones about it being anything other than a voyeuristic exercise. “I certainly don’t want intellectual stuff here — nothing that has any social ramifications and political repercussions,” he says,with mock horror. And he will do anything to get his choice of guests on the show. “I’m shameless that way,” he confesses,“I’m willing to go down on my knees and beg people to come as my guests.” His wishlist includes Rekha,Ajay Devgn and Salman Khan. He had asked Rekha in the first season,but she declined then. “I’m trying to get her this time,” he says. As for Devgn,he’s very shy.

The new season promises to be vintage Johar. The first episode sees Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan talk about life after marriage,while other episodes will have Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor and Imran Khan and Ranbir Kapoor in the hot seat. One major score for Johar this time might be getting Aamir Khan along with wife Kiran Rao. He gushes,“I have friends in Toronto who’ve seen Dhobi Ghat and they tell me it’s one of the best movies to come out of India in sometime. Kiran is definitely someone I would love to have as my guest. I’ve spoken to Aamir about getting them together and he’s expressed an interest,although we haven’t figured out the date and time yet.” He even wants to get Ram Gopal Varma on the show,just to clear the air,he claims. Viewership ratings will be co-incidental.

Of course,considering he’s a film industry insider,it’s much easier for Johar to persuade people to be on his show and get them to be brutally honest. Kareena Kapoor had once famously described John Abraham as ‘expressionless’,while Sanjay Leela Bhansali had called Vivek Oberoi an ‘overrated actor’. Johar,however,puts it down to his talent as an interrogator.

“I think it’s about the way I frame the question and the tone in which I ask it. The only time I got really nervous was when Richard Gere was on the show,but that was because I felt that I didn’t know enough about him.”