Here's how Sridevi shaped Karan Johar's film career

Updated: Dec 24, 2019, 08:02 IST | PTI | Mumbai

Growing up in South Bombay, Karan Johar said not many kids in his locality were interested in Hindi cinema in the '80s but he loved the way Sridevi connected with the audience.

Sridevi and Karan Johar. Image sourced from mid-day archives
Sridevi and Karan Johar. Image sourced from mid-day archives

For Karan Johar, Sridevi's movies are a window to his childhood and the beginning of his love for Hindi cinema. Growing up in South Bombay, Karan said not many kids in his locality were interested in Hindi cinema in '80s but he loved the way Sridevi connected with the audiences.

Sridevi known for her films like Sadma, Mr India, Lamhe, English Vinglish, "Mom among others, passed away in February last year.

"For me, today and every moment of Sridevi takes me back to my entire childhood and my entire being and my passionate love for movies and my absolute obsession with Hindi cinema. I think she has a large part to do with it. I can't recall the moment when I felt madly in love with her. I was her biggest fan, Karan said at the book launch.

Karan, who launched "Sridevi - The External Screen Goodess", written by Satyarth Nayak, in Mumbai a few days after its Delhi launch by Deepika Padukone, said while Hindi cinema was a low priority for children around him, he just sat at home and watched movies, including all of Sridevi's work.

"I remember watching 'Himmatwala' with my house help in a cinema hall, I went multiple times to watch it and then every other movie after that. I remember dancing on pot and pan just like she had. My love story began with her and it just never ended.

Reminiscing an incident when he chose Sridevi's film over his father's own movie, Karan said, his father, late filmmaker Yash Johar, was upset with him as he went to see Mr India instead of Mukkadar Ka Faisla. "My father was releasing a film on the same day as Mr India. He had released Mukkadar Ka Faisla, which was directed by Prakash Mehra and my father was very hurt with me because on the opening day I went running to see 'Mr India' and I did not see my father's film."

"Sridevi had the magical quality of connecting with you. She just seemed unattainable, inaccessible, just the way you want your stars to be, and I had put her up on a pedestal. She became like (that) with every movie", 
Karan said he was such a die-hard fan of Sridevi that it would have been disaster for him to direct her in a movie had they worked together.

"I am not sure if I would have been the best director for her because I would have been too much of a fan. And somewhere a filmmaker has to be very objective about his or her work. And fandom can make you lose objective and I think I would have lost complete objectivity. So I am glad I never directed her as I would have give her a failure, which she did not deserve," Karan said.

It was during the making of her father's 1993 production Gumrah when Karan met Sridevi and the director said he found her to be quite reticent.

"I was dying to be her best friend, tried everything, talked to her but she was always quiet. She took compliments and adulation just like how she would treat silence, like it would not bother her."

The director said Sridevi was very involved with her films and would often give suggestions.

"When I narrated the film (referring to 'Kalank') that she was meant to do before she passed away, she read the script, she made her notes and she told me a few brilliant things, which I wish we had listened to. She had some wonderfully intuitive things. She had always had that sense... She was not given credit for a lot of things. There was a ticking brain I don't think she got enough credit for," he added.

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