After being let down by directors whom his production house Dharma Productions nurtured to directorial success, Karan Johar has now made it mandatory for all filmmakers working for his banner to sign a three-movie contract each. This includes Kajol's cousin Ayan Mukherjee, who has just started directing 'Wake Up, Sid' with Ranbir Kapoor and Konkona Sen Sharma for Karan's banner.
'Barring Rensil D'Silva, who comes from an established ad world and we have decided to keep him bound for only one project, all the other directors are bound by a three-film contract,' Karan, whose latest home production 'Dostana' is spinning gold at the box office, told IANS. '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 Naa Ho' and Soham Shah in 'Kaal' to Tarun Mansukhani in 'Dostana', Ayaan Mukherjee in 'Wake Up, Sid' and we've just signed Siddharth Malhotra.' Karan, who has directed hits like 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' and 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham', says it is important to be professional with people at work.
'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 said. 'Why can't we enjoy the positivity. I'm very excited about Ranbir and Konkona as a pair in Ayan's film. They've an inherently unusual on-screen chemistry. And now my latest director is Siddharth Malhotra, who is developing a screenplay for us.
'Siddharth is late Premnath's grandson and Prem Kishen's son. I'm very friendly to that family. Our families go back a long way. 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 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,' the filmmaker said.
Dino Morea's brother Santino is also working with Karan. 'He (Santino) is my assistant on 'My Name Is Khan'. And Boney Kapoor's son assisted us on 'Kal Ho Naa 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.
'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,' Karan said.
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Smart move all the way around. KJo protects his financial investment and the new directors are not kicked out if they make one bad film. They are given another chance or actually two more chances to get it right. Everyone is protected that way and the newbies can learn under a seasoned director. Nikhil Advani should have stayed, because Salaam-E-Ishq was a direct copy of Love Actually and it was not even half as good. Karan is a smart businessman.
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