Karan Johar and team celebrate a stupendous hit

Kshitee Jog, Anjali Anand, Dharmendra, Alia Bhatt, Ranveer Singh, Tota Roy Choudhury and Churni Ganguly at the Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani press conference. Photo: Rajiv Vijayakar 

Karan Johar held a press conference to celebrate the unprecedented success of his seventh directorial, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani. The talents on stage at the J.W. Marriott Sahar included, besides Karan, Dharmendra, Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, along with Kshitee Jog, Tota Roy Choudhury, Churni Ganguly and Anjali Anand. They were accompanied by Dharma Productions CEO Apoorva Mehta and Ajit Andhare of co-producer Viacom 18 Studios.

Karan began the press conference with the screening of the song, Kudmayi (the Punjabi word means ‘engagement’), which was shown in a capsule during the end-credit titles. He revealed, “I was very particular that the length of the film does not exceed 2:50, and it broke my heart that I had to cut short the song that we had shot with such efforts at Jaisalmer. It was used just with the end-credits. Pritam and Amitabh Bhattacharya also consider this their favorite work from the songs of the film, so I am going to present you with the entire song on full screen in the glory with which we filmed it.”

Alia also stated that the wedding sequence was shot exactly four days after her real wedding and was the direct opposite of their simple ceremony at home in its ostentation. “But when there was a discussion on whether the bride or the groom led the saat phere, I asserted that it was the bride—from my own experience just four days earlier!”

Towards the end of the meet, Ranveer Singh implored his director that all the deleted portions, which were largely cut to control the length, be added in the streamed version whenever it comes! The movie was originally 190 minutes long. Ranveer’s character Rocky Randhawa’s introduction scene, Alia Bhatt’s Rani Chatterjee’s theme song and Rocky and Rani’s quarrel were deleted and so was a ‘Love hai to sab hai’ line before the song, Kamleya. Ranveer grumbled that he had himself come up with this line but had never got credit for it!

Karan confessed that he had never received as many compliments as for this film. Reiterating what was written in the newsindiatimes.com review of the movie, he admitted that at the time of K3G, his movie was compared to films like Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai. When Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and My Name is Khan came, there had been controversies and around the release of Student of the Year, his idol Yash Chopra’s death had spoiled his joy. Even at the time of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, there were issues.

A day after release, when the encomiums for Rocky Aur Rani… were pouring in on his phone and social media, he had requested his people to send him only the positive reviews. Alia Bhatt recalled the phone call she received from him at an odd hour (for him to call her) just to express his feelings of relief and joy.

Alia’s and Ranveer’ banter, especially about each other, kept the spirits high and an in-form Dharmendra, dressed smartly in a trendy suit and shirt, stated that it was his ‘daayen haath ka khel’ (a very easy job) when asked about his famous kissing scene with Shabana Azmi. He termed Karan as a very smart director and stated that when he was offered the role, he knew that he had to do it. Karan also spoke about his trepidation when he narrated the story to the veteran actor.

Churni Ganguly and Ranveer Singh expounded widely on the famous bra-shopping sequence and Karan said that as the only son, he would accompany his mother on such expeditions without being overly conscious about it. Kshitee Jog and Anjali Anand spoke about Karan’s clarity as well as generosity as a director that made work stress-free. “He would always listen to a suggestion from an artiste, even if it meant trying out a sequence in another way,” said Kshitee.

Ranveer and Tota raved about each other, especially about their joint Kathak sequence, where Dola re dola from Devdas was enacted by the two, Said Karan, “This was my homage to Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I paid a homage to my favorite filmmaker, Yash (Chopra) uncle through the song Dhindora baaje re.”

The filmmaker revealed that he received lovely messages from colleagues as varied as Anurag Kashyap and Rakesh Roshan, ‘These moments or messages are what I think all filmmakers live for—I think even all artistes live for the same. In fact, I’m joyously replying to everyone who is sending me a message.” He added that Vidya Balan had already watched the film twice and was planning to revisit it again!

Ranveer and Alia also let on that their respective spouses, Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor, had really loved the film and their performances in it. As this film was Ranveer’s first hit after Gully Boy, with 83 underperforming and Jayeshbhai Jordaar and Cirkus not faring well, the actor revealed that he never took success or failure intensely and “did not understand figures.” The joy, he said, was in playing such characters and the process of acting and working with great talents.

The film, which passed the Monday test (a box-office convention that the fourth day collections must be more than 50 percent of that on opening day), surprisingly had a better Tuesday than Monday. On the second Friday, the film has shown a jump again and its collections in India are Rs. 80.08 crore nett (in 8 days) and Rs. 95.33 crore gross. The overseas gross stands at Rs. 59.8 crore. The film, according to different sources, is pegged at a budget of Rs. 160 cr. and Rs. 190 cr. but the news is that 90 percent of the moneys have been recovered already through sales of various rights.




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