Never mind that his production house Dharma Productions has just delivered a big hit in Wake Up Sid. Director-producer Karan Johar says he has matured over the years and box office collections are no longer the only driving factor for him.
"Frankly, I am over and above box office today. With age and some dose of maturity coming in, I truly believe that I have grown as a filmmaker and hence I am not just looking at crores out there," Karan, 37, told IANS in an interview.
Karan has half a dozen films lined up for release in the months to come. After Wake Up Sid, debutant Rensil D'Souza's Kurbaan is next. He is also speeding up Tarun Mansukhani's animation flick Koochie Koochie Hota Hai and Dostana 2.
Siddharth Malhotra's Stepmom remake is already on floors while debutant director Punit Malhotra's I Hate Love Stories is in pre-production stage. Newcomer Karan Malhotra has been entrusted with directing an Agneepath remake.
Karan's own directorial venture My Name Is Khan would be releasing in early 2010.
With so many projects in the pipeline, is it really easy for him not to think about box office collections?
"I guess numbers just get lost after a point in time while the quality of a product is remembered. I have learnt that the remembrance a film gets is far more important than what you end up gaining in the first weekend.
"A living example is Wake Up Sid. Yes, it opened well but what is even more heartening is that it is still being loved and watched weeks after its release. That excites me," said Karan.
His claim comes with enough validation here. After the mega Diwali weekend that saw Blue, All The Best and Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna fighting for screen space, Wake Up Sid was kept on hold. The Ranbir Kapoor-Konkona Sen Sharma-starrer did have two bountiful weeks.
Karan is happy to be following the mantra of making quality films without worrying much about the cash register.
No wonder many first-time filmmakers working with him are happy to be in an environment that challenges and motivates them to make something worth remembering.
"I never ask my directors to give me a film that would fetch me Rs.80, 100 or 120 crore. Once you do that, you only end up putting pressure on the poor guy. Instead, I want them to focus entirely on the subject in front of them and leave the box office in the hands of audiences.
"This is what Ayan Mukerji did with Wake Up Sid and look at how he has passed with flying colours, both critically and commercially," said Karan with a tone of appreciation.
(Joginder Tuteja can be contacted at email@example.com)