Karan Johar, Netflix call off exclusive deal after 2 years

Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar and Netflix have ended their exclusive content deal signed in September 2019 whereby Johar’s digital content studio Dharmatic Entertainment was to supply all its content – fiction and non-fiction series and films – only to the California-based streaming giant.

“The deal has been called off and Dharmatic can now work with other video streaming services too,” a person with direct knowledge of the matter told ET.

Another person said the two will continue to work together on shows and series already signed and announced. “There are multiple projects which have already been green-lighted or announced, and deliveries of these are over the next 12-18 months,” the person said. “Then there are some returning seasons too. However, will they work together after that is not yet clear.”

Dharmatic, digital content arm of Johar’s Dharma Productions, is currently working on new series ‘Finding Anamika’, and the next season of ‘Fabulous Lives Of Bollywood Wives’. There is also an upcoming film, ‘Meenakshi Sundareshwar’ apart from a few other projects in the pipeline.

Queries sent to Dharma Productions and Netflix did not elicit any response till press time on Monday.

One of the sources cited above alleged that “too much interference” from Netflix has been one of the main reasons for the exclusive deal to be called off.

“The entire (content) industry knows it. They (Netflix) want everything in a certain way and sometimes it’s frustrating and confusing. There is a disconnect between what they want and what they say,” he alleged.

At the time of announcing the deal with Johar two years ago, Monika Shergill, vice president – content (then director of international originals, India) at Netflix, had said the company allows its creators “full creative freedom and support”.

At that time Johar had told ET that it was “much more” than just a business transaction. “It is an emotional alliance, a relationship,” he had said.

It was Netflix’ biggest deal yet in the Indian market as an exclusivity clause was attached to it. None of the streamer’s Indian deals, be it with Shahrukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment for films and web series or with Aamir Khan Productions for the actor’s films, had an exclusive arrangement.

ET had also learned that as part of the deal, Johar was exclusive to Netflix and except for pre-existing ‘Koffee With Karan’, he wasn’t supposed to be a part of any show for any rival streaming service.

Last month, Netflix announced a multi-year partnership with Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar’s Excel Entertainment. As part of the non-exclusive deal, the production house will make a variety of projects under its series banner Excel Media and Entertainment, starting with ‘Dabba Cartel’ and ‘Queen of the Hill’.

Netflix had entered India in January 2016 as part of its global rollout. It started commissioning content after April 2017 when Netflix was registered as a limited liability partnership (LLP) in India.


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.