Five entrepreneurial lessons from Karan Johar

19th Oct 2016
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He is the son of veteran producer Yash Johar and the heir to Dharma Productions. The friends he grew up with turned out to be big names in the industry – ace director Aditya Chopra, and actors Hrithik Roshan, and Abhishek Bachchan among them.

Coming from a Bollywood family background helped him build his career, starting from being assistant director to Aditya Chopra in the landmark movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, but Karan Johar carved a niche for himself, establishing himself as one of the topmost directors in the country.

Karan’s script for Kal Ho Naa Ho was selected to the Oscar Library in 2003, while his directorial ventures never failed to churn out ten-digit amounts. What makes Karan different? Find out what an entrepreneur can learn from him:

  1. Networking, marketing: Karan is best friends with everyone who matters in the industry – right from Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor to the whole Bachchan clan. And they tell him what the world wants to hear on his chat show Koffee with Karan. Do you know any entrepreneur who does not want to be privy to industry secrets?
  2. Diplomatic, yet taking a stand: His Twitter handle is always making news; including his latest comment on not working with Pakistani actors in the future. But Karan is seldom rude, even in his social media feuds with Ram Gopal Varma or KRK, and musters dignity in his responses. No mud-slinging always works in your favour!
  3. Making profit, playing to the gallery: Johar's movies may not have great intellectual value, but he surely keeps his audience engaged with colour, music, emotions, and what not. He targets his audience well – the NRI community which holds on to Indian glamour would vouch for this. Profitability and sustainability, anyone?
  4. Growth, pivoting: From the sappy Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to more grown-up themes in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and now Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Johar has come a long way in the last 20 years. Like a startup which matures gracefully in its own time, the director-producer seems to have learnt a lot in his journey, and his work shows that.
  5. Talk to the hand, trolls: Johar was targeted by media as well as critics for his personal choices more than his work, since his career took off. In a country where homophobia is norm, Karan was often ridiculed for his mannerisms and even movie tastes; but he has got past the negativity like a pro, with his head held high.

Who are the other celebrities you look up to? What are the entrepreneurial lessons you have learnt from creative personas? Tell us in the comments below.

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