Indian films still being considered a song-and-dance routine in the global circuit deeply troubles Karan Johar and the director-producer feels such "misconceptions" about the country's cinema hinder its growth internationally. Citing examples of acclaimed movies such as "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha", "Padman" and "Bareilly Ki Barfi", the 45-year-old filmmaker says Indian films have much more to offer than the "cliched sequences".
"I feel very sad when I still see people across the globe having this misconception about Indian cinema that it is all about song and dance. This stereotypical view about our films can only be changed when we as a part of the entertainment industry go out and tell people that we have much more to offer in terms of storytelling and content than just actors dancing around trees.
"Indian cinema is a victim of misconceptions on global stage. The way Aamir's (Khan) films have been performing in China proves that we can make a huge mark globally. But only dialogue initiated by our filmmakers and actors can bring about this change," Karan told PTI in a telephonic interview from Berlin.
The director is in Germany, heading an Indian delegation to Berlinale 2018. The team, also comprising film personalities such as Vani Tripathi, Bhumi Pednekar, Jahnu Barua and Shaji Karun, has been selected and sent to participate in the European Film Market by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry.
Karan says such initiatives by the central government are commendable and will "surely contribute a lot in the growth of Indian entertainment industry".
The director, who in the recent past has produced and presented films such as "Baahubali" and "The Lunchbox", says people often are surprised by the choices he makes as director and a producer-presenter.
But in both the cases his aim is to back the content which speaks "world language".
"I am all about content. All I am doing as a producer is looking at films which have world language. It is about picking films that speak global language and that can only happen when the content appeals to the masses superseding the language barrier.
"It is not necessary that films I make will coincide with the kind of films I produce or present. My process as a director is mine and mine alone and I do what I am convinced with as a storyteller. But that doesn't mean I am not open to global possibilities of films that I would like to present and produce. The idea is always to take giant leaps for the development of Indian cinema," he says.
Karan adds he never chooses a project as a "strategist" and only the viewer in him decides the kind of film he picks.
The "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" helmer, who is considered one of the most popular Indian directors globally, says if filmmakers from the country want to be visible internationally, they need to be more vocal about their work.
"To make their cinema visible globally, filmmakers and actors have to get up and do things on their own. I travelled the world to speak about my cinema...
"Everybody has a responsibility to make India visible globally. It is important that a filmmaker develops a voice and acts on that. They can't just sit in offices and think that they are making a big movement in cinema... They are not. They need to go out speak about their cinema and the country they produce the films in. What I am doing... I believe all of us (filmmakers) should be doing,"