With the sociable Karan Johar claiming to have no friends in the industry, we asked a few film folk how difficult it is to find true buddies in Bollywood...
In an industry where cut-throat competition rules the roost, people tend to be fickle and relationships fragile. And if you must believe Karan Johar, Bollywood is a place where one will find no friends at all. At the launch of Bombay Velvet's second trailer (Watch the trailer here) on Monday, the filmmaker was asked about the nature of compliments he received for his negative role in the film from his industry friends and he remarked, "Who has friends in Bollywood? There are just human beings here."
Coming from a person like KJo, who is easily one of the most well-connected and sociable filmmakers, the statement was quite an eye-opener and a telling comment on the transient nature of friendships in tinseltown. For someone who has been in the industry for close to two decades now, he certainly has seen the best and worst of friendships — his alleged fallout with Ajay Devgn last year created quite a few ripples. Even when it comes to taking an opinion on his films or his own acting performance, Karan would prefer to repose his faith in media experts rather than listening to the fake praises showered by his industry friends. "They (industrywallahs) praise you openly, but never hesitate to talk behind your back or on Twitter," he said.
Is Karan's grouse an exception or is Bollywood a place bereft of true friends? hitlist delves into the issue...
No love lost
If you are in competition with someone, it is difficult to be friends with them. While Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan may have kissed and made up during the former's sister's wedding last year, they will remain rivals in the professional space. Salman father's Salim Khan himself made it clear at the trailer launch of Sholay 3D when he said, "Salman and Shah Rukh are two individuals…Grown up people. I think there cannot be love between rivals. There can be courtesy. To have love between Salman and Shah Rukh is not possible. One should not expect that if Shah Rukh's film is a success, Salman will dance and celebrate. Or if Salman's film is a hit, Shah Rukh will throw a party. It's not possible."
Unlike Hollywood or the South Indian film industry, Bollywood rarely churns out multi-starrers featuring A-listers. While many may put it down to lack of scripts, Akshay Kumar had in an interview pinned it on lack of unity among top actors, a fact that Aamir Khan is also said to echoed.
Mahesh Bhatt, who has launched many careers in the film industry, believes one needs luck to find a lasting friendship in B-Town. "This is Planet Bollywood. You would be lucky if you find one friend here and that one friend is enough to see you through life." The filmamker considers himself lucky for having found not one but plenty of true friends within the industry. "The question is: Was I friend to people? The answer is yes. So I have innumerable number of friends. Without their help, I wouldn't have been where I am today," he states.
Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan
Director Sudhir Mishra feels those keen on conning others into becoming successful will never find true friends, and that fake friends exist in Bollywood, not in the true creative realm. "There are two Bollywoods here — a fake one and a creative one. Creative Bollywood comprises people who are confident of themselves and are respectful of others. Here, true friendship exists."
Too busy to bond
Actors are always on the move and often lose track of time. Their choc-a-bloc schedule leaves them with little time to spare even for their loved ones. Says Nimrat Kaur, "Friends happen after you do a lot of films and have a constant friend circle, people you hang out with as you work together on a certain film. But one thing that people tend to forget is that everybody has a hectic and busy life and it is difficult to coordinate (to meet) as everyone is always travelling. I feel that can be a big factor in people not being able to forge friendships that last for a very long time."
There are some actors who are involved in a project for a longer duration and end up meeting and interacting with the same set of people daily, thereby developing a close bond. For Sonu Sood, it was the long shoot hours with Salman Khan during Dabangg and Shah Rukh Khan for Happy New Year that helped him gel with the stars. "Friendship exists in Bollywood. While doing Dabangg with Salman, I developed a great rapport with him. He is someone I could call up in the middle of the night. While shooting with SRK, we used to work out together and today I have a good friend in him. He is just a phone call away."