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Karan Johar: Bollywood not a spin-off of Hollywood

Filmmaker Karan Johar says Bollywood is self-sufficient and is the only film industry that has not needed Hollywood backing.

Karan Johar
Karan Johar

The 43-year-old "Student of the Year," director said he feels proud that Indian actors and actresses are able to make a mark in Hollywood.

"I do not think, they (Hollywood stars) could do very much in our cinema. I am proud that there are more eyeballs to Indian actors and actress in Hollywood. This makes me feel proud of their achievements," Johar said in response to a question on the success of Priyanka Chopra in the American film industry.

The filmmaker was scheduled to deliver key note address on "The # (Hashtag) Democracy" at the annual Indian Conference 2016 of the Harvard University. He instead opted to address Indian students at a jam-packed auditorium at the Harvard Kennedy School on the Indian film industry.

"India is one of the leading film making nations of the world. It is the only kind of film industry of the world that has never needed any kind of Hollywood money or from the outside. We are self-sufficient. We have a great domestic film economy. We stand tall.

"They (Hollywood) came to India. All of them, Fox, Disney and when they came to India. I met them and told them things work differently in Bollywood. We are a proud film making nation," he said.

The producer-director said, "Bollywood sell dreams like no one does," but agreed that the Indian film industry does not acknowledge the writers.

"The most important thing to do in the film fraternity is to empower our writers. We do not empower our writers. We have the technology; we do not have the writing talent, because we do not empower our writers.

"We need to pay them much more. We need to give them that sense of power, entitlement. It becomes all about movie star in our country and that is not the right way forward."

Calling the hierarchy of Bollywood inaccurate, Johar said writer and director should come before the popular movie stars.

"If we want our cinema to progress, we have to empower the writer, then the director and then the movie star in that order. We do it all wrong. Our food chain is all wrong. And that's why our films suffer. When our focus becomes the movie star, our attempts fails. We need to go beyond that and push behind the tropes."

Replying to a query on why Bollywood movies are dominated by Hindu characters and have very less of Muslim leads, the filmmaker said his upcoming film "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" has a Muslim female lead.

"I am going to reveal something to you today about my next film 'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' the name of the hero is Aayan he is Hindu in the film and she is Alizeh. She is Muslim in the film and there is no conflict in the love story."

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