Karan Johar was told by a distributor K3G isn’t as big a hit as Gadar | Bollywood


Karan Johar has admitted multiple times that he wasn’t confident of the prospects of his 2001 directorial Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham because of the year it was releasing in. In a new interview with Pinkvilla, the filmmaker recalled how Sunny Deol‘s blockbuster action romance Gadar: Ek Prem Katha became the benchmark for commercial success that year. (Also Read: In defense of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Karan Johar may casually dismiss his first film, but,it still sticks 25 years later)

Sunny Deol's Gadar: Ek Prem Katha and Shah Rukh Khan's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham released in the same year
Sunny Deol’s Gadar: Ek Prem Katha and Shah Rukh Khan’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham released in the same year

What Karan said

“I called up everybody (his distributors after the release of K3G), the Punjab distributor said, ‘Han, bahut badi hit hai par Gadar jaisi nahi hai’ (Yes, it’s a very big hit, but not like Gadar) (laughs). So I said, ‘Theek hai bhaiya. Number 2 toh hai na. Wo main seh loonga. Par flop toh nahi hai na? (It’s okay. But it’s number 2, no? I can bear that. But it’s not a flop, right?).’ He said, ‘Kya bol rahe ho! Full shows ja rahe hain (What are you saying? All the shows are full).’ So I was like, ‘Thank God’,” Karan said in the interview.

However, Karan added that it was a humbling experience for him to not win any awards next year, despite winning a lot of them for his previous film, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), which was his directorial debut. “That was a really grounding experience for me. I fell back on my feet and realised that you just have to work and don’t expect anything from the beginning. Because there’s no replacement for hard work,” Karan said in the same interview.

2001 – a year of many hits

The year 2001 saw many hits across genres in Bollywood, ranging from Ashutosh Gowariker’s historical sports film Lagaan, starring Aamir Khan, to Anil Sharma’s Gadar, starring Sunny. Among other notable films were Farhan Akhtar’s directorial debut Dil Chahta Hai, starring Aamir, Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna, and Madhur Bhandarkar’s National Award-winning film Chandni Bar, starring Tabu.

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