It’s now true that Karan Johar really has the formula to get the crowds into the theatres by the very brand that he has created. From his first film to the last one, he has been consistent and how. Not the one to feel embarrassed or apologetic, he openly declares that his markets lie on the other side of the seven seas. Indian audiences love his films but the passion that the Indians living abroad have for his films is certainly insurmountable. They love the drama, they love the larger than life sets, they relate to the cultures and traditions (that some of the upper middle class Indians have forgone), they are overwhelmed by the festivity and are startled by the fashionable and sometimes OTT wardrobes (he turned wardrobe designer with Dil To Pagal Hai)of the cast. The family system, the song sequences, the tear jerking scenes, the patent dialogues, it all touches a nerve and works like a baby. How he does it, is a big mystery but here is an alchemist who turns nothing into gold, whether you love him or hate him, he is here for good and his movies will roll the moolah in.
The beginning of the Transition
His upcoming film as a producer, I Hate LUV Storys, is more than just talked about on the social networking site. The man is all out to promote it and it shows that he is making a serious effort to divert from his usual style. He did that right after Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. It was a conscious choice that he made with the demise of his dad. He went out to say that his belief in forever after and all things love stories, is a thing of past. Yash Johar wasn’t just a dad to Karan Johar, he was also a guiding light for his first two films Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, which went on to be mega hits of their respective year of release.
The last film to come out of Dharma Productions before Yash Johar’s demise was one on death and loss of a loved one titled Kal Ho Naa Ho. A huge success. After such an enormous personal loss, Karan wanted to make meaningful films, that had a message and showed reality. Out came from Dharma productions Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, which was far from being a popcorn romantic film. Instead it spoke of extra marital affairs. The film, though controversial in its own way, was another feather in the cap for KJo. Dharma Productions then came out with the likes of Dostana. Far from being larger than life family drama, it was glitzy, glamorous and even had a take on homosexuality, though in a comic way. Wake Up Sid, was another young, hep film about youth and growing up.
The next film that Karan wrote and produced was Kurbaan, based on terrorism which something extremely Non-Karan, if I can take liberty with English language. Kurbaan is a story that had little to do with love, romance, family and the jazz, and a lot more with racism, terrorism and the serious and global issue of xenophobia. There was certain scepticism from KJo fans as they wondered how the God of screen romance had suddenly changed sides, was it an effect of recession? Kurbaan had mixed reviews; where there was comparison with then released New York starring John Abraham, Katrina Kaif and Neil Nitin Mukesh, there were others who thought that Karan had lost his touch.
Then came the Winner
Undeterred KJo came with My Name Is Khan. It came with a lot of hype. It was the first big film of 2010, SRK and Karan came together after 4 years, while the winning jodi of SRK and Kajol came onscreen after 9 years. Shah Rukh’s detainment at the American airport had a lot of people talking about racism which was of course the main plot of the MNIK, and last but not the least it was after all a “Karan Johar film”. Fear and anxiety was an unwanted company for both KJo and SRK as they wondered how the film would fare. KJo was obviously out of his comfort zone with a film dealing with the state of Asians and Muslims in the west and also there was tremendous pressure due to high expectations from the audiences. The film did enormous business and got Karan raving reviews and where everyone thought he would carry on with his newly acquired love for the serious issues plaguing the world, he once again took a U turn and announced he is going back to doing what he does best, making love stories.
Back to square one or is it?
Good news Bad news who knows, but the truth being Karan Johar was recently in New York looking for inspiration on the streets of the Big Apple. And one of his tweets from there read, “Have been walking streets and avenues…hoping the aimless strolls results in a burst of creativity!! Need to find a film this trip!!” It should be no surprise as his movies target the film fanatics of the west, inspiration must come from there as well. From London to New York, with the change in style of filmmaking, KJo has changed his destination for inspiration as well. Along with his pals, Gauri Khan and Sussanne Roshan, KJo even attended the premiere of Kites. Karan tweeted “The girl gang from mumbai have arrived in nycity!! Gauri and Sussanne walking 5th avenue is the sex and the city sequel before the release.”
However, back in the city, Karan is back to business, busy promoting his next rom-com I Hate LUV Storys, with which he’ll launch another new filmmaker, Punit Malhotra. He also has many more young filmmakers making their debut in coming months under Dharma’s banner. Maybe it’s his ability to move ahead with time and make movies that suit sensibilities of people of all ages makes Karan one of the most successful filmmakers in India.