Founder & CEO,
‘Rager spot but make it homely’ was 22-year-old Karan Nohria’s first thought when he decided that he wants to build a place that, when you look from the outside, seems quite ordinary, but once the doors open, this place invites you in to be yourself, and to embrace your silliness.
Business was always Karan’s forte, one can say it’s just something he was born with, and he nurtured his skill from a really young age. At 16, Karan started assisting his father in his business. At 19, realised that he wants to do something of his own, and build something that matters. That dream, though, wasn’t just dreamt. He took three things he loves: business, technology, and enjoying a good lifestyle, and at 21, he executed his plan in the form of Mumbai’s current favorite spot — Silly.
If there’s one way to describe Karan, it’s that he’s the keenest of observers you’ll find. The name of Silly, too, was the result of his observations, when he was referred to as being ‘silly’ for some out-of-the-box ideas. Karan decided to find a name that doesn’t just sound cool, but also can have a lot of meanings, which will be different for different people. Aren’t we all silly sometimes, after all? The name aligns with the ethos of Silly as a place, which, in all its forms, is different things to different people. Like a true blue GenZ, Karan has learnt that being yourself is the only way to be — that’s exactly what he wanted to give people — you can dress up to come to Silly, or you can walk in in your most homeless attire, the choice is yours. “Let’s be able to relax where we are,” he says.
Karan’s vision is crystal clear — Silly is an inclusive space that welcomes all age groups, and all moods.
With his mind constantly on bettering the last idea with the next, Karan was deeply involved with every detail that went into making Silly what it is today. While discussing the design of the place, he realised that he has never been somewhere where men can click pictures in the bathroom of a resto bar, merely because the environment has no stimuli to show! It changes with Silly, he thought. As an observant person who will look into every minute detail and with his innovative way of doing things, he decided to have a bathtub full of ice in the bathroom, a concept never seen before in India yet. An Instagram reel that said “pop your champagne straight” is all it took for him to come up with a men’s bathroom that is finally worth photographing for the Instagram generation that knows the value of a good selfie.
Then, again, he didn’t want the plain old bathroom door with a sign, and as a Harry Potter fan, he decided to turn the door into a bookshelf you need to push through to enter the bathroom, and also included more bookshelves in Silly for book lovers who love their solitude. Karan’s fresh perspective, his penchant for creating a place that people want to come home to, led to more innovative thinking in terms of the ambience.
Looking up to the tycoons of the hospitality industry as well with his interest to try out the best places for their food and nightlife, Karan traveled all over Mumbai to find his kind of place, observed bits and pieces that inspired him, and made them into a space that he can find everything he wants, and so can everyone who walks in.
Karan also firmly believes that emerging artists and music will play an important role in the future of the hospitality industry. He believes live music provides a talking point and restaurants can be a very good medium to support and encourage new-age artists. Incorporating his belief into reality, he has created a unique intellectual property at Silly in collaboration with Mihir Chandan, India’s first Handpan artist and one of the only three in the world Handpan Progressive Techno artists.
At 21, he started what’s now the busiest spot in Mumbai. But as a restaurateur, and the newest visionary on the block, as well as a person who is comfortable with who he is, this young businessman, at 22, is just getting started.
He is currently gearing up to expand Silly to Delhi and is also launching an FMCG brand in 2022 itself.