An actor material
Debutant actor Rohan Mehra’s presence in Baazaar has created a buzz. The actor, who was in the city recently, explains how he landed his first role rather organically.
After watching him as Rizwan Ahmed in the trailer of the film Baazaar, people began looking him up on the internet. To everyone’s surprise he turned out to be late Vinod Mehra’s son, Rohan. Unlike most star kids, who are already a social media sensation or are media’s favourite, Rohan lived a life away from glamour, in Mombasa, Kenya, with his mother, sister and grandparents.
In Baazaar, Rohan plays an ambitious young man who wants to make big in life and earn a lot of money. We met the debutant actor in the city, who had come with his co-actors, Saif Ali Khan and Radhika Apte to promote his film. What completely floored us about Rohan was his confidence and his baritone voice. Rohan says that he is open to working with every filmmaker, from Karan Johar to Sriram Raghvan. Excerpts...
How did you prepare for the character?
My character, Rizwan Ahmed, wants to make it very big in life and that’s why he comes to Mumbai. Rizwan idolises this big business tycoon, Shakun Kothari (Saif) and wants to work with him and be exactly like him. That’s his dream.
I had to understand the character and ask myself those questions — who is this man, why does he act in a certain way, why does he want to work with Shakun Kothari and so on. Understanding who this person is, was really important for me.
Did you actually try studying the stock market?
It’s actually funny because I grew up wanting to be an investment banker. I studied economics and econometrics, so I know this world quite well. Although the knowledge of a particular field makes it easier for you (as an actor), I was more concerned with the role in question.
How was your experience of working with Radhika and Saif?
It was amazing working with them — here you have such big stars. Saif is such a huge star and Radhika is an amazing actress. You sometimes feel intimidated by such huge talent present around you. But once I went on the set, Saif was so sweet and nice. He made me comfortable that my thought of him being a big star and unapproachable just went away. He treated me like an equal professional.
Most newcomers, when launched, are seen in an image of lover or a chocolate hero, whereas you are playing a grey character. Did you think it would be a risk?
My character is too ambitious, and doesn’t differentiate between right and wrong. He is not at all a romantic hero. Firstly, I am very thankful and blessed to have got a film in the first place. I wasn’t in a position where I could pick and choose a film. However, even if I was in a position to choose films, I would still pick Baazaar. I think times are changing and the whole conventional way of launching newcomers is also seeing an evolution. I just hope this films helps carve a new path for different kind of launches for new actors.
Do you think star kids are perceived to have got everything easy and that takes away the amount of efforts they actually put in?
The whole perception people have about star kids needs to change. They have to understand that it is not just me, but all other actors, whose parents were stars, their ambition is not to do just one film. Our ambition is to have a career of gold films, so that we can say later, ‘hey look I have great body of work.’
I didn’t grow up in Mumbai. I returned to the city very late in my life and nobody exactly knew me. Before the trailer, I wasn’t really on the map and after the release, everyone is like, ‘who is this guy’.
The film wasn’t one of those anticipated things. It happened very organically and I am very happy about it. I want people to like and accept me based on my work and not due to my lineage.