“The one thing that separates Indian cinema from world cinema is the interval, a unique aspect of Indian cinema that gives us two peeks into the same cinema. Due to this break, the continuity of the film takes a beating, and we have two climaxes. This is one of the reasons why our films falter in the second half. Only a few filmmakers have understood the need to maintain continuity in narrative. But, it’s nice to have a break, to discuss about the film and eat our popcorn”, said filmmaker Karan Johar, who was speaking at the concluding session of the Knowledge Series, on the concluding day of Film Bazaar organised by National Films Development Corporation (NFDC) on the sidelines of 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
Karan Johar produced three hits this year – Hasee to Phasee, 2 States and Humty Sharma Ki Dulhania – all by debutant film directors. He is one of the few producers in the country who not only launches but also mentors young talents.
Till date he has mentored twelve filmmakers and three actors, a fact he is proud of. He said that in the process of mentoring he also gets the chance to learn. “I mentored filmmaker Nikhil Advani, but it is he who taught me technicalities of filmmaking. Then, while working with Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra I received many opinions about scenes from the trio, and they were right!” said Karan, who shares an emotional relationship with his protégées.
Karan Johar said he puts his money into only those projects that he is sure of, which is the reason he is comfortable only with making Hindi films and he has no interest of venturing into regional cinema even though their content is strong. “I understand the ethos of Hindi cinema”, he said.
Talking about the importance of platforming a film well, Johar cited the example of ‘Lunchbox’, an independent cinema he presented. To increase awareness about the film he had suggested adding a tagline to the title, to its filmmaker. “We also included a song from the movie ‘Saajan’ for the very same purpose”, he said.
‘Lunchbox’ became independent commercial cinema’s number one success, earning Rs 22 crores in India alone.
Karan also opined that collaboration between different production houses helps and is the new way forward.
AS A FILMMAKER
Karan Johar, who started his career with the blockbuster ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, said that he makes movies he can relate to and have a story to tell. On this point he confessed that his last movie ‘Student of the Year’ had no story and was purely a fun movie. “I made it because I wanted to connect with the youth. It was my version of a Disney film. I never promise reality in my films”, he said.
GLOBALISATION OF CINEMA
“The eyes of the world are on Indian cinema. However, we need to understand the ethos of the nation we are catering to. My experiences with various studios have taught me to make different posters and trailers for different countries. It is important to know which content will sell in which country”, he said.
Karan Johar is probably the filmmaker who started the trend of official remakes in the country by buying rights of ‘Stepmom’, which he officially remade into ‘We Are Family’. He is now ready with ‘Brothers’, a remake of Warriors. “Remakes should have the ability to transfer the story according to the place, its people, etc. Adaptation is also an art and very few get it right”, said Karan.
“I wish the Censor Board was the final authority. But, that’s not the case. I am fighting court cases based on some ridiculous allegations. I hope with the new government the final authority will remain with the Censor Board”, said Karan, who feels that movies have become a soft target in India. However, films should be responsible for what and how they show, Johar said.