"everyone, including myself, decided to jump on the bandwagon"
Karan Johar broke down the main issues within Bollywood, revealing details about how he calculates a film’s chances of success.
The filmmaker explained that while “normalcy” has returned to cinemagoing across Indian film industries, Bollywood is experiencing problems.
He said: “What’s happening in Hindi, the major belts — and I’m going to get slightly technical so that everybody understands — Mumbai and Delhi, which account for 60% to 70% of the number that comes in, they haven’t been behaving as consistently as they were pre-pandemic.
“So, what has been working is only the spectacle films, even if they’re dubbed films.
“The market has been behaving very erratically… Always know, if the heartland and Gujarat step on board, there’s nothing stopping you.
“The moment those two territories are distant from your film, you can never do a very large number.
“So, Gujarat, and CPCI Rajasthan have to step on board, and that’s just how the business model works.”
He said that in the past, Bollywood filmmakers used to be trendsetters but when they began making remakes of South Indian hits in the 1980s, they became trend-chasers.
Karan Johar continued: “After Hum Aapke Hain Koun, everyone, including myself, decided to jump on the bandwagon of love, and Shah Rukh Khan was created.
“We let go of all our roots from the 70s, and in 2001 when Lagaan was nominated for an Academy Award, we were like, ‘Oh, now we’ll do these kind of films’ right up till the 2010s.
“My Name is Khan is still a root of Lagaan, in my head, which released alongside Dabangg, which again (changed trends) and people were like, ‘Now let’s start making commercial films again’.
“That’s the problem, we actually lack the spine and lack the conviction…”
Singling out the films starring Amitabh Bachchan, written by Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar (Salim-Javed), Karan said that their style was mimicked across the nation. But Hindi cinema turned its back on Salim-Javed’s films.
“We, who should be very grateful to Salim saab and Javed saab, we let go of that cinema and went to Switzerland.”
The filmmaker said in the current climate, he cannot justify the costs that would go into a film starring newcomers.
Noting that 8,000 people turning up to a shopping centre to see the actors does not translate to 80 people buying tickets to watch their films in the cinema, Karan added:
“It’s pointless to market these films.”