Karan Johar says he requested Imtiaz Ali to cast Alia Bhatt in Highway, which required a mature performance in the lead role.
KJo, who launched Alia in his 2012 college drama Student of Year along with Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra, says he did not work much to sharpen the acting skills of these newcomers as he wanted them to be raw.
"I am glad that Imtiaz took Alia for Highway, which is considered one of the best performances of her. But I had to vouch for her to Imtiaz. When I had told him about Alia and requested him to take her in his film, he was not at all sure about her acting prowess after Student of the Year. But I had assured him that she has the capacity to be the lead for his film," Karan said at an event on the sidelines of the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here.
The Koffee With Karan host recalled how excitedly Alia had called him after getting the script of Highway, which also starred Randeep Hooda opposite her.
"Alia had called me to tell that she got a script from Imtiaz for his next project. She told me she is there in every page of the script and she is playing the main lead. I told her to do it," he said.
Post Highway, Alia scaled new career heights with back-to-back hits 2 States and Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania, both produced by Karan and helmed by two new filmmakers.
KJo said collaboration is the way forward in Bollywood to have a good business at the box-office.
"Collaboration is the way forward. I collaborated with new filmmakers in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and Hasee toh Phasee, because we found the scripts engaging and having the potential to do well at the box-office.
"Sometimes you have the resource and they have the screenplay. It's as simple as that. I always say when in doubt collaborate. That's what happens in west, but we shy away from it. We hold our brand values in such a way that we feel we are the statue of liberty. As long as you have given a great film it does not matter how many names are there in the credit stream," he said.
Karan is collaborating next with Karan Malhotra and Rohit Shetty for Brothers and Ram Lakhan remake, respectively.