Ayushmann Khurrana can be called a one-man army. As an actor, singer, anchor, composer and even a poet, the Chandigarh born has stood out from the rest among his contemporaries. His has carved a niche for himself in Bollywood with his acting skills and unconventional choice of films.
Ayushmann is all set for his first 2018 release, suspense thriller AndhaDhun. The film directed by Sriram Raghavan revolves around a visually impaired pianist and the mysteries of his life and has already got rave reviews.
AndhaDhun, also starring Tabu and Radhika Apte, is releasing on 5 October.
In conversation with thestatesman.com, the actor spoke about his choice of films and astrology.
What prompted you to say yes to AndhaDhun?
AndhaDhun was a game changer for me. This film is a different genre for me altogether, and I wanted to work with Sriram Raghavan, which was part of my bucket list.
In the film, you played the role of a blind man. How difficult it was?
It was very difficult as there was no reference point into my day to day life, and Sriram Raghavan didn’t want me to watch any film related to blind characters. He wanted me to go blind school, meet blind people, blind pianist and I did all that for three months, 5-6 hours a day.
How was it working with such talented actresses Tabu and Radhika Apte?
They are brilliant and they have just added a different level to the film. Every scene just shines if you have good co-actors and I think acting is also reacting and you just react better if you have good co-actors.
We got to know from director Sriram that Radhika wanted to do your role. What’s your take on that?
Yes, this is what very passionate actor would love to do, (would love to do) the best role in the film. And the film AndhaDhun is in my perspective, a blind man’s perspective, a blind man witnesses the murder and everyone would love to do the best role of the film.
Do you think it’s time more people in Bollywood thought of making films with physically challenged protagonists as we see in Hollywood or even south movies?
I think this happened here as well, it’s just that it depends how to sensitise you as a director, script director and eventually it goes down to how engaging is the script is. There are a lot of actors who have played blind characters in the past. Naseeruddin Shah, Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee and they have done fantastic (jobs). So I guess it really depends on the script.
Your choice of films has been quite different since your debut film Vicky Donor. Will you accept a total Bollywood masala film in future?
Definitely. I would love to do that but it should have a quirky one-liner. Because vanilla doesn’t attract me anymore. Since there is a lot of great content available online digital platforms, it is imperative to do something out of the box when you are doing a feature film and I follow it.
Being a singer, when can we expect an album from your end?
I have sung two songs in AndhaDhun. In Badhaai Ho, I have sung one song, which released today (4 October) and in this generation albums don’t come out, singles are more demanding and recently I did singles four-five months back with Rochak. I normally cut singles when I have a gap between my films and so they are back to back.
So, how was it working with director Sriram Raghavan?
He is an institution and he is legendary and in the times to come he will be known as one of the best directors ever and he still is and he has mastered his genre and there is nobody around him who can crack this genre. It was a great learning experience for me. He is the quintessential rule breaker.
Do you believe in astrology?
My father (P Khurana) is an astrologer and by default yes. I believe in my father more than anything, I don’t wear any rings and my name spellings are like this since childhood and I haven’t changed it.
Did astrology help in your career?
I have no idea, it’s just that my father believes that there is a wrong time in doing the right things. When I did my post graduation, I was doing theatre in Chandigarh and (was to) then go to Bombay. But my dad packed my bags, tickets were booked and I was thrown out from my place. I came to Mumbai, gave my auditions and cleared some auditions but I was really interested in radio at that time so I went to MICA Ahmedabad. From there, they sent me to Delhi and I was (an) RJ in Delhi for two years. After two years, my father called me up and said it’s time to go to Mumbai and then you won’t be able to become an actor ever. I was happy for myself with what I was doing but my father pushed me and generally he pushes me to do better. And I’m not an ambitious person, it’s because of my dad I’m ambitious. I don’t know it’s astrology or him.
Recently, your wife was detected with breast cancer. What message would you like to give to women suffering from it?
You have no option, just have to be a fighter. You have to have a positive mindset and if you are happy in life… Lots of miracles have happened in medical science so it’s just patience, which makes you conquer any illness. And we are glad that we got to know about it in the initial stage and she is better now and is inspiring.
What type of role as an actor you are looking forward to?
I never thought I’ll be playing a sperm donor in my first film, or a guy with erectile dysfunction. So somewhere in Mumbai, a scriptwriter will be writing a quirky role for me. So it’s it his creative idea which comes in the same area with me.
What is your idea of love?
Shah Rukh once said love is friendship. As at the end of the day, it’s how good you feel with each other that really matters with your best friend and partner.
Who would you choose — Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Raj Kapoor or Manoj Kumar. And why?
Dev Anand, because I have grown up listening to his songs and I love the charm of him on screens especially the back and white films.
As for now, Tabu
Series you currently watching
I don’t watch series. I believe in observing life.