Gone are the days of emotional con.
After being continuously let down by directors whom his illustrious company Dharma Productions has nurtured and cultivated to directorial triumph, only to have then walk out on him, Karan Johar has finally stopped being sentimental on these matters.
All his directors are now put on a 3-film contract including Kajol’s cousin Ayaan Mukherjee who has just started directing Wake Up, Sid with Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen-Sharma for Karan.
One would think any member of Karan’s buddy Kajol’s family would qualify as family. But work, now feels Karan, should be kept separate from the heart.
“Barring Rensil d’Silva who’s bound to make just one film with us (because he comes from an established ad world we mutually decided to keep him bound for only one project) all the other directors are bound by 3-film contract.”
Karan gets dreamy. “I’ve my own little Whistling Woods (Subhash Ghai’s film school) in my production house. My endeavour is to establish an academy of directors who won’t just make one movie for us and move on.
I hope they’ll stay with us and make more movies. I want to encourage new-age cinema. I’m really happy to cultivate all this talent.
I’ve had first-time directors starting with Nikhil Advani in Kal Ho Na Ho and Soham Shah in Kaal to Tarun Mansukhani in Dostana, Ayaan Mukherjee in Wake Up, Sid and Rensil D ‘Silva and we’ve just signed Siddharth Malhotra. But one must be professional about work.
Yes, they’re contractually bound to make three films with us. But there’s an inherent loyalty to the banner in them. And I’ve complete faith that these new directors won’t move on from our banner.”
But didn’t he feel the same way about Nikhil Advani and Soham Shah before they moved on? “Shall we move on?” Karan says tersely. “Why can’t we enjoy the positivity. I’m very excited about Ranbir and Konkona as a pair in Ayaan’s film. They’ve an inherently unusual on – screen chemistry.
And now my latest director is Siddharth Malhotra who’s developing a screenplay for us. He’s the late Premnath’s grandson and Prem Kishen son. I’m very friendly to that family. Our families go back a long way.
We really can’t separate personal equations from the professional. I don’t have a biological child. But all the directors who are making films for me are like my children. I give them full freedom to make the films the way they want.
When they go on the sets they take their own energy there. I want directors who have their own voice.”
Dino Morea’s brother Santino is also working with Karan. “He’s my assistant on My Name Is Khan. And Boney Kapoor’s son assisted us on Kal Ho Na Ho. And now David Dhawan’s son Varun is also working with me.
These industry boys are very hardworking. They’ve seen both the ups and downs in the entertainment industry, so they value the opportunities they get.”
Getting emotional again Karan says, “If any of my children want to leave ‘home’ I’ll tear up the contract. But the legalities are important in the current corporate climate.”