Suraj Ramnath
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Goafest 2016: "I will never direct ad films": Karan Johar

In an interactive session between R Balki and Karan Johar, the duo spoke about films and advertising.

The auditorium was packed at the Grand Hyatt, Goa, as people eagerly waited for the interactive session between R Balki, film maker and Group chairman, MullenLowe Lintas Group, and film maker Karan Johar to commence.

The session was initiated with a chat about how celebrities/actors now look at ads as a good substitute to films. Johar talked about how one celebrity started appearing for brand endorsements and the rest followed, thus sparking off the trend. Balki felt that stars were really not important to make an ad film or movie successful. "Stars are an important part of cinema. But, it is not like movies without stars do not work," he said.

Goafest 2016: "I will never direct ad films": Karan Johar
Host Kubra Sheth, model-turned-actor, then asked Johar if he would direct an ad film to which he offered a quick reply. "I will never direct ad films. Once Shah Rukh Khan asked me to direct a chocolate cake-based brand and there were 10 people in the room who discussed how the cake should be. For me, a chocolate cake is a chocolate cake, it can't be a Black Forest cake," he said.

When the host quizzed Johar about meaningful cinema in India, he was quick to say, "I am a wrong candidate for that. I have never got that kind of credit. Even if I make something new, people say "he makes movies suited for NRIs"."

Balki, though, offered a different perspective on meaningful cinema, which according to him has many interpretations. "Karan (Johar) has given tears and joy in his movies. Isn't that meaningful?" he asked.

Johar then went on to talk about regional movies, which he felt are doing well. "Marathi cinema has evolved and there has been some outstanding work," he said.

When the host asked Balki about making films for the digital platform, he said, "It all depends on the idea. A film is a film, an idea is an idea, and a story is a story," in response to which, Johar said, "I think Digital is a word that has flown around without any comprehension any more. People are just saying "Oh, you are not doing movie on digital?" No one has really understood the future of this platform yet. Everybody seems to be excited about it, but nobody knows about it."

He then went on to talk about his views on Balki's concept of making films. "Right from the beginning of his film career, Balki's concepts have been good. Even the attempt with Shamitabh was fantastic," said Johar.

Balki was as generous with his praise of Johar as a film maker. "I wish I could make some of his films. I am a huge fan of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is an example of embracement. It is his craftsmanship and story-telling for which people love him," said Balki.