Films have to be conversational says Karan Johar

Filmmaker Karan Johar attended Shubhra Gupta’s book launch named ’50 Films That Changed Bollywood’ along with senior film journalist Rajeev Masand on Monday in Mumbai. In a panel discussion, Johar stated that films have to be conversational.

Ranbir Kapoor’s 2009 released film ‘Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year’ acquired cult status in satellite medium but it didn’t work at the box office when it released, talking about the failure of that film at the box-office, Johar said, “It was a very internal film. I feel internal films don’t really work. It was about an issue in an office. Sometimes, it can make very interesting narrative but it doesn’t engulf a large part of the country because they feel it’s too internal. Films have to be conversational. They tend to work in a big way either on a scale that engulfs or a content you get identified with”

Talking about identifying the audience by the filmmakers for their films, Johar said, “Sometimes you don’t need to dress up a film because each time it doesn’t require. You can’t add music to a film like ‘Lunchbox’. It’s not going to help anyway so I think it’s important to identify the audience but we don’t land up doing it. There is a strategy that is what studios abroad, international filmmakers do. They identify the audience and then they go along. We tend to do everything because we think we made a really new film and something unusual, which never helps”

Talking about the current crop of filmmakers, Johar said, “When we talk about the modern day, contemporary, casual, conversational writing, it actually started with ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ in 2001 by Farhan Akhtar. Many filmmakers followed this suit like Zoya Akhtar and Imtiaz Ali. They come from similar space but ‘Dil Chahta hai’ was iconic because he showed a narrative where friends in India actually speak like.”

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“When you talk about the sheer visual appeal, I feel Sanjay Leela Bhansali sets the template. He does what K. Asif did with ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ Hem make us feel like every frame is like a painting. Anurag Kashyap started a movement of sorts and there are many filmmakers inspired by the kind of energy he created”

“Raju Hirani brought the syntax of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee actually had created and then took it forward because after them everyone started going glossy or real but he created common man conversations by catering to very strong middle-class mentality that is what represents us as a nation so I feel these filmmakers are flag bearer of Indian cinema in a certain sense across a different kind of syntax”

He also talked about the year 2001 which changed dynamics of Hindi cinema, he said, “The year 2001 is actually really changed things for us. It gave us ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Gadar’ on the same day and films like ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ ‘Chandin Bar’ and ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’. It was a buffet of entertainment. It’s an iconic year that went across all parameters. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to repeat that year. By the time Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’ had come, I thought I will be a ruling pop of the year and I felt like I am going to sweep award scene but I got nothing but a big fat reality check then I realize you can’t undermine anything because you never know what’s coming”.

Karan Johar lastly directed ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ released in 2016. Karan Johar next is producing Ayan Mukherji’s superhero film starring Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, and Amitabh Bachchan.

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