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How CEO Apoorva Mehta Has Been Driving Karan Johar's Dharma Productions Under Apoorva Mehta, the strategic and operational framework of the system underwent a change from being 'family owned' to a 'professional business entity.

By Kabir Singh Bhandari

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Apoorva Mehta

One of the most recognised names in India, Dharma Productions led by Karan Johar, was founded by his father Yash Johar in 1976, with the film Dostana, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha. Under Karan, the blockbusters it produced have become part of pop culture, with films such as Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and more recently Brahmastra. The man on top who for more than 15 years has been making sure the business side of things run smoothly is CEO Apoorva Mehta, who joined the company in 2005, after Karan's father had passed away. He immediately set about stabilising the business, after which the focus shifted to scaling up the business operations in line with the evolving industry needs and potential.

Under Mehta, the strategic and operational framework of the system underwent a change from being 'family owned' to a 'professional business entity. They were also amongst the first ones to jump on the digitalisation wagon and entered the digital content and advertising production industry which led to Dharma's digital extension content studio - Dharmatic Entertainment. In 2018, Mehta became the managing director and producer of Dharmatic Entertainment.

Infrastructure wise, they invested in building the entire back-end support required for producing a film; facilitating the production of each film right from pre-production stage to release in domestic and overseas markets. This aided Dharma in initiating and implementing in-house production and distribution systems.

According to Mehta, the biggest challenge the organisation faced was the pandemic and its aftermath. "Covid has taught us to not rush into things, hence slowly and steadily we are able to create new ways to deal with the situation, make good cinema and engage our audience. The cinematic language transformed into reflecting a larger change especially in the way consumption of content has evolved. The viewers now support experimental approaches," he says.

"Dharma Productions has created an unmatched niche for itself, in the industry. For instance, we were amongst the firsts to adopt a collaborative approach – extending that to domestic + international production houses, streaming platforms, bridging the gap between South Cinema and Bollywood, and talents," he explains.

The author can be reached at bkabir@entrepreneurindia.com and Instagram.com/kabirsinghbhandari

Kabir Singh Bhandari

Former Senior Assistant Editor

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