Even as Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions steadily emerges as a platform for new directors in Bollywood, Johar has taken his first step to empower screenwriters in the industry. The producer-director will now use his Twitter stream to discuss scripts with budding writers, and will also sign on new talent if he finds any new piece of work impressive.
He says, "We are poor in the writing department because we don't empower our writers. Most first-time directors are trying to write on their own, and they’re doing it as a final resort. But they’re not comfortable with it and yet, they’re not complaining." Johar’s decision came close on the heels of Shah Rukh Khan’s message on his Twitter stream saying the problem with Indian movies isn’t their predictable plots, but their hackneyed screenplays. Johar, too, seems convinced by Khan’s observation.
What might change things, Johar believes, is if the industry gives writers the space, place and power to be motivated to create content, and churn out stories that appeal to the masses. Dharma Productions’ upcoming release We Are Family, directed by debutante Siddharth Malhotra, releases this week. The Kajol-Kareen Kapoor-Arjun Rampal starrer is an adaptation of the Julia Roberts film Stepmom, and has been co-written by Malhotra.
Lack of ideas
Citing why Johar had to go for a Hollywood remake, he says, "We need skilled craftsmen to generate ideas and write stories, and also to make adaptations work. Until then, directors will be forced to write their own movies." He further adds, "I think I’ve now broken out of the mould I created for myself, and am looking to make all kinds of movies and with all kinds of writers. However, what is necessary is that the screenplay should appeal to my instinct"
Currently Johar is re-working Agneepath, bringing out Dostana 2 and finalising the title of the Imran-Kareena movie, Short Term Shaadi. But only so long as he believes that the director who has written a screenplay is also capable of directing it.