Ads Top

Ayushmann Khurrana on his dream Bollywood run wife Tahira Kashyap and more


via filmfares https://ift.tt/2Rqg8ds
He’s an outsider who’s made sharp inroads. Apart from talent, he possesses a discerning eye. To sieve the chaff from the grain. He prides over his sense of script and a ear for a good story. Early in his career, he understood the importance of being different to be noticed amidst a surge of clones. His yen for the real, the extraordinary in the ordinary has made him a mascot for middle-of-the road cinema. He’s been game to delve in taboo topics – sperm donation, erectile dysfunction and even confronting the discomfort about the sexuality of one’s parents as in the comedy drama, Junglee Pictures’ Badhaai Ho. With the thriller AndhaDhun, he’s ventured into the chills and thrills genre and yet again undone the mould. That he should be associated with good films is the promise he’s made to himself and the audience. As a person too he’s a work in progress. If theatre encouraged humility in him, a near-tragic experience has brought in a certain detachment, an equanimity, which the vagaries of showbiz can no longer ruffle. Wife Tahira Kashyap’s tryst with cancer has truly bonded the couple further. Ayushmann’s understood where the ‘core’ of his existence lies. His has been a homecoming to eternal truth and love… Excerpts…

Ayushmann Khurrana


Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, AndhaDhun and Badhaai Ho… This seems to be the best phase of your career?

I’m glad because I’ve come into my own now. I’ve learnt a lot in these six years. I’ve realised my biggest talent lies in selecting scripts. If I listen to myself and don’t take too many opinions, I’m in the best situation. My first reaction is always organic. I listen to the script as the guy from Chandigarh, who’s sitting in the theatre and enjoying the film. Then I decide. That happened with AndhaDhun and Badhaai Ho.

AndhaDhun is a whodunit. Was it an attempt to break away from comedy?

It was a deliberate decision. It was in my bucket list to work with Sriram Raghavan. I was waiting for the opportunity so that I could attempt something else apart from doing slice-of-life films. I was the one, who texted him that I wanted to do a film with him. I got to know about the script from Mukesh Chhabra. He said it was about a blind musician, who witnesses a murder. I was excited. I knew Sriram Raghavan would make something extraordinary. He said, “Okay, let’s meet. But, it’s not a film in your zone.” I said, “Of course, that’s why I want to work with you. I don’t expect you to make a slice-of-life-film.”

(Smiles) The next day we had a screen test although he never acknowledges that. He said let’s chill and try doing some scenes. I was so excited that I could not sleep that night. I wanted to break the mould. It’s rare for an established actor to give an audition out here. But it happens in the West all the time.

Are you taking risks to fight competition from your contemporaries?

I chose the unconventional path from my first film (Vicky Donor). It has worked for me. As I said, my talent is to catch that uniqueness in a script. Today, only actors with a special talent will work. What will set you apart is your choice of films and scripts. It’s also important to make your own space. And if you own that space, nothing like it.

Do you fear getting stereotyped in the ‘unconventional’ zone?

Till your films are working, no one will question you. People will only talk when your films don’t work. The onus lies on me because I select scripts that give an entertaining twist to taboo subjects. Actors often take themselves too seriously. They want to change their look and act different in every film. One must understand that the audience is only interested in a different story, not in a different you. In that different story, if you act differently, then that’s a different thing.
Ayushmann Khurrana

You tried playing the romantic hero in Bewakoofiyan and Meri Pyaari Bindu but it didn’t click. Will you explore that space again?

Ninety-nine percent of the time, romance has been the crux of my films. Be it Vicky Donor, Dum Laga Ke Haisha, or Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. The romance rides on a unique idea. Of course, films like Bewakoofiyan and Meri Pyari Bindu were riding just on romance. There was no novelty in the script.

In Badhaai Ho, your mother gets pregnant and that triggers a storm in the household. Is sex still taboo in India?

Sex is not taboo. But in this situation the taboo is that your parents cannot have sex. We don’t expect them to have sex. We expect the whole world to have sex but you can’t see your parents as sexual partners. So, it’s a hypocritical approach. You need to perceive your parents as humans first. They have needs and a sexual need is also part of their character. Badhaai Ho hits at that. Maa-baap sex karte hai yