One of the strongest friendships in the Hindi film industry is that of filmmaker Karan Johar and superstar Shah Rukh Khan. The director and actor have been fast friends for decades and Karan has even directed SRK in five movies so far – Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, My Name is Khan and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. In fact, Karan even made a cameo in King Khan’s most successful film till date, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
As the filmmaker celebrates his 49th birthday, here’s remembering what he wrote about his close friend in his autobiography, An Unsuitable Boy. “I had this preconceived notion about Shah Rukh. I thought he was this young brat, borderline arrogant. But within five minutes of that meeting in Film City, my opinion of him changed. He was warm and chatty,” Karan wrote in his book.
“I remember my father (late filmmaker Yash Johar) got out of the red car we had and Shah Rukh came up to the car and opened the door for him. It was meant to be a ten-minute meeting, but they had broken for lunch or something and Shah Rukh spoke non-stop for two hours! He was so accessible, friendly and respectful of my father that he won me over in those two hours. I was very sensitive about how people treated my father because I knew what he had gone through. He said, ‘I’ve heard so much about you, sir, and such wonderful things about you as a human being’,” Karan wrote in his book, adding: “That was my first meeting with him. I remember coming back and telling my father what a nice guy Shah Rukh was. He was so different from what I thought movie people were like. I had seen my father dejected and disappointed with so many of his fraternity people. I was not cynical but I was apprehensive about them. But Shah Rukh was an outsider and he was new. His syntax as a human being was very different from others in the film zone. I remember being completely enamoured by how he connected as a human being. He was so charming. He was not my favourite actor; I was a big Aamir Khan fan. But somehow in that two-hour meeting, my entire perception of him changed. I felt he was magnetic, charming, funny and sensitive. All these qualities came jumping out at me.”