EXCLUSIVE: Ayushmann Khurrana: In these 6 years, I have realised that nothing is bigger than the audience

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with Pinkvilla, Ayushmann Khurrana got candid about his film choices, the success of his two films Adhadhun and Badhaai Ho and the acceptance of content-driven films.
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Ayushmann Khurrana has established himself as one of the most promising actors in the Hindi film industry. The 34-year-old actor was the winner of the second season of Roadies and then went on to host several reality shows on television. He also hosted several TV and Bollywood award shows until he got his dream break in 2012 in Shoojit Sircar's Vicky Donor. The audience was all praises for the film, for its unique story and Ayushmann's performance. The journey of being the leading man in Bollywood was not an easy ride for the actor.

Just like every person trying his luck in the film industry, Ayushmann had his own ups and down. However, from the past few years, the dimpled actor is only giving amazing performances with applause-worthy stories. Be it Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) or Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan (2017), through his films, the talented actor has broken certain stereotypes that are religiously followed in the Indian society. With time, the actor developed the knack of understanding the audiences' expectations and what they want to see in the films.

This year, Ayushmann had two releases in October - Andhadhun and Badhaai Ho. Andhadhun was a dark comedy and an edge of the seat thriller, whereas Badhaai Ho was a pure family entertainer with a beautiful message. Both the films not only received rave reviews but also the audience enjoyed them thoroughly. 

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with Pinkvilla, the man of the moment, Ayushmann Khurrana got candid about his films' success and what he keeps in mind while saying yes to a script.

How do you feel when people call you the man of the hour?

It feels very good, and I feel overwhelmed. It feels good that my choices are working. People are appreciating. I made these choices only on my conviction. I have seen in the past that people were not always convinced with my choices but went ahead with their conviction, things didn't work. And when I went with my conviction, things always worked. I think I am blessed to have that intuition and I hope it works in future also.

 

You have donned multiple roles like a host, a singer and an actor. What do you enjoy the most?

A bit of everything. I came to Bombay to be an actor. Acting was always the first love. Even in college, I had a choice of joining a music club or whatever, I would choose theatre over music. Because theatre was a more wholesome experience as an actor and also as a singer we used to a lot of musicals, street plays, compose our own songs. I always wanted to be known as an actor who sings and not a singer who acts. That was pretty clear in my mind. 

There was a gap of just two weeks between the release dates of Andhadhun and Badhaai Ho. So were you nervous what will be the response and Friday usually makes stars nervous and you had to feel it twice?
 
Mujhe
aisa lag raha tha ke mere pre boards aur boards ke result saath mein aa gaye hai. So of course, I was nervous before the film releases. First and foremost I look out at the reviews. The reviews should be fine, your work should be appreciated and your film should be appreciated more than anything else. Then, of course, you wait for the first-day collection, then you wait for the next day collection. It's a loop then. I think it's been lucky for me to have two back-to-back films. Since past two years, all four have done well. So it just breaks the notion. It really doesn't matter when the film is releasing, if the content is good it works.

There's been a lot of ambiguity on the ending of Andhadhun. People are confused.  What are your thoughts on the different interpretations made by people? Is the response the way you expected?

I think it was expected. It's Sriram Raghavan's (idea). I don't know he wanted it like that. He wanted people to discuss the ending, have debates and have their own conspiracy theory or theories with the climax. But I always thought I have taken Simi's (Tabu) eyes and I have just cooked up a story in front of Sofie (Radhika Apte). That was in my head. But it was the director's vision. He always wanted it to be slightly ambiguous.

 

How did you feel when you read the script and what were the questions that came to your mind and what made you say yes for Andhadhun? 

I just wanted to work with Sriram Raghavan. I was just so confident about working with him. I got to know the one-liner that a blind pianist witnesses a murder. So that was really interesting for me. He is the one who would just keep the script in his head. He will never give you a bound copy of a detailed dialogue. He will give you a screenplay that too in English. It's a thriller. You get to know about the twists what's happening after every five minutes and that's what intrigued me. This was such a genre-defining film. The premise is dark but it is laced with humour. It was such a bizarre, unique script. That's why it made me really interested in it.  

After Andhadhun, did you expect Badhaai Ho would get such a good response?

For me, Badhaai Ho was always a bang on script, the most perfect script. There's no single scene which looks convoluted or odd. Every scene is a masterpiece in the film, every line is a masterpiece. When I read or heard the script for the first time, the instant reaction was I want to do this film. Of course, now it is reaching 100 crores, that's too overwhelming. Even with Andhadhun, I expected a certain number and expected a lot of credibilities. I thought we will get a lot of critical acclaims and had a certain number in mind. Now it has reached 65 crores, it is amazing. I am not a number person. I was bad in maths. I am still bad in maths.

 

Badhaai Ho breaks the norms of society. Most of your films have been like that. Is it a conscious decision to do such films?

You know, Bareilly Ki Barfi and Andhadhun are not breaking any norms, in a way. Our country is full of taboo subjects. We are hypocrites, to begin with. Like we have a lot of taboos, and we don't want to talk to about; we do it but we don't want to talk about it. So I am glad I am born in this country and lots and lots of issues are going to be explored in future also. So, its good to be in that space I think.

From Dum Laga Hai Haisha to Badhaai Ho, your career has only seen positive growth. Have you understood what the audience expects and what characters work for you?

In these 6 years, I have realised that nothing is bigger than the audience. Nothing is bigger than entertainment and nothing is bigger than the script. If the script works, everything works. So I consume a script like an audience member. If I enjoy the narration, I'll go for it and I'll not think twice. Because that is the most organic reaction, the first reaction after listening to or reading a script. So the biggest take away is that respect the audience. If they are spending the money, they are coming for you to the theatres, just promise yourself that you will give them something unique.

This year movies that have content have worked the most compared to commercial films. What do you have to say about it?
 
That's a great change. It started with Vicky Donor, I think. It was such a small film made out of 4 crores or something, and it earned around 40-45 crores. It was a great return of investment. It's the legacy that's going forward with respecting scriptwriters, and scriptwriters are pushing the on blog, even the actors, directors, producers everybody.

What is goes in your mind when you are reading a script and what makes you like them?

As I said, I see the script in totality. On the whole, the film should be entertaining. It should be a wholesome entertainment. And there should be a certain value creation also; it should not only be about entertainment. If you are not creating some value or giving some value to the script by getting a good subject, for example, if you are making a film only on a subject, it becomes a documentary. So it has to be laced up or padded up with entertainment. It should be a combination of both. 

If offered a content-driven film and a commercial one, which one would you do?

It depends on the script again. Even in an out-and-out commercial film, there has to be a certain uniqueness to it.

 

What can we expect from you in 2019?

It's the same. There has to be some value creation with entertainment; a certain subject which is unexplored. I'll be shooting a couple of films in 2018 and 2019 and they are also based on good subjects. I have still not announced them.

When are you planning to announce your next project?

I think in a couple of weeks maybe, or three weeks. I don't know. 

Credits :Pinkvilla

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Nice interview poo

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