SUPER SUPPORTING STAR APARSHAKTI KHURANA IS LOOKING FORWARD TO HIS FIRST MOVIE AS A LEAD
by MOHNISH SINGH
AFTER making a winning debut in record-breaking film Dangal (2016), talented actor Aparshakti Khurana has continued winning hearts with stand-out supporting roles in such successful films as Stree (2018), Luka Chuppi (2019) and Pati Patni Aur Woh (2019).
After playing the best friend or trusted confidant of the leading man, the 32-year-old actor himself is graduating to much bigger parts, including a leading role in forthcoming film Helmet. The multi-talented star is balancing a flourishing film career with TV and radio.
So Eastern Eye had a lot to speak about to Aparshakti Khurana, including lockdown, returning to work and his forthcoming film.
How is life after being under siege at home amid the pandemic?
Life is fine, touch wood, and I am trying to get back to normal. We have started shooting, but of course, it is not full-blown and there are fewer people. You have to take so many precautions. It does get a little hectic at times. But everyone is trying to put everything together in the smoothest way possible, so we can come back to life at the earliest.
Have you started transitioning back to work after lockdown?
I have totally started transitioning back to work from a film set to a television commercial set. For the longest time, I was working from home. But now there is a mix of working from home as well as working from the set. I am just trying to juggle the two and keep myself as active as possible.
How will the post-lockdown version of Aparshakti Khurana be?
Well, the post-lockdown version of Aparshakti Khurana will be as jumpy and as up-tempo as I have always been. Even during lockdown, I was totally up-tempo inside the house, trying to keep myself very busy with all the brand collaborations, digital collaborations and Instagram lives. I collaborated with YouTubers on a lockdown song and came up with my own lockdown track. There are many things I have done during lockdown. I had so many narrations on Zoom video calls and many acting workshops. So, yeah, I think I’ll be the same guy post-lockdown as well.
What is the most important lesson the pandemic has taught you?
Lockdown has taught me discipline and how important it is to have a nice healthy sleep cycle. Because of the erratic work timings, actors can never have a disciplined sleep cycle. But over these six-seven months, I have been waking up at 6:30 in the morning and sleeping at 11 pm. So, I have had a very disciplined sleep cycle. I have been waking up early, and it has made my system very healthy. It has made my body very healthy. A lot of actors are joyful about shooting activities starting, but many are sceptical about venturing out as the coronavirus scare is still there.
What do you have to say?
I have mixed feelings, to be honest. Of course, I am very happy that work has started, but in your heart of hearts, you do get a little sceptical about the fact that, are we ready to go out in the middle of a pandemic and perform? I just hope that all those shoots that have started do not backfire. We all can hope for the best and, you know, carry on with life with all the precautions. Let’s put our best foot forward in the safest way possible.
How do you see Bollywood during or post Covid-19 era?
I think Bollywood, during or post any era, has always been this mad, fun place where you get to do so many things. Bollywood is an amazing place because it is the only one where everybody is treated equally. People from all religions are a part of it, on and off the camera. And it is amazing to be on a film set and work together to create magic on screen. I think the kind of paradigm shift that we have had in filmmaking, from hereon we are really going to move upwards and onwards. I don’t think there is going to be any difference during or post Covid in the way we see Bollywood or in the way we perceive Bollywood. It is going to be a hell of a place where you can make your dreams come true.
Your film Helmet is ready for release. What route is it taking to reach the audience, digital or theatrical?
Yes, Helmet is all set to release. I think we will finish post-production work in a month or two. We are not yet sure about whether it is going to be an OTT release or a theatrical one, because there are a couple of things to be done and decisions to be made. So, let’s see what works best for the film. I think, at the end of the day, people just want to watch good content. It doesn’t really matter whether it is on OTT or in theatres. I am really looking forward to the first solo film of mine. I hope everything falls into place. I hope the love and warmth that people have given me in supporting categories, they give me the same amount of love and respect in this one as well.
Will it be a little disheartening for you if the makers decided to release it on any digital platform, because this is the first film you are fronting the cast?
Not at all. I won’t be disheartened at all. As I said, it does not really matter whether it releases on any OTT platform or in theatres. I know it is a special film for me. I have shown a lot of patience to see this day in my life, but the safety of people is a lot more important. Even if I have to do this journey again to catch hold of a nice, big theatrical, I am ready to do that. I think it is more important to work on each day of the year than to think about the fact that when, where and what your film is doing. It is important to work honestly. After that, things are not in your hands. And when things are not in your hands, you should not really bother about them.
Please tell us a little bit about the film and its premise?
So, Helmet is a film on condoms. Basically, the backdrop of the film is condoms. Otherwise, it is a fun and funny world where a family can sit together and get entertained. I would not want to say that, but this is an awkward comedy. When we talk about condoms, yes, they say it gets awkward. But sometimes, even in real life, you like awkward moments. You have fun with them. You laugh at them. So, our situations are no different in the film where there is a certain kind of awkwardness. There is an awkward beat and that is where the humour comes from. At the end of the film, there is a little message also. I hope people connect to it. May God bless us and the film!
There are talks that actors will have to take pay cuts as Bollywood is staring at a monumental loss of revenue. What is your take on that?
Well, I signed something during the Covid and there was no pay cut as such to say. I think I have got the amount I deserved. I have not come across any news where actors are not getting paid as much as they were getting earlier. But just in case if there is a situation like that then, of course, there is no way I would not respect that decision of the producers. As I keep saying so many times that I just want to work each day of the year. It is not about revenue generating beyond a point.