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Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Karan Johar would have been overseeing the release of Sooryavanshi on March 24 and Gunjan Saxena on April 24

By Bharathi S. Pradhan

  • Published 5.04.20, 12:06 AM
  • Updated 5.04.20, 12:06 AM
Karan Johar
Karan Johar Wikipedia

My handwash has an orange flavour. I’ve washed my hands so often in the past two weeks that I’ve started smelling like an orange,” wisecracked Karan Johar. Of course, it was over the phone.

What would Karan have been doing if he weren’t smelling like an orange? As in, if there hadn’t been a lockdown, what would the multi-media celebrity have been doing? “We had a schedule planned in the third week of April for Takht,” he disclosed. “So if this lockdown hadn’t happened, I would have been in major prep mode right now.”

The biggest movie of the day was scheduled to bring together a thick cluster of stars led by Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Janhvi and Anil Kapoor. Whenever it is made, it will be Ranveer’s first with Kareena after she stepped out of Sanjay Bhansali’s Ram-Leela way back in 2013. It made a curious “What if Kareena hadn’t dropped out” story when Deepika Padukone serendipitously walked into it and met her future husband right there.

Takht is also the first film where Janhvi and uncle Anil Kapoor will be sharing space in the credit titles.

Harking back to the 17th century, Takht (throne in Urdu) is the tale of Aurangzeb and his more benign brother, Dara Shikoh, the accent on the rarely told story of the latter. If one is permitted to be cheesy, a lavish slice of Mughal history will be made by the current Movie Mughal of Mumbai.

Movie Mughal isn’t an exaggeration for, apart from helming such an overwhelming multi-starrer, Karan would have been overseeing the release of Sooryavanshi (produced with Rohit Shetty) on March 24 and Janhvi’s Gunjan Saxena (also produced by Dharma) on April 24. There was also the last major sequence and a song being shot for his trilogy Brahmastra, which had to be called off while Dostana 2 was to have taken off in April in London.

Instead of this breathless schedule, he, like the rest of the world, is going to be staring at an incalculable loss when this period of “staring at the ceiling” ends.

“Now we don’t know when any of this is going to happen,” Karan accepted even as he rightly added, “But we can’t make this about ourselves. Which is why I haven’t been talking about any of this to anyone.”

He mused philosophically, “I’ve been telling people the ramifications of the lockdown will probably be worse than the lockdown itself. Making plans at this juncture is utterly useless. We can create, not plan.”

Reality sank in gradually as he and his team spent the first few days discussing, creating and planning over Zoom, the chat app. “But after five days, we stopped because we had nothing to say.”

In trademark Karan style he chuckled, “My mother seems to be secretly not very upset about the lockdown because she is looking at it like a happy family of four spending time together. Suddenly, she’s got this 47-year-old son virtually on her lap, something she would have never envisaged.”

During this unimaginable global crisis when he’s spending time with his kids, Roohi and Yash, and making videos with them, Karan ruminated, “It shouldn’t require a lockdown for you to spend time with your children. But this excess time with them would not have been possible with the kind of crazy timings I was keeping.”

He contemplated aloud, “We should be using this time looking inward because the universe has given us this time to reflect, so there is an upside to it. But ideally we should be staring at the ceiling without the virus.”

See what Covid-19 has done? We actually had this conversation without even one reporter-like query on the fake story going around about Fox Star Studios pulling out of Takht — fake because Fox, which is backing the expensive Brahmastra, was never on board for Takht.

But, as Karan said, the world has many more worries today.

What will happen to Takht, or indeed to any business venture anywhere in the world, is a story for another day.

Bharathi S. Pradhan is a senior journalist and author