In a fiery one-on-one session with two-time Academy Award-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Bollywood director Karan Johar subtly hinted that he wouldn’t be open to be working with Fawad Khan (and presumably other Pakistani artists) in the future.
“You know what I went through and it was a tough time for me. I don’t think would want to repeat that experience ever,” said Karan, when Sharmeen said she hoped to watch Fawad Khan directed by him again.
At a session at the 47thWorld Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Karan said he really wishes Fawad finds the best platform to showcase his talents. “I have a great regard for talent and for Fawad Khan’s talent. So just like you [Sharmeen], I hope and wish Fawad finds the best platforms because he is a prolific actor.”
A member of the audience then asked Sharmeen and Karan if they would ever consider making a film on whether Partition was a mistake.
On this, the Indian film-maker said he would never make a film on India-Pakistan in his ‘sane’ mind. “I think telling stories about today would make more sense than revisiting what has happened,” he said.
“I would love to work on projects that show collaboration. A boundary doesn’t make you an enemy. Our children live in more peaceful times.”
Karan also went on to say that we are not fully aware of the facts about Partition and there were myriad of opinions about it.
“I would never say anything in history is a mistake. We weren’t there at the time nor were we making the decisions. We don’t know if we even have accurate facts,” he said.
When asked again the same question, he replied with more conviction in his voice: “I will never make a film on Partition; I’ll make love stories, all the problems you go through in romance and dysfunctionality of relationships.”
In a bid to justify his stance of not treading the dangerous waters, Karan said he was being strong not “retardedly brave”.
“Telling stories about today about hope and aspiration will be better than narrating what has already transpired,” he remarked.
Recalling the ordeal he went through when there was an acute stand-off between Pakistan and India and their artists, Sharmeen reminded Karan that the artist community needs to do things “that are true to our heart”.
When Karan asked Sharmeen about how she felt about people saying she paints her country in a negative light, the two-time Oscar winner said she was either loved or hated by people back home, adding that she preferred that to indifference.
Sharmeen is the first documentary filmmaker to co-chair the forum. Established in 1971, the World Economic Forum is committed to improving the state of the world and its annual meeting in Davos-Klosters remains the foremost creative force engaging top leaders in collaborative activities.
This year, the forum is highlighting five distinct challenges: a breakdown in global collaboration; loss of identity; slow economic growth; a crisis in capitalism and preparing for the oncoming Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Correction: An earlier version of this article mistakenly reported Karan Johar as saying Fawad should find new platforms to showcase his talents. In actuality, Johar said he hopes Fawad finds the ‘best’ platforms. The error is regretted.