For his role of a dapper 1960s antagonist in “Bombay Velvet”, Karan Johar took style inspiration from his filmmaker father Yash Johar.
In his full-fledged acting debut in Anurag Kashyap’s period drama, Johar plays the role of a media magnate Khambatta who mentors and manipulates Ranbir Kapoor’s Johnny Balraj in the movie.
“For the look of Khambatta, I subconsciously had my father in my mind. It is very strange to say this because my father was nothing like the human being that I play in the movie. I know his body language. In his old photos, he used to have a moustache. He had this habit of playing with his ring, which I do in the movie,” Johar said in an interview here.
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The director-producer said being a product of Hindi cinema, he was quite familiar with the period of ’50s and ’60s.
“I did not need any training. I know a lot about that period through my parents. My father used to talk a lot about Dev saab (Dev Anand). He would have been horrified to see his son play a negative role. My mother was shocked. She said, ‘Is Anurag mad? How can he offer you a villain’s role’.”
Johar, 42, said many told him to model it on Pran but he decided against it because the syntax was different in the movie.
There was no nervousness in Johar about being a central part of the movie as an actor.
“I have learnt from great actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukerji. I have imbibed a lot while directing them. Also, I was a director who would act out the scene for his actors except for Mr Bachchan. I would dare not,” Johar said.
The director, however, never had a plan to turn to acting despite his long career in Bollywood as he does not have a passion for it.
“I never had any passion for acting. I produce so many films, I would have put myself there if I wanted. I asked for a day to think when Anurag threw this surprise on me.
“I realised that I will never get a chance like this because the world in the film is completely new. Also, I never thought in my life that somebody will offer me villain’s role. It is not my personality,” he said.
Before accepting the role, Johar called Ranbir and film’s leading lady Anushka Sharma because he was not convinced that he could pull it off.
Johar relented only after a look test.
“I did not want to be the one to ruin the film because it was a big risk to cast me. But Anurag told me he wanted somebody who looks like a mentor to Ranbir.”
Produced by Phantom Films and Fox Star Studios, “Bombay Velvet” releases on May 15.