Netflix has announced a long-term partnership with Karan Johar’s digital arm Dharmatic Entertainment to create a broad range of new fiction and non-fiction series and films exclusively for its viewers.
As the director of eight major films and host of a successful talk show, Johar has a proven track record of telling stories that resonate with audiences all around the world. Johar has an innate sense of what people care about and a unique way of telling stories that are universal but also authentically reflect Indian society. Johar, who first collaborated with Netflix in 2018 for Lust Stories, is directing Ghost Stories and producing Guilty for the streaming powerhouse. He also signed up in May to host dating format What The Love? for the OTT platform.
Commenting on this deal, Netflix International Originals VP Bela Bajaria said, “I am incredibly excited about our partnership with Karan Johar – one of India’s greatest modern storytellers. Johar and Dharmatic Entertainment will have all the creative freedom and support they need to create pioneering dramas and unscripted series – as well as films – for our members all over the world.”
Johar’s brush with Netflix, the filmmaker informed, led to the setting up of Dharmatic. The reach of Lust Stories made the director of Kal Ho Naa Ho realise that “Sky is the limit” with such partnership. He added, “With its unique creative freedom and instantaneous global reach, Netflix provides a fearless space for creators. I’m super excited about the projects we already have in development and the limitless possibilities ahead. To create universal stories from India that the world discovers is an incredible and unprecedented opportunity.”
Having grown up in the lap of mainstream cinema, Johar said, he will always have a strong and romantic relationship with celluloid. But the partnership with Netflix offered him freedom from the fear of the Friday box office.
“There is one aspect, which is very daunting in all our existence, is the pressure of the Friday box office performance and then the general performance of your film, which looms large on us filmmakers. But when you have a platform where you can showcase your creativity and your content and you don’t have the pressure of the box office, then you are given wings to fly. What we have decided to do is basically come together to create content to empower not only ourselves, but also the consumer, and to make sure that we can create diverse content across genres, and engage not just an Indian or diaspora audience but an Asian audience,” Johar told PTI in an interview.
Dharma Productions CEO Apoorva Mehta noted, “We’re excited about the immense storytelling possibilities ahead. With Netflix as the new storytelling home for Dharmatic Entertainment, I have the highest hopes for what we can do together. Our vision is to create differentiated stories across diverse genres and we can’t wait to craft and usher many more remarkable series and films into the world with Netflix.”
According to Netflix India head, Series, International Originals Monika Shergill, they were looking forward to Johar’s take on series, which is a relatively new format of storytelling in India.
“It will be a brand new sort of storytelling – long format, multi-seasons, across scripted and unscripted. We have seen Karan in a lot of unscripted avatars on linear TV but his version of unscripted on streaming will be something to watch out for. Same goes for scripted, the way he immerses you in characters in his films, to have those characters come to you season after season is what we are most excited about that at Netflix,” Shergill told PTI.