Netflix’s partnership with Indian filmmaker provides new opportunities

October 10, 2019 — by Emilie Zhou

On Sept. 11, Netflix India announced that it would be partnering with Dharmatic Entertainment and Indian filmmaker Karan Johar to “create a range of new fiction and non-fiction series and films.” According to Variety Magazine, this opportunity would not only allow for new content to be created, but also potentially strengthen Netflix’s influence in India. 

“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,” Netflix International Originals vice president Bela Bajaria said in a press release with Forbes Magazine

Referred to as “one of India’s greatest modern storytellers” by Bajaria, Johar first worked with Netflix in 2018 when he helped produce the anthology film, “Lust Stories,” and is also currently working on directing “Ghost Stories” and producing “Guilty” with Dharmatic and Netflix India. In addition, Johar was the host of the popular talk show, “Koffee with Karan,” as well as the host of Netflix India’s dating show “What the Love?”.

According to Dharmatic Productions CEO Apoorva Mehta, Dharmatic and Johar’s vision and goal will be to capture different stories across various genres and bring them to life for viewers all around the world. 

“We have all been raised by stories. Stories that have turned our lives upside-down. Stories that have given us characters that are truly evergreen and some stories just give us the feels,” Johar said in Netflix’s video announcing the partnership. “It is stories like these that inspire the storyteller in me. And now, Dharmatic and I are teaming up with Netflix to keep these stories coming.”

According to Forbes Magazine, Netflix’s deal with Johar and Dharmatic will mark an important step in Netflix’s attempt to try to build a “local consumer consumer base in India.” 

Earlier this year, Forbes reported that Netflix had struggled to grow its revenue as they gained less subscribers than expected. Recognizing that there are many potential consumers in India, Netflix has previously implemented a lower-priced mobile-screen plan in hopes of increasing the number of users and subscribers. The new partnership with Johar may further help Netflix form stronger connections with India and the local entertainment industry there. 

“We are expanding our content offering and seeing our engagement grow,” Netflix’s chief product officer Greg Peters said in a Netflix Q2 2019 Earnings Interview.

Since then, Netflix has been producing more global films and has added various Indian films to its roster. 

“With its unique creative freedom and instantaneous global reach, Netflix provides a fearless space for creators,” Johar said. “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.”


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