After wearing many proverbial hats, Karan Johar, who made an acting debut with Bombay Velvet, talks about returning to direction, the next season of his chat show and being a shopaholic.
Though we have seen you as Shah Rukh Khan’s friend in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), do you consider playing Kaizad Khambatta in Bombay Velvet your official acting debut?
Featuring in DDLJ was more like having fun. Since I was an assistant on DDLJ, I was dragged into doing that bit role. When I had to play a full-fledged role in Bombay Velvet at the age of 42, it turned out to be an overwhelming and new experience for me.
While hosting a chat show or judging a television reality show, I am still being myself. Here, I had to absorb myself in the world of a director’s vision, which is so complex, layered and fantastical.
Was there a moment when you might have been nervous about facing the camera?
I was more anxious than nervous. Questions like would my role shape up well or would I justify the part, made me anxious. My character — inspired by DF Karaka, editor of Current Weekly — is mostly developed by Anurag Kashyap.
Kashyap and you were not best of friends. How has the dynamics changed today?
Anurag had an opinion of me without knowing me. So had I. When we met on the professional turf, we realised we are not the people we envisaged each other to be.
What clicked between us is that we are very passionate about what we do even though we belong to very different schools of cinema.
With Ae Dil Hai Mushkil you would return to directing a feature-length film after nearly three years. Would it be a pure Karan Johar entertainer?
A leopard does not change its spots; it just rearranges them. Even though there would be a lot of me in it, I have changed the tonality of the film to adapt to contemporary times while projecting love and romance. Love is no longer as innocent as it was and romance is no longer as expressive. What remains the same is the heartache and heartbreak. And Ae Dil is more about that.
You said on the chat show Look Who’s Talking that today you are making less effort to be Mr Congeniality. Will the movie reflect that?
Abandon is what the film is going to reflect. These days, I feel a sense of abandonment in what I say and do. I feel a lot less need to please people.
What made you present SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus Bahubali?
When I saw rushes of Bahubali, I was blown away. I am a big fan of SS Rajamouli, who has made around 10 blockbusters, including Eega and Magadheera, and is already a cinema legend.
You were caught in AIB roast controversy earlier this year. Any regrets?
I don’t regret it but feel sad over certain reactions. If anyone knows about the format of a roast you would know that you are meant to take potshots at people and they are supposed to retaliate. Many people, who criticised the show, had not even seen it. People also had an opinion about my mother being in the audience. But that’s her prerogative.
Are you planning season 5 of Koffee With Karan?
After the release of Ae Dil, I will be back with my steaming cup of coffee next year. Being a chat show host is a cakewalk for me. Before the show, I was doing the same at parties. Calling people to the sets and being nosy and inquisitive is what I enjoy doing.
What’s the secret of your sartorial sense?
I have to confess I am a shopaholic. I can find something to buy anywhere, even when you take me up the mountains. I mostly spend on what can go into my wardrobe, clothes and shoes.
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