Filmmaker Karan Johar has made a strong statement on Bollywood’s alleged inability to make original content, even criticising himself as part of the industry. In a new interaction, he said that the Hindi film industry lacks the spine and conviction to try original things and often gets stuck in bandwagons and trends.
Karan, who has directed blockbusters like ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, and ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’, compared the industry to all other film industries of India, and what it’s getting wrong in recent years. Sharing his views at a roundtable discussion by Galatta Plus, Karan said, “I think the core issue is that we come from a mainstream industry in Hindi cinema, and that includes myself, which does not have a one very strong quality that every other cinema on this panel has. That is conviction. We kind of always go with the flow. We had such an original voice in Salim-Javed in the 70s.”
He added, “We created a certain character and the concept of that angsty, angry hero was derived in other cinemas. Then, in the 80s, suddenly something happened and there came a host of remakes. That’s where the conviction loss started. We started remaking every film popular in Tamil and Telugu.”
Karan cited how several trends took hold in Bollywood after the success of a tentpole film year after year and said, “In the 90s, there was one love story that stormed the nation—'Hum Aapke Hain Koun’. Everyone, including myself, decided to jump on that love bandwagon, and Shah Rukh Khan was created. But we let go of all our roots in the 70s. Then ‘Lagaan’ was nominated for an Oscar in 2001 and everybody started making those kinds of films. In 2010, ‘Dabangg’ did well and we again started those commercial films. That’s the problem. We actually lack- and I say this more for myself than anyone else- the spine and conviction. That’s what we need to get from all the other industries.”
Karan currently heads Dharma Productions. His last directorial ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil', was released in 2016. He is returning to direction with his next project ‘Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani', which releases in 2023.