Time to combat superstar phenomenon — Karan Johar

Filmmaker Karan Johar, who has delivered his biggest blockbusters with Shah Rukh Khan, wants to battle the superstar phenomenon and says young talent needs to be empowered.

By Ruchika Kher

“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… because we can’t keep making movies with the same eight-10 people that we have been doing work with. We need that eight to become 80 for us to be empowered,” Karan Johar said in an interview with select journalists.

The filmmaker has worked with Shah Rukh in all his directorial ventures — Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and My Name Is Khan.

But he has been providing a platform to new directors by allowing them to make films under his banner Dharma Production. Amongst the freshers 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 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.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the three-day FICCI-Frames conclave, an annual media and entertainment industry event that kicked off recently.

According to a report released at the conclave here, the Indian media and entertainment industry registered an 11 percent growth in 2010 to touch Rs.652 billion ($14 billion). But the year was a challenging one for the film industry.

With better content, an increase in multiplexes, investment in research and continued cost corrections, the industry was estimated to grow from Rs.83 billion to Rs.132 billion by 2015, said the report prepared jointly by FICCI and global consultancy KPMG.

Johar, also co-chairman of the FICCI entertainment committee, feels the $2 billion Indian film industry needs support from government to solve 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 the support of people in the political world to help us go through 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.”

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