'My films are like a guilty pleasure'
Johar, who is known for directing blockbusters such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, has just inked a multi-year broad content deal with Netflix
Filmmaker Karan Johar says he considers his films to be a "guilty pleasure" for his audiences and is "unapologetically and unabashedly" obsessed with the mainstream trappings of storytelling, something he promises to continue in his content for Netflix.
Johar, who has just inked a multi-year broad content deal with the streaming giant, said the global reaction to his 27-minute film as part of the collective 'Lust Stories' on Netflix made him realise there is much "outside of our country that is interested in us and the stories we tell".
A viewership revolution is just around the corner with the growth of OTT (over the top) platforms and it would be foolish to miss it, said the man behind Dharma Productions and its digital arm Dharmatic.
Viewership habits have actually evolved and changed over the last decade even in India, he said, adding that Netflix is just the tip of the iceberg.
"There is a major viewership explosion that's around the corner and I can't wait to actually be a part of that movement," Johar said.
Johar, who is known for directing Bollywood blockbusters such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai , Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, and My Name is Khan and is also a successful mainstream producer, TV host and chat show anchor, said one cannot live insularly at a time of global content revolution.
"Even when we attempt to do different stuff, there's always a certain kind of quality that we try to project. Now we might hit it or miss it, but the endeavour is always to create high quality, superior content, and the kind of material that can be viewed not just in your country but even beyond that."
"It's great to go global with your content and never live insularly and pretend like we are just living within the boundaries of our beautiful country... I think it's platforms like Netflix that empower you to do just that," he added.
Johar added that he will do it in the style that he knows best because he has realised that people may like him or hate him, but they simply can't ignore him.
"I never see anyone but myself whenever I put out content, and even when it comes to digital, everybody has an impression that you can go wild, sexy or edgy, but let's not forget that there's organic storytelling that still needs to be told. There's a large audience that needs to watch really strong narratives.
I've always been unapologetically and unabashedly obsessed with the mainstream trappings of storytelling, and that's what I want to do in digital as well, he said.
People often come up to him and almost embarrassedly admit that they have watched his debut film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai over 100 times, a feeling they would not get for a film like Lagaan, Johar said.
Some view my content as fluff and some have looked at it as romanticised. I will always get those diverse reactions and opinions about what I put out. But I always say, you can hate me, you can love me but you cannot be indifferent to me, and I hope you won't be indifferent to the content we create.
I've always said I'm like your guilty pleasure. So this guilty pleasure mode is what I hope to bring on to the OTT platform as well. And so there will be stuff that, I think, everyone will watch but pretend not to.
The director believes the fear that digital revolution will eat into cinema has been replaced by hope for a new future.
What is happening is that digital platforms empower one very strong entity in the creative industry and that's our writers. Writers have been empowered the maximum in this space. In the last four or five years, the content in cinema has improved and that happened only because the writers are empowered elsewhere, they come with that empowerment and do better work even in cinema.
There's been an increase in footfalls, in the number of people visiting cinema halls, which is largely due to the digital revolution. One is helping the other and empowering the other and it's a win-win situation for the media and entertainment industry.
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