Karan Johar, one of India’s most successful young filmmakers, believes that Indian cinema was in the pits in the 1980s. Since the 1990s, however, younger filmmakers have come along with family-oriented films — and these have been hugely successful in overseas markets. “Suddenly [Indian] films were opening in the U.K. Top Ten in the 1990s,” he says. “When [my film] Kabhie Khushie Kabhie Ghum was released in 2001, it was at No. 3 after Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.” Johar, who hosts a popular TV talk show called “Koffee with Karan,” notes that while Bollywood is indeed going global, it continues to struggle with distribution in North America. “It is the one big thing we need — it is the one thing we haven’t cracked,” he says. Johar discussed these challenges and more with India Knowledge at Wharton during the Wharton India Economic Forum in Philadelphia.
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