Here's why Karan Johar loves getting trolled

Karan Johar talks about new-age content, web series, getting trolled and why the concept of marriage is outdated
Karan Johar
Karan Johar

He came, he spoke, he entertained and he made a lot of sense. Film director, producer and actor, Karan Johar, who is always known to interview people on his popular show Koffee with Karan, experienced a role reversal. 

At IIM Bangalore's leadership conclave IIMBue that is being hosted in Bengaluru, Karan was in the hot seat for The Future of Entertainment: Challenges, Opportunities and Disruptions session. In conversation with BTVi's consulting editor Fatima Karan, the filmmaker opened up and spoke candidly about everything from films, new-age content, changing relationship trends to his personal life journey.

Here are five take aways from Karan's chat:

Through Lust Stories I wanted to talk about women and their desires.
Lust Stories was made with a lot of dignity and sensibility. It was one of the most inspired pieces that I have worked on and I was very excited to tell the story. I wanted to talk about women and their desires, it is something that is always brushed under the carpet. Everyone who has seen it will know I have made fun of my own song in it (Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...). I don't think anyone can see the song as it is after watching this scene. It is supposed to be a cultural, family song and suddenly you see the heroine belting an orgasm with that song in the background. It's no longer about loving your parents, family and conforming to the society. It's also about fulfilling personal desires and that's the juxtaposition that I wanted to show. The whole irony of the scene where the grandmother is watching the song and there's this girl who is getting an orgasm in front of the whole family... I think it was a wonderful contrast. 

Everyone is going wild with content on the digital medium. Nobody can vandalise your television sets. 
I have always landed in trouble though I made good, emotional, family films. Indian cinema and artistes are soft targets. We are always vulnerable so we conform to norms. It's never the censorship that has been a problem. Rather it's other external factors. Censor board is in fact a lot more open now to dialogue. But someone lodges an FIR, theatres get vandalised, it's this that is the problem. When you go digital, there's no fear. Nobody is going to come and break your television. So when it comes to putting out content, everyone is going wild on the digital medium.

Audiences will either watch Kapoor & Sons/Raazi or a Bahubali.
Today you either make a film like Kapoor & Sons, or you make a Bahubali. These are the two types of films that are being viewed by a theatrical audience. It's either a big venture or great content. Anything in-between will not work. Raazi was a high concept film. I heard one line and decided to produce it. 

I am open to criticism.
Everybody has an inborn instinct, sometimes it is updated and sometimes it is not. It's important that we update our instinct and that happens through awareness. Your instinct is a result of lots of things that come into your headspace. What you feed into your head is very critical. Your instinct is like silver, it needs polishing. I am curious and I ask questions. Most importantly, I am open to criticism. I don't like to have 'yes-men' around me. It's important to have people around you who tell you what's not okay.

I love getting trolled.
I love trollers. I have no problem. They troll me morning, noon and night but within that trolling there is something that they are catching on which is true. Out of all the evil and nasty things they say there are at least two things that are relevant so I read all the trolls and I also read all the bad reviews of my movies. It's important to open your head space to every kind of opinion. You have to know that you are not going to be always right. You must meet failure with contemplation.

Rapid fire with Karan:
What do you think of marriages?

Marriages are outdated. Marriages are so last season. Weddings are the in-thing now. Get married in a grand wedding, have kids and go your separate ways.

What is one thing that people always misunderstand about you?
That I am "An Unsuitable Boy" (laughs). I don't know why but my talk show gives a weird impression to people that I am a sort of an elite snoot. Many times people come and tell me, "oh we never imagined you are so nice to talk to." 

What is or was the best phase of your life?
Now! This phase with my babies is the best phase of my life. I feel so scared that I am happy. I feel petrified at times. 

What are the traits you admire in a rising entrepreneur?
Being accessible is the most critical part of who you are.

Will you ever make a Bollywood version of Game of Thrones?
Bollywood is Game of Thrones.

Does love exist today considering there's so much interaction on social media?
I don't know how people these days say they are in love. They are so absorbed in updating and putting stuff online, I don't know if they are spending enough time with each other. Every ten minutes when they feel any emotion, they put it up. I don't know if there's enough personal love, but there's lot of community (online) love.

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