With back-to-back hits and a National Award to his credit Ayushmann Khurrana has emerged as the go-to star for quirky stories, a space that the actor says he always wanted to capture.
The 34-year-old star, who made his foray into showbiz with reality TV and went to become a successful radio jockey and video jockey before making his Bollywood debut with Vicky Donor, believes being on the periphery of the entertainment industry for a long time prepared him to make better choices. “I was always aware about what I wanted to do. I had rejected a lot of films before ‘Vicky Donor’, it was a big thing for somebody who was not from the industry. Somebody else would have just grabbed any opportunity, but I was not like that.
“Coming from a journalistic background where I interviewed many actors, I have seen the rise and fall of a lot of actors from the other side. So, I could learn from their experiences and their mistakes. I always thought that my first film should be path breaking and it happened,” Ayushmann said.
Having achieved the kind of success that would be any aspiring actor’s dream, Ayushmann is aware that one tends to get caught in the “bubble” that Bollywood is. His way of dealing with the pitfalls that comes with stardom is to stay away from “yes-men”.
“It is important to stay close to people who will give you objectivity in your life, are critical of your work and who are there to help you evolve as a person. One should stay away from yes-men.
“You can’t live in a bubble and just be with the industry people. One needs to meet people from the real world. They are the ones to give you the fodder as an artiste to just put those experiences across on celluloid. I make it a point to meet people from different walks of life.”
Ayushmann has been on a success spree since 2015’s Dum Laga Ke Haisha and had a great 2018 with his films Andhadhun and Badhaai Ho winning big at the National Film Awards besides minting over 100 crore at the box office. He also received the best actor National Award for his role in the Sriram Raghavan-directed movie, which he shared with “Uri: The Surgical Strike” star Vicky Kaushal.
In 2019, Ayushmann’s Article 15, which was based on the caste divide in India, was well-received by both critics and the audiences. His upcoming slate looks equally promising, with Dream Girl and Bala, which are right up his alley with unusual stories at their core.
The actor is glad that what was parallel earlier has shifted to the centre now and has helped him stand out as an artiste. “The kinds of films I do, they were termed parallel cinema earlier and now they are earning 100 plus crore films.
“I believe if you are talented, you will find your space. It has become easier for talented people to get their breakthrough. But it is important to have a game plan or a certain vision. You have to be aware about your USP and things which make you different from others,” he added. In Raaj Shandilya-directed Dream Girl, Ayushmann essays the role of a young man who has a talent for imitating female voice. He gets a job in an adult hotline but things go haywire when customers, both men and women, fall for his alter ego ‘Pooja’ and start searching for the face behind the sultry voice.
The actor said even though the movie is his most commercial project till date, he had to work really hard to sound credible as female voice. “Most of my films are a bit subtle but this is a hardcore commercial movie. It was one of the things in my bucket list and I have ticked it out now. Raaj is an incredible writer. He comes from a massy one-liner space and that helped the film a lot.”
Backed by Ekta Kapoor, Dream Girl also features Annu Kapoor, Nushrat Bharucha and Manjot Singh among others.
The film releases this Friday.