Two ways misconceptions about Bollywood can be changed: Karan Johar

Indian films still being labelled as a song-and-dance routine in the global circuit makes Karan Johar very sad about the perception of Bollywood. 

The director-producer feels such misconceptions about the country’s cinema hinder its growth internationally. Citing examples of acclaimed movies such as Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Secret Superstar and Bareilly Ki Barfi,  feels Indian films have much more to offer than the “cliched sequences”. He says the entertainment industry needs to come together to promote its films as a platter which serves to everyone’s preferences. 

“I feel very sad when I still see people across the globe having this misconception about Indian cinema that it is all about song and dance. This stereotypical view about our films can only be changed when we as part of the entertainment industry go out and tell people that we have much more to offer in terms of storytelling and content than just actors dancing around trees. India cinema is a victim of misconceptions on global circuit. The way Aamir’s (Khan) films have been performing in China proves that we can make a huge mark globally. But only dialogue initiated by our filmmakers and actors can bring about this change,” Karan told PTI in a telephonic interview from Berlin.

So, the question is, what does Karan think he can do to bring about a change in this perception? What makes him decide on the type of film he makes? Script? Subject? Starcast?

Karan says that only the audience in him decides the kind of film he is working on and he never picks a project as a “strategist”. The director is considered as one of the most popular Indian directors globally, with his array of exotic locales and elaborate sets, serving goodies to satisfy all the senses of the viewers. He feels if filmmakers from the country want to be visible on international platform they need to be more proactive towards their work.




There are mainly two reasons for such misconceptions. Firstly, he says, filmmakers need to be more proactive. “To make their cinema visible globally filmmakers and actors have to get up and do things on their own. I traveled the world to speak about my cinema…Everybody has a responsibility to make India visible globally. It is important that a filmmaker develop a voice and act on that. They can’t just sit in offices and think that they are making a big movement in cinema… They aren't actually. They need to go out speak about their cinema and the country they produce films in. What I am doing… I believe all of us (filmmakers) should be doing it,” he says.




Secondly, content needs to be globally relatable. The director has made films such as 'My Name is Khan' and 'Yeh Jawani Hay Deewani' that highlight global issues of racism, discrimination and coming-of-age love that has been a hit internationally.  He says, “I am all about content. All I am doing as producer is looking at films which have world language. It is about picking films that speak global language and that can only happen when the content appeals to the masses superseding the language barrier.”

Bollywood, with its potential and leverage, can become the mirror for India. It can succeed by being the social conscience of India also, highlighting concerns of various regional and income groups, literacy levels and also at a policy-making level. 

Karan's production house, Dharma Productions, is churning out four big movies this year - Drive, Raazi, Kesari and Brahmastra.