Filmmaker Karan Johar, who has delivered his biggest blockbusters with actor Shah Rukh Khan, wants to battle the superstar phenomenon and says young talent needs to be empowered.
“It’s the age of the youth. It’s the age of young talent — directorial, acting and even production houses are going on that path now. We have such few superstars that we need to empower the youth in every sphere. We can’t keep making movies with the same eight to 10 people that we have been working with. We need that eight to become 80 for us to be empowered,” Johar said in an interview with select journalists.
The filmmaker has worked with Khan in all his directorial ventures — Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and My Name Is Khan.
But he has provided a platform to new directors by allowing them to make films under his banner Dharma Production. Amongst the fresh talent he has roped in are Tarun Mansukhani (Dostana), Ayan Mukherjee (Wake Up Sid) and Rensil D’Silva (Kurbaan).
Last year, his banner released three films and two of them — I Hate Luv Stories and We Are Family — were again directed by first timers Punit Malhotra and Siddharth Malhotra respectively. The third one was My Name Is Khan.
“I’m actually quite inspired by Yash Raj Films who did a tremendous thing by launching a film like Band Bajaa Baraat. We saw Vikramaditya Motwane’s success with Udaan. We need many more Band Bajaa Baraat and many more Udaan to combat the superstar phenomenon,” said Johar, 38.
But isn’t Bollywood known for its stars? Then why combat it? “I’m a part of that process. We created stars and I work with superstars, but we can’t make an industry out of just five people, we need 50. That’s what I’m trying to say,” he explained.
“We need many more superstars in an industry which is so large. We are grateful and thankful that we have talents like Aamir (Khan), Salman (Khan), Hrithik (Roshan) — they are geniuses, brilliant and absolutely the masters of their game. But if we have many more masters then our game just improves,” he added.
Johar feels the $2 billion Indian film industry needs support from the government to solve the problems that the industry is facing.”
“The film industry is something that needs to be acknowledged on a larger industry level when it comes to Indian policies that are made, whether it’s in the budget or otherwise. I believe that we definitely need that focus from the higher authorities to give us that support. We provide tremendous entertainment and now we need support to help us at turbulent times,” said the director.
Specifying the problems that have dogged the industry, Johar said: “We have many problems, piracy is an issue, now copyright is also an issue that needs to be addressed from our perspective very strongly. There are many other things in the world of digital technology.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2011.