Streaming giant Netflix inks multi-year, exclusive deal with Karan Johar

Dharmatic to produce range of new fiction, non-fiction series and films exclusively for the digital service

In a one of its kind, exclusive, long-term partnership in India, leading internet entertainment service Netflix is getting into a multi-year deal with Karan Johar’s digital content company Dharmatic Entertainment for content creation. As part of the deal, Dharmatic will produce a wide range of new fiction and non-fiction series and films exclusively for the streaming giant.

Though Netflix will continue to work with other creators in the industry, the collaboration with Dharmatic is being described as a rare “deep partnership”.

In an exclusive chat with The Hindu, Mr. Johar spoke of it as a “collaboration of equals”. “We decided to focus on one strong group as opposed to multiple partnerships,” he said, adding in jest that it’s a marriage in which Dharmatic won’t cheat on Netflix.

Netflix and Mr. Johar first worked together last year on the anthology film Lust Stories. He is also involved in two upcoming Netflix original films — he is directing one of the films in the anthology Ghost Stories and producing Ruchi Narain’s Guilty. Mr. Johar will also be hosting a dating reality show, What The Love?, for Netflix that is being produced by BBC Studios India.

Netflix was drawn to the brand of cinema and storytelling that Mr Johar represents. “We like the ethos, the artistic integrity, the young vibe, the fact that he has always remained relevant and has discovered and nurtured new talent… It blends in with Netflix ethos; it’s a perfect match… It would be interesting to see his take on multi-season, long format storytelling,” said Monika Shergill, director, international originals, Netflix India.

“The question was never why Karan Johar, but why not,” said Srishti Behl Arya, director, international original film, Netflix 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 — for our members all over the world,” said Bela Bajaria, VP, international originals, Netflix.

According to Mr. Johar, with its unique creative freedom and instantaneous global reach, Netflix provides a fearless space for creators. “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,” he said.

Apoorva Mehta, CEO, Dharma Productions, expressed excitement about the storytelling possibilities ahead. “With Netflix as the new storytelling home for Dharmatic Entertainment, I have the highest hopes for what we can do together. Our vision is to create differentiated stories across diverse genres and we can’t wait to craft and usher many more remarkable series and films into the world with Netflix,” he said. Dharmatic is the digital content arm under Dharma Productions.

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