Stalking Dharma Productions!

15 11 2012

Just because we slacked on blogging here doesn’t mean our devotion to K Jo subsided one bit.  On the contrary, we have been following his movies, interviews, and appearances and hoping earnestly for a new season of Koffee With Karan!

It had been six years since I had been to India, so I thought it was about time I made a trip.  I booked a hotel room in Khar West for my Mumbai stay with the hope of chancing upon K Jo in the hood.  Just about a week before I was set to leave, Hiroo booked his ticket to India as well! (A small backstory: Hiroo and I met in the summer of 2009 at the W Hotel in San Francisco.  We knew that SRK and Kajol were there too, but we were there with the sole purpose of stalking Karan Johar because of his fun and dynamic personality as seen in Koffee With Karan, and the level of romantic delusion he had embedded in us.  Hiroo and my sister Anjoo and I have bonded closely over these last three years largely due to our common love for K Jo.)  Being that we would have five overlapping days in Bombay, one thing was clear: we would have to make an active effort to meet K Jo!

We decided that Monday, November 12 might be a good day to take our chance with dropping into the Dharma Productions office.  It was the day before Diwali, so perhaps K Jo would not be too stressed or busy and would just be in the process of having mithai sent to his colleagues.  We figured he would roll into the office late after some pre-Diwali partying, so we headed to the Dharma Productions office around 12:30pm.  To our surprise, nobody made any inquiries to us at the gate.  Similarly, once inside, we were allowed to get into the elevator with no hassle, and up to the second floor, the home of Dharma Productions.  We couldn’t believe we were actually in the elevator to go to Dharma Productions!  This was the elevator K Jo and Manish and so many others we adore had been in regularly!  But, I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised.  This is really where we belong!

Once we entered the reception area, Hiroo asked the receptionist if Karan Johar was in.  She replied that he was not, and asked our names.  She seemed taken aback when Hiroo said his name, and Hiroo assured her that it truly was his name, and explained that we were fans from California that had participated in MNIK, and we wanted to wish K Jo a happy Diwali.  She offered to let us take a seat, repeating that she was not sure if K Jo would be in the office.  Several people past by, seeming amused and/our puzzled by our presence.  We were offered water and tea. A man eventually came and advised us that K Jo would not be coming in that day and was probably sleeping after the previous night’s party.  He asked if we had our cards, but we did not.

We left the office, but not the building; Hiroo had read a K Jo tweet mentioning that Costa Coffee downstairs was sort of like an unofficial Dharma office.  So we got some iced beverages and hung out outside, since Hiroo’s friend was going to drop by there anyway.  Some homeless children asked us for money, so we went inside to buy them sandwiches.  As we were coming out, Hiroo caught sight of a black Jaguar pulling into the gate, and people getting all on guard and saying things like “Saab aa gaye.”  Oh my God, was it K Jo?!  Indeed, it was.

Hiroo and I gave K Jo a few minutes to settle in before getting back into the building, into the lift, and onto the second floor.  “Hi,” we smiled broadly at the receptionist, “Is Karan here?”  She confirmed that he was and asked us to take a seat.  An assistant came and informed us that he would not be able to meet with us. “Please do something!” we begged, and she said she would try.  A few minutes later, Garima, who we understand to be K Jo’s direct assistant, quite sternly told us that it would not be possible for us to meet with K Jo.  We explained that all we wanted to do was meet him for two minutes and wish him Happy Diwali, and she said he was too busy with a meeting and would not be able to do this.  We were so sad!  Since we were not budging, she finally said we could write letters to him, and offered us some pen and paper.  She also asked if we wanted tea or water.

While in the midst of writing our letters, we heard K Jo talking very loudly from just about ten feet away, but with a damn wall between us.  I heard “Oh God!” and some imitation of someone saying “Hello Aunty!”  What was this about? What a tease! Or was it his way of providing auditory darshan since he could not meet us? Or did it have nothing to do with us and we are just being delusional by thinking it did?

Anyway, we both got a chance to express our adoration of K Jo in our letters, which hopefully have been duly provided to him.  I had my contact information at the bottom of my letter and have been checking each possible form of contact in earnest, but nothing yet. :\  I can just hear K Jo say, “Oh God, these guys are mad!” while knowing in his heart that we are truly meant to be best friends.  If you read this, K Jo, we are grateful to your staff for their hospitality, but it’s time to stop retweeting your haters and start embracing your faithfully devoted benevolent stalkers!  I am in the country until November 29, and Hiroo until some time in December, and any time you want us to come to Mumbai, we will be there in a whiff and bring a box of macarons to share with you!




