Director, producer, writer, chat show host, reality dance show judge: Karan Johar’s CV could rival that of the very best in showbiz. But the one thing the 41-year-old hasn’t done — a few cameos aside — is take up a serious acting role. Now, that is set to change.
A few days ago, Karan decided to take up an offer to act in Anurag Kashyap’s next, Bombay Velvet (BV). Karan says the offer “came out of the blue”. In the film, he will be seen playing the “antagonist” opposite Ranbir Kapoor.
“Yes, it’s true that I’m acting in Bombay Velvet, and of course, it’s unusual for me,” Karan says, adding, “I was blown away by the narrative. And all the cast members — besides Ranbir and Anushka (Sharma, lead actress) — have strong roles in Anurag’s film. Since I’m playing an antagonist, there are shades of grey to my character.”
Over a decade-and-ahalf ago, Karan played a cameo in the Shah Rukh Khan-Kajol-starrer Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995). More recently, he made guest appearances in films like Om Shanti Om (2007) and Luck By Chance (2009).
But what’s interesting is that now the director of feel-good, family-oriented dramas will be seen in a negative role. Karan explains, “I’ve never shied away from trying new things. Fifteen years ago, I took up direction (with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai; 1998) on an impulse, followed by my stint as a TV show host (Koffee With Karan).”
He says he always knew that, somewhere down the line, acting will happen. “I didn’t know whether I was ready for it. Now, I will start working on my role with Anurag. I will follow his directorial vision, and I won’t bring my director’s baggage on the sets,” he clarifies.
Has he discussed this with anyone else? “Besides Anurag, Ranbir too was keen that I come on board. As for my mother (Hiroo Johar), she has always been encouraging in whatever I do,” he says.
When contacted, Anurag says, “Karan is fantastic for the part. I actually wanted to bounce ideas off him. He loved the script, and I suddenly asked if he will play the role. He was surprised, but said yes. Karan said he will charge Rs. 11, and the money kept aside will go for special effects and production.”