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Koffee With Karan season 5: Imtiaz Ali, Zoya Akhtar, Kabir Khan spill the beans in electrifying episode

Unusually, the three directors were pretty poised in front of the camera as they dished out the dirt on numerology, film reviews, and star tantrums with Karan Johar. 

Shriram Iyengar

The latest episode of Koffee with Karan season 5 was a scintillating treat for film lovers and filmmakers. Featuring directors Imtiaz Ali, Zoya Akhtar, and Kabir Khan, it was a nice change to watch Karan Johar go toe-to-toe with his peers discussing serious filmmaking. From critical review, production problems and filming songs, the directors gave some insight into the fascinating way their creative minds function. 

The craze of the 'box office'
With three directors who have delivered some of the most popular films of recent times, it was no surprise that the show began with the question of different content doing well at the box office. It was quite the revelation when Kabir revealed: "It feels good to see these films do well at the box office. Because, ultimately if a good film gets good box office figures, then people allow you to go a step further." 

Zoya claimed, "I watched Neerja, which I absolutely loved." But there was no love lost for Dangal, which she 'really, really liked.' The director also put an emphasis on Sairat, the film which shook up the Hindi film industry and put a rejuvenated Marathi cinema on the map. 

Ali added, "There is a lot of experimentation that is happening in the mainline commercial film, it is not only the so-called small films doing this.Things are changing (sic)." 

The 'song' dilemma 
It is surprising that Zoya was quite hesitant when it came to the question of songs in her films. While Ali and Kabir were on the same page regarding the need for songs in Hindi cinema, Zoya mentioned that she sought out authenticity to put songs in. Johar mentioned how Zoya is often traumatised when it comes to shooting 'lip sync' songs. In her defence, Zoya said, "I wanted to do something that felt much more organic. It was set in the street, a street party, which suddenly builds up into a number. I am like what am I going to do." The only reason she agreed to the song, Senorita, was that the actors sang it themselves adding the required realism to the scene. It was Ali who admitted, "I love songs, and I can't really do without them." 

The Reject Club

As hard as it might be to believe it, these blockbuster directors have also gone through the rejection routine. Zoya revealed how actors walking out of her first film made her feel bad, but then her 'cockiness' saved her. She said, "I survived because I was so cocky. Now I am used to it. But at that stage when I could've taken it personally, I was just cocky. I was like you don't know anything."

Kabir, the 'outsider', had a different perspective to add. He mentioned how coming into the industry as a documentary filmmaker, he had to face constant rejection by producers. "My friends used to say, bataana nahi documentary," he laughed. The director also revealed how it took him a year of scouring production houses before Aditya Chopra finally agreed to produce his debut film. 

The 'sister' conundrum 
The funniest bit of the episode was when Zoya narrated the story of casting for Dil Dhadakne Do. She said every actress she approached to play the girlfriend wanted to play the sister in the film and vice versa. However, many of them were afraid of playing 'the sister'. Zoya laughed as she narrated, "One actress told me, 'Will I be looking like the sister?' I said, what does that mean? She said, no will I be dressed like a sister? What does that mean? I am a sister, you are a sister. Do you mean a nun?"

Talk about stereotypes! 

Actors don't read scripts 
One revelation, perhaps from personal experience, came from Johar. Talking about actors in the industry, Johar said, "First, to put it out there, actors in our industry don't read scripts. They want narrations." Though Johar admitted that he is a dramatic narrator, like Ali, he believed that it puts the pressure on the director who has to learn to narrate if he has to get the script through. 

It might not explain the casting choices, but it certainly explains the bad choices made by many good actors. They were swayed by the great narration! 

The 'pre-Friday' and 'post-Friday' film 
This was something not even Johar knew, forget about fans outside the industry. Kabir revealed how, while peddling his first film, a producer asked him if it was a 'pre-Friday or 'post-Friday film'. He described a 'pre-Friday' film as a film that is sold before the Friday, and takes care of its finances by itself due to its popularity, while a 'post-Friday' film has to earn on its own merit through word-of-mouth publicity et al. As for the script, Kabir hilariously revealed that the producer rejected it because the company only makes 'pre-Friday' films. 

The 'critic' bashing 

This was apparently the favourite topic on which all of the directors, including Johar, united. While Ali seemingly ignores reading any reviews of his films, Kabir said, "I do not seek them out, but I don't avoid them." However, he added, "There is nothing you can learn from them that you don't already know." While the men were playing too cool, it was Zoya who breathed fire. About the accusations of her film being made for the rich people, she declared them to be 'irrelevant'. Zoya also pointed out how one filmmaker had criticised her film for being classist, while giving Johar's film '4 stars'. "Not only does he not know films, he does not have integrity as well," she declared.

All of the directors dissed the new-found habit of 'live tweeting' film reviews calling it a form of 'online piracy'.

Wow! Critics beware! 

The Shah Rukh Khan ignorance

The crossfire round might have been a little dull, but the moment of these directors' 'outsideness' was when they were asked to name three films with Shah Rukh Khan where he played 'Rahul'. For a moment, all three directors looked stumped, before Zoya said 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge'. It looks like Shah Rukh might have some talking to do with Ali the next time they meet.

The best actor and actress choices

As for the best actor, it was pretty simple that Ranbir Kapoor was the clear choice for his performance in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The best actress was a tie between Alia Bhatt and Sonam Kapoor, with Bhatt pipping Kapoor to the post with Ali's vote. In Ali's defence, he hasn't seen 'Neerja'.