Tuesday, January 31, 2023
After five decades, Indian cinema re-enters golden period: Karan Johar

With new ideas, new energy and new talent, the Indian film industry is entering the golden period of cinema it left behind five decades ago, says Karan Johar, one of India's most formidable commercial filmmakers.

"The Indian film industry has changed leaps and bounds over 10 years... there's new energy, new ideas, new ideologies being represented... so much immense talent. We are entering the golden period of cinema which we left behind five decades ago and I think we are going to attain that status very soon," Karan told IANS in an interview.

"We have come a long way from being perceived as a song-and-dance filmmaking nation to a filmmaking nation that has truly gone global. It's been a great journey for our industry," said the 38-year-old whose Dharma Productions is one of Bollywood's most successful production companies.

In the last decade, Karan's own style of filmmaking has evolved - from the effervescent college romance "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai" in 1998 to the distinctly different "My Name Is Khan" in 2010 that reached out to a global audience with its complex and contemporary theme of post-9/11 America.

Both had the same cast - Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. The first was wildly popular and still seen in countless re-runs, while the other about the autistic man received critical acclaim and was a hit in the overseas market. Either way, Karan had demonstrated then and now that he has a finger on the pulse of an increasingly demanding audience.

In between, he has also produced films like "Dostana", "Wake Up Sid" and "Kurbaan" - each different in mood and theme, and far removed from designer family dramas like "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham".

Clearly, Karan, who was in the capital Wednesday to host the Chivas Studio Spotlight as the brand ambassador of Chivas Regal, likes to keep his offerings varied.

After the intense "My Name Is Khan", Dharma Productions is now ready with the Imran Khan-Sonam Kapoor-starrer "I Hate Luv Storys", with dollops of romance and aimed at the young at heart.

"I am so looking forward to 'I Hate Luv Storys'. It releases July 2. It is a fresh pairing. It's an exciting young film by a debut director (Punit Malhotra). It's a young, popcorn fun film with lots of love and mush and all the stuff that Dharma Productions has always stood for. We had deviated (with 'My Name Is Khan'), but are now back at it again," he said with a grin.

Up next in Karan's production ventures after "I Hate Luv Storys" will be the Indian adaptation of Chris Columbus' 1998 comedy drama "Stepmom". It is a heartwarming tale about a divorcee coping with the new woman in her ex-husband's life and the problems they face to find a common ground of understanding.

The Hindi remake has been directed by Siddharth Malhotra and features actors Kareena Kapoor, Kajol and Arjun Rampal.

"The adaptation of 'Stepmom' is ready for release in October, but we haven't titled it yet. We are hoping we have a brainwave of a title soon," said Karan.

The sequel to "Dostana" is ready to roll in August; a remake of his father's 1990 hit "Agneepath" is also in the pipeline. What's the update?

"As for the 'Agneepath' remake, we are waiting to cast it before we launch it. The script is ready; we are just giving it finishing touches before we approach the lead actors."

Any actors in mind?

"Of course they are on our mind... but we are not going to reveal them to you," he signed off.

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