Karan Johar says perception that Bollywood is finished is ‘rubbish’: ‘Gangubai, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 did huge numbers’

Karan Johar feels the reports of Bollywood’s death are greatly exaggerated. In a recent interaction, the filmmaker reacted strongly to perceptions about Bollywood being ‘finished’, calling it “rubbish”. In the last year or so, many big-budget Hindi films have bombed at the box office even as counterparts from the south have minted money. This has prompted many to wonder if the days of Bollywood’s dominance in Indian cinema are over. Also read: Lyricist Sameer Anjaan says ‘the music industry is dead’

Karan, who has directed some of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, says even though it has become a challenge to ensure audience footfall in theatres, good films will always work.

In an interaction with news agency PTI, when asked to comment about claims that Bollywood is finished, Karan said, “It’s all nonsense and rubbish. Good films will always work. Gangubai Kathiawadi and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 have done huge numbers. We have done numbers on Jug Jugg Jeeyo as well. Films which aren’t good can never work and they’ve never worked.”

The filmmaker’s own production, Jug Jugg Jeeyo, starring Varun Dhawan, Anil Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, and Kiara Advani, managed to earn over 84 crore following its release last month. Alia Bhatt-starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi, on the other hand, made almost 180 crore at the box office while Kartik Aaryan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 made over 250 crore at the ticket window. However, several big-ticket Hindi films like Salman Khan’s Antim, Ajay Devgn’s Runway 34, Akshay Kumar’s Samrat Prithviraj, and Ranbir Kapoor’s Shamshera had disappointing runs.

In addition, films from the south easily dwarfed the figures of the hits from Bollywood. Both RRR and KGF: Chapter 2 crossed 1100 crore while Vikram and Pushpa: The Rise earned over 350 crore each.

Karan said he is hopeful that the coming line-up of films from Bollywood, which comprises titles headlined by superstars Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan, will light up the box office. “Now we have many big films coming up. We have Laal Singh Chaddha, Raksha Bandhan, Brahmastra, then there is Rohit Shetty’s film and finally, we are ending the year with a Salman Khan film. There’s so much to look forward to. We have all the love, we just need to create the right content to create it,” he added.

The filmmaker, who is returning to direction after six years with Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, believes it isn’t an easy task to live up to the expectations. “To get the audience inside a cinema hall is not easy anymore. You’ve to make sure your film, trailer, campaign is exciting to manage to get those numbers. You’re living up to your own reputation. Is it a stress? Could be. But it’s more of a challenge and I like taking challenges,” he added.

Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, which stars Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Shabana Azmi, Dharmendra, and Jaya Bachchan, releases next year. Karan is currently hosting the seventh season of his popular talk show Koffee With Karan, streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

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(With Inputs from hindustantimes)