‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ Was My Biggest Reality Check: Karan 

Karan Johar gets candid about the film.

2 min read
‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’  Was My Biggest Reality Check: Karan 

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In a recent podcast Picture ke Peeche with Rajeev Masand on Audible Suno, Karan Johar opened up about how the year 2001 was a “reality check” for him. That was the year Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham had released.

“I thought that I’m making the biggest film in the history of Hindi cinema since Mughal-e-Azam until Aamir Khan’s Lagaan and Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai hit the theatres.”
Karan Johar, Filmmaker

Karan goes on to say that in his head he could hear big box office bells ringing because according to him Lagaan was directed by a filmmaker whose previous two films didn’t work and Farhan, the “naughty kid”, was making some “coming-of-age” story that obviously didn’t stand a chance. “Nobody had heard of Chandni Bar and people had no idea about Gadar either. Then, the year started unfurling.”


Lagaan and Gadar released on the same day. Reality check one. Lagaan became that kind of film that was going to beat the archives of Hindi cinema, Gadar broke every conceivable box office record. I go to the preview of Chandni Bar, and I was blown by the narrative. Then I see Dil Chahta Hai, and Farhan Akhtar redefines cool,” Karan said, adding that by the end of the year his ego, morale and self-awareness was at an all time “low and high.”

The filmmaker continued by saying that he feared his film Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham would be termed as “old wine in a new dramatically polished bottle.” He also said that the reviewers completely killed the movie.

“That year Lagaan, Chandni Bar, Aks was served to the critic palette, and here comes this saga of mush and plush.”

Karan said that till date he is depressed about K3G. “Those days, awards mattered. I wasn’t even nominated! That was more shattering than the box office numbers because I won every award for Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.”


The director said that though K3G went down very well with the audience, there were many moments in the film that made him go WTF. Karan made a confession of sorts as he said: “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham is the single biggest slap in my face and my biggest reality check. I made the same film as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, that’s what Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham was. I took the storyline of Kabhi Kabhie and the family values of Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! and made this mush of a film.”

However, Karan added that Kareena Kapoor’s role as Poo/Pooja will always remain special: “Poo, OMG! You should go and check online. There are lines, memes and games on Poo, but at the time only Bebo and I loved her character. I am Poo, that's who I am, I wrote all the lines, picked the clothes, everything,” he said on the show.

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