December 20, 2002 
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Jaya Bachchan
'I can never say no to Karan Johar'
Jaya Bachchan stars in his next production

Subhash K Jha

The last time we saw Jaya Bachchan on screen was in Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham where she played Amitabh Bachchan's wife, a role she has enacted in real life for more than a quarter of a century.

The next year, she was busy with To Be Or Not To Be, a biography of Big B, which she presented to him on his 60th birthday.

2003 will see her in a Karan Johar production, Kal Ho Na Ho, scripted by the director and directed by his associate Nikhil Advani.

Says Jaya, "When Nikhil asked me to play Preity Zinta’s mother I was not sure whether I wanted to do the role. But he offered me a bait that I just could not resist -- he said he wanted to make a film in the tradition of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Gulzar. That clinched the deal. As you know, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Gulzar are my favourite directors!"

The actress, who has been constantly searching for meaty roles, was seen in two films in 2001 -- Vinay Shukla's Koi Mere Dil Se Pooche and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. While the former was a critical and commercial disappointment, Johar’s film was a winner and it fetched Jaya the Filmfare award for the best actress in supporting role.

Says she, "I can never say no to Karan Johar. I know he will ensure I am presented well."

If the film had gone according to plan, Jaya would have played Kareena Kapoor’s mother in Kal Ho Na Ho. Kareena had been signed to star opposite Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan. However, a dispute over remuneration ended the Kareena-Karan friendship. Today, the two are not even on talking terms. As for Preity, she readily grabbed the part at a reduced price.


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