Jawan marked Atlee’s Hindi cinema debut. The director attended India Today Conclave Mumbai 2023 on Thursday, where he spoke about the success of his Shah Rukh Khan-starrer. Atlee also spoke about his first meeting with Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) in 2013, and how the actor did not know him and he was introduced as ‘South India’s Karan Johar’. When Atlee was asked whether Karan Johar should be called the ‘Atlee of Hindi cinema’ instead, the filmmaker spoke about how, unlike Karan, he does action films.
Karan was indirectly part of Atlee-SRK’s 1st meeting
Talking about his old picture with Shah Rukh Khan from an awards show, Atlee said, “This image was taken in 2013. I won the best debutant director award down South. Shah Rukh sir was there to promote ‘Chennai Express’. I told his manager that I wanted a picture with him. He did not know who I was at that time. My friend introduced me as South India’s Karan Johar. He laughed and he hugged.”
‘Atlee of Hindi cinema’
The filmmaker responded after he was asked about his comparison with Karan Johar, and said, “I started with South films that’s why people called me ‘South Indian Karan Johar’. I do action films and I love Karan sir. He really pushed me to do this Hindi film (Jawan). But please don’t say that.”
At the event, Atlee also opened up about the north vs south cinema debate. The filmmaker said that cinema doesn’t have any kind of classification. He said that when we all sit in a theatre, we don’t know who is sitting next to us, what they are or where they are from, adding ‘that respect should be there in the making process also’.
Directed by Atlee and produced by Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, Jawan was released on September 7 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages. Other than Shah Rukh, the film also features Nayanthara and Vijay Sethupathi in lead roles, and Deepika Padukone in a special appearance, along with Sanya Malhotra, Priyamani, Girija Oak, Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, Lehar Khan, Aaliyah Qureshi, Ridhi Dogra and Sunil Grover.
Speaking at the recent India Today event about how the pan-Indian vision for Jawan came from Shah Rukh, Atlee said the actor ‘felt it should be a national film and a national collaboration of culture’. He further thanked the audience and said they ‘know what is good and what is bad’. Atlee added that ‘certain classifications should be eradicated’ and whoever is making films should be called Indian filmmakers and national filmmakers.