Twin toddlers, via surrogacy, are Bollywood film-maker Karan Johar's top priority

Indian film-maker Karan Johar, who has more than 20 years of experience in Bollywood, officiates the opening of Madame Tussauds Singapore's new Ultimate Film Star Experience – and meets his wax doppelganger.
Indian film-maker Karan Johar with his wax figure at Madame Tussauds Singapore's new Ultimate Film Star Experience zone.
Indian film-maker Karan Johar with his wax figure at Madame Tussauds Singapore's new Ultimate Film Star Experience zone.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

SINGAPORE - Indian film-maker Karan Johar has more than 20 years of experience in Bollywood and the 46-year-old continues to find new ways to surprise and delight - including featuring Hollywood superstar Will Smith in a dance sequence for his upcoming romantic comedy, Student Of The Year 2.

In a video posted on April 4 on Facebook page Will Smith's Bucket List, the actor gears up for an elaborate Bollywood dance sequence with the film's leads Tiger Shroff, Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday. It also shows him meeting Johar, as well as actor Ranveer Singh, who guides him on how to be a Bollywood hero.

"Will's big desire was to be on a Bollywood dance set and it so happened that Student Of The Year 2 was filming at the time, so it was the perfect synergy of his dream coming true with a film that is (filled with) dance performances," says Johar. He was in Singapore on April 4 for the unveiling of his wax figure at Madame Tussauds Singapore's new Ultimate Film Star Experience zone.

The director, film producer and host of popular celebrity talk show Koffee With Karan (2004 to present), also features prominently in the experience, which immerses visitors in the behind-the-scenes journey of a rising Bollywood star. They get to try on outfits in a dressing room with a wax figure of Madhuri Dixit, participate in an interactive audition with Johar, film a scene with augmented reality and special effects with Shahid Kapoor and practice dance moves with Varun Dhawan.

The current wax figures in the zone are the first in a line up of Bollywood A-listers that will be expanded gradually over the course of the year.

Johar was in Singapore just hours after the trailer for his next film, Kalank (Blemish), was released.

The period drama, set between 1946 and 1948 when India and Pakistan were in the midst of partition, features a star-studded ensemble cast including the likes of Dixit, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur and Sanjay Dutt.

He also served as producer on Kalank, due to be released April 17.

Putting together the cast was the fun part, according to Johar.

"This is a film I was meant to direct 15 years ago, and 15 years later, this is the best cast we could have had," he says, describing it as a film about "relationships and love on a dramatic scale, with beautiful visuals, but also a very intense soul".

There seems to be no stopping the film-maker. Best known for films revolving around love and family - like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Something Happens, 1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (Sometimes There's Happiness, Sometimes There's Sorrow, 2001) and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (O Heart, It Is Difficult, 2016).

Yet another upcoming project is Takht (Throne), which is slated for release next year.

Befitting the epic scale of the film, which is set in the era of the Mughal empire, the cast boasts names like Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Anil Kapoor.

Contrary to rumours circulating in Indian media however, his godson Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, will not be involved.

"He is not assisting, co-directing or acting in Takht at all - there is no truth to that story," Johar says.

For all the movies on his plate, his biggest priority is his pair of two-year-old twins, Roohi and Yash, who were born through surrogacy. He keeps his private life under wraps but is happy to talk about them.

"I always felt that a love story evaded me until I had my two babies," he says. "I wish I'd brought them here today, but they may have broken the statue of me."