Meeting Shibani Bathija!

25 05 2010

Last night, the SKJ team had the joy and privilege of attending an Authors@Google talk featuring Shibani Bathija (screenwriter of MNIK, KANK, Fanaa, and Kidnap for you clueless kids!). We watched the soon-to-be-released American edit of MNIK, which was followed by a Q&A with Shibz.

The main question on my mind with respect to the edits was, “What about Mama Jenny?” Part of me hoped to see her in her full Aunt Jemima glory, and part of that hope stemmed from my inability to imagine a seamless narrative flow if that chunk were to be removed. But, to make a spoiler short, the MNIK team magically made it work. There was at least one scene in the original that I think would have been powerful to retain (demonstrating a Hindu hotel owner’s fear and prejudice toward Muslims), but I think the end product maintains the integrity of Bollywood in its telling of a beautiful love story, while also making a timely (and timeless!) statement about how hope can conquer fear.

It was wonderful to sit in the Q&A and listen to Shibz’s very eloquent remarks on her motivations and experiences as a writer in general, and for MNIK in particular. One gentleman could not hear enough of his own voice and repeatedly assaulted Shibz with what he perceived as logical inconsistencies in the storyline. Shibz addressed his surly interrogations in a good-natured manner, acknowledging his point of view as valid but explaining some Psych 101 with respect to the fact that characters, like real people, don’t always act logically; and with respect to the liberties that were taken and indeed need to be taken at different stages of the creative process.

We were thrilled to be able to speak with Shibz after the event and pose for photographs, surrounding her and grinning in our Stalker shirts. It was evident that she would be our new BFF, were she to spend more time in the Bay, which seems rather likely!


Stalking Karan Johar infiltrates the airwaves!

22 02 2010

Produced by Pravasvani, “LRK: Bollywood, Immigration, and Beyond” is a new radio program taking place every Thursday from 10am-11am in much of Northern California, on 1170AM. Last Thursday, 2/18, LRK, Sheks, and Anjoo held a little roundtable discussion on MNIK. Check it out!

Stalking Karan Johar in The Times of India!

22 01 2010

In delirium, I was checking my Gmail through my phone one morning, and I saw that someone named Garima had sent me a message through MySpace. I logged in to MySpace, curiously, and was surprised to see that she claimed to be from The Times of India and had navigated to my page through Stalking Karan Johar, and wanted to ask some questions for an article.

The Times of India?!!! Was this a joke?

We stalkers had — partially in delusional jest, and partially with honest belief — speculated that K Jo’s eyes would fall upon our blog at some point through someone on his team either Googling their way in or being told about it by someone else who had — after all, we are not just any groupies. We are intellectual groupies. We’re cool, articulate, and witty, and just the type of stalkers that anybody would be honored to have. It’s, like, the most mutually beneficial PR ever!

What do you know? Garima turned out to be fully legit, and she had been informed about our blog by someone on the team of MNIK, and she said Karan was flattered! And she hadn’t contacted us as part of a larger story about K Jo’s fans or about MNIK, but the story was specifically about us! She sent me her list of questions, and I rapidly shared them with the co-stalkers, compiled them, and zipped them over to her along with some photos.

Check out the article, here!

epaper version here

We Made It!

26 12 2009

As should be evident from the previous entry, we stalkers actually made it into the movie, and had an amazing time. We will eventually write out our accounts of the actual extra experience, as employees of Karma Productions (the US division of Dharma Productions; we were kind of disappointed the paycheck wasn’t issued by “Dharma Productions” ;P). Below is a still from the trailer found on the MNIK website; we perseveringly re-watched and paused it about 65 times until we could identify our little crew. 😉 Trivia: Though the building says “Atlanta General Hospital,” this scene was actually filmed at the Buck Institute in Novato, California.


The SKJ Photo Extravaganza!

7 07 2009

Within a matter of weeks, we went from stalkers to extras! Here are photographs from the SF stalking on June 7, and from the filming on June 21. Click to enlarge!

