My copy of An Unsuitable Boy is sloooooowly making it’s way to me from New York, but in the meantime, the Indian press is keeping me up to date on the most interesting excerpts. This time, one about Kareena.
Here’s the relevant excerpts:
“My first problem was with Kareena. She asked for too much money and we had some kind of a fallout at that time. ‘Mujhse Dosti Karoge!’ had just released, directed by Kunal Kohli. She said, ‘Aditya Chopra’s assistant Kunal Kohli has made this flop, so Karan Johar’s assistant, Nikhil Advis is not to be trusted either’……The weekend of ‘Mujhse Dosti Karoge’s release, I offered her ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’, and she asked for the same money that Shah Rukh Khan was getting. I said, ‘Sorry’…..I was very hurt. I told my father, ‘Leave that negotiation room’ and I called her. She didn’t take my call, and I said, ‘We’re not taking her.’ And signed Preity Zinta instead. Kareena and I didn’t speak to each other for almost a year. For a year, we looked through each other at parties. It was very idiotic. She was a kid; she’s a decade younger than me…..We were releasing ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ in November. We had shot the film in June, July, August and in September I had to shoot the songs, make the promos and so on. So, I had to head back, while my father continued the treatment in New York. That was the time Kareena Kapoor called me. It was August. We had not spoken for nine months. She called and said, ‘I heard about Yash uncle.’ She got really emotional on the phone, and she said, ‘I love you and I am so sorry I haven’t been in touch. Don’t worry’.”
Isn’t that interesting? Not the details of the feud, I kind of knew about that. But how, again, Karan shows that he views the relationship between them on a personal level as more important than the professional one.
Do you notice that when he talks about it, he specifies that he told his father to leave the room? There is an implication that his anger isn’t over not wanting to pay the money, but because he felt she was insulting his father. And it’s her reaching out to provide sympathy about Yash’s illness which brought them back together.
And that Kareena knew this! She made a mistake in asking for more money, not trusting him to begin with. But she forgot all of that as soon as she learned his father was sick, because that was more important than any silly professional feud.
It’s not just that she was a decent person who cared about her friend’s father, it’s that she knew she should call and he would take her call if she reached out to him. That their relationship wasn’t just “professional”, it was so much more than that.
And that’s what Karan’s problem is with Kajol. That she suddenly was treating him as “just” a professional acquaintance and their whole relationship as “just business” instead of honoring their lifelong acquaintanceship and friendship of 25 years standing.
The industry in general always has this personal is more than professional attitude. Which, I think, is a good thing. Sometimes it means terrible movies get made just because everyone is friends, and sometimes it means good movies don’t get made because people aren’t friends. But ultimately, I would rather bad movies are made because people care about each other than because they think the films will make money.
(I would rather watch Duplicate a 100 times than Fitoor one more time)