Karan Johar: I don’t have any contract with Shah Rukh Khan, I gift him clothes

Such is the friendship between Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar, that the latter says he doesn’t pay the biggest superstar in the country any money for working in his films. The extended cameo he had in Brahmastra did not earn him any money, nor did Karan charge for stepping in to direct 6 days of Ra.One. 

But does Karan pay SRK in kind, with an expensive car or something? “No, none of that. I give him clothes, he loves clothes. With Shah Rukh, there is no such thing as a money exchange. I don’t think he has ever asked me for money even for a film he has done. Whatever is given in our contracts with Shah Rukh are ‘It was a pleasure working with you, thank you so much’ – and that’s the contract. There is no contract. We don’t have a contract with Shah Rukh,” Karan tells Mid-day during our Sit With Hitlist print and podcast series.

He continues, “I remember when he was shooting Ra.One, he had a double unit. He called me to shoot for 6 days because Anubhav (Sinha) was doing big action and he needed just simple patch kind of scenes. I flew from Bombay and did it. These are not big deals in our relationships. Whether it is with Adi (Chopra) or Shah Rukh. If Adi asks me for anything I will do it, I am here because of them. How can I forget that? Loyalty is the most is the most required quality in a person and it rarely exists.”

Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar’s journeys have overlapped. He has seen him grow from being a newcomer to the superstar he is today. “Adi him and me were friends. That superstardom, energy – I have seen Shah Rukh’s entire growth in front of me and felt a part of it. I didn’t meet him as a movie star. I met him as like this young vibrant actor with so much promise…”

The first meeting between Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan is also an interesting anecdote that the filmmaker narrated. It was when he was about to make his debut as an actor himself.

“My mother got a call from Anand Mahindroo. He said, ‘Oh Hiroo I heard you have a really plus-sized child, I need a really large child for this show, and does he act? My mother said, ‘Yeah he does drama.’ But you know Anandji got defensive about my plus size and he said it is puppy fat it will go. So, he said till then can he come and do an audition for me. I didn’t even know what an audition was. We used to stay in Malabar Hill so I had gone into this cab and went all the way there. I had done school dramatics, I had not even acted or anything. I go there and I am sitting, and for some reason Anand was busy in the edit. I was waiting and there was somebody sitting opposite me and doing crossword and drinking tea. I looked at him and he looked at me. I found him familiar, he just smiled politely. For some four hours both of us sat there waiting.

“Anand walked in first, he tapped me and said I will come to you and he went to this boy who was young, and said, ‘We are on for the part.’ He said, ‘No actually, I don’t want to do TV. I want to do films, but I really liked the tea in your office and I wanted to finish my crossword.’ And he walked off. Then Anand took me in and he said, ‘Do you know who that is? Shah Rukh Khan. He was in Fauji.’

“That was the first time Karan Johar and Shah Rukh Khan crossed paths. “Yes, we were sitting opposite a closed room. Then I remembered Fauji and that’s why he was familiar. I don’t know what he was doing. He was drinking tea and doing crossword. Then he didn’t even want to do the role and he left. That explains Shah Rukh Khan. That day I said wow, what a cool guy,” Karan recalls.

However, he went on to take up the project, and that’s how the TV show Indradhanush became his first acting gig.