Kabhi Alvida Nahi Kahenge – June 7, 2009

30 06 2009

After taking Saturday off from stalking, I ambitiously decided to scope out the W on Sunday morning with my sister Anjoo, figuring there would be fewer co-stalkers that would persevere in such a manner, and we might have easier access to our favorite Bollywood peeps in a more relaxed state. We put on our favorite springtime dresses, and on the ride over, Anjoo kept emphasizing that she did NOT want to be identifiable as a stalker.

Once again, we found rock star parking, and proceeded to take a seat in the lobby. The bar was not yet open at 9:00am, so we merely sat with our legs crossed, hands vacantly folded on our laps, and eyes pointed unwaveringly at the elevators. We were the only ones seated in the area.

After about ten minutes, we spotted a Desi man enter through the front door and walk toward the elevator with a tray from Starbucks, containing one drink. The man wore a cap, glasses, and some sort of army uniform jacket. It seemed odd that the man would be carrying only one cup on the tray, and he seemed to walk with a definite purpose and a strikingly erect posture — “the posture of servitude,” Anjoo called it. The man had to be a lower-tiered member of the crew. We decided to refer to him as “SRK’s butler.” The information was mentally filed as we kept a look out for more.

And then — lo and behold! — through the door coming in from XYZ came Manish Malhotra, looking hot and stylish as ever! Anjoo and I immediately sprang up, and Anjoo held up her camera as I proceeded to walk toward him.

Manish, looking mildly alarmed, politely stated, “I’m just going to the bathroom. You’ll be here, right? I’ll just be back.”

“Dammit,” I remarked, wistfully watching him make his way through the bathroom. “What if he doesn’t come back? What if he finds some other exit, or crawls out through the bathroom window to avoid us?”

He did come back though! Only to then say, “I’ll just finish my breakfast and come back.”

D’oh! Paranoid thoughts again ran through my head.

Dependable Manish did make a timely return, though, and we both got to shake his hand and take photographs with him. He is truly gorgeous!

With quite an accomplishment under our belts already, we were ambivalent about whether to stay further, or press our luck even more. SRK, Kajol, and K Jo might still be in the hotel and have to head out, after all, if SRK’s butler had just taken up the Starbucks. However, we were getting really hungry too, so we thought we’d stop for breakfast in XYZ. Maybe we’d get to sit at the same table where Manish had just sat! Or maybe other members of the crew would be there! Or maybe we could at least stalk more infoz out of the servers.

Nobody was seen in XYZ, but we had a rather pleasant brunch, and found out from our server that lots of Desi groupies had been coming to the bar lately, and the ones with minor children were unfortunately having to be regulated.

We took our seats back in the lobby, and a few minutes later, SRK’s butler was seen again! He had descended from the elevator, and flashed a wide smile at us, probably able to tell how much we revered him. We asked him if he was associated with MNIK, and he confirmed that he was SRK’s personal assistant. Ah-ha! He said he would just be back in five minutes to talk to us more, and then he made his way up the elevator.

Five minutes turned into ten, ten into thirty, thirty into forty-five, and then Anjoo and I decided we should give him a time limit. We decided to give him another thirty, and he made it back with about five minutes to spare.

We chatted him up in Hindi for a bit and took photos with him — Subhash was his name, and he had been with SRK for 14 years. He said that SRK had left that morning around 10:30 (d’oh! Just when we were inside XYZ!), and that the shooting was somewhere close by, but he didn’t know exactly where.

Content with all our progress, Anjoo and I decided to head back to our condo. However, Anjoo made a wrong turn somewhere, and then another while trying to correct her route — and would you flippin’ believe that we ran into the shooting, on 7th & Townsend!! “The shoot! The shoot!” Anjoo exclaimed ecstatically. Talk about the universe conspiring. We parked and hopped on over to the set, finding ourselves right next to Manish Malhotra. “Hello again,” Anjoo smiled bashfully, and Manish nodded back with a sympathetic grin.

We were forced to cross the street and join an array of other groupies, but we had quite a clear view of Karan Johar, SRK, AND Kajol! We were just so thrilled with our fortune that we didn’t mind watching SRK enact the same scene over and over and over again, walking to the street corner with furrowed eyebrows and a hulking backpack, and bending over.

Then we saw a huddle of people walking away from the scene, including Manish, and Kajol, and someone carrying an umbrella over Kajol’s head. “Let’s follow them!” I exclaimed. However, we lost them by the time we were able to cross the street and get into the car.

We never would have suspected that the future would hold even more promise…