When ‘My Name Is Khan’ left Karan Johar stressed out

July 08, 2009

karan johar shahrukh khan 300x204Mumbai, After making candy floss romances, Karan Johar is dealing with serious issues in his “My Name Is Khan”, which brings Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol together on screen after a long time. Though he is excited about presenting a different side of Shah Rukh, making the film did turn unpleasant when actor Aamir Bashir was denied a visa to the US.

Karan’s latest directorial venture is “diametrically opposite” to his earlier films.

“You know, on the very first day of shooting my cameraman Ravi Chandran looked at me and said, ‘I don’t think you’ve ever shot something like this’. Shah Rukh plays a completely different human being … I’ve never directed that person before,” Karan Johar told IANS in an interview.

But he had his share of problems too.

“Yes, there were problems. We had certain legal issues. We had to make some changes to accommodate the developments. They were sorted out. I believe in completely going by the law of every land. That’s what we did in LA (Los Angeles) when troubles arose,” said Karan, who replaced Aamir with Jimmy Sheirgil in the movie.

Were you upset with Aamir for going to the press about the visa problem?

“I don’t see why the issue had to be reported so prominently in the Indian media. It complicated things for me. If creating hurdles for a filmmaker on a difficult foreign location makes news, so be it. It constantly kept creating stress for me,” he added.

Written by Shibani Bathija, “My Name Is Khan” is about a Muslim (Shah Rukh) who suffers from the Asperger syndrome, a form of autism that impacts social interaction abilities, and he is arrested as a suspected terrorist in post-9/11 Los Angeles after authorities mistake his disability for suspicious behaviour.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: You could make a film on the things that happened during your Los Angeles schedule of “My Name Is Khan”.

A: Besides normal problems, there were unforeseen problems. Thank god for my fabulous technical team. Without them I could never make my film the way I want to. Yes, there was stress.

Q: There were visa problems for some Muslim members of your cast?

A: Yes, there were problems. We had certain legal issues. We had to make some changes to accommodate the developments. They were sorted out. I believe in completely going by the law of every land. That’s what we did in LA when troubles arose.

Q: Was Aamir replaced by Jimmy Sheirgil after a great deal of deliberation?

A: Yes, we did have to do some serious re-thinking. I spoke to my casting director Shanu Sharma for immediate release. I was very happy to have Jimmy Sheirgil on board. I had done his clothes for Aditya Chopra’s “Mohabbatein”. So I know him from his debut. It was unfortunate that things didn’t work out with Aamir Bashir. Like Jimmy, he was terrific in “A Wednesday”. I look forward to working with him some other time.

Q: Were you upset with Aamir Bashir for going to the press about the visa problem?

A: I don’t blame anyone for the situation. I don’t see why the issue had to be reported so prominently in the Indian media. It complicated things for me. If creating hurdles for a filmmaker on a difficult foreign location makes news, so be it. It constantly kept creating stress for me.

Q: Was it a painful experience to shoot in LA?

A: In all my 11 years as a filmmaker, I’ve never felt the experience to be so different. Content-wise “My Name Is Khan” is diametrically opposite to whatever I’ve done in the past. You know, on the very first day of shooting my cameraman Ravi Chandran looked at me and said, ‘I don’t think you’ve ever shot something like this.’

It is for the first time I’m directing a screenplay I haven’t written myself. This gives me a level of detachment from the proceedings and yet a lot of attachment. It has released a plethora of unexplored emotions in my head.

This time I’m being creative in a different ways. And Shah Rukh plays a completely different human being … I’ve never directed that person before. It took a few days for all of us to get into the groove. How this exploration of a new territory will turn out, no one knows.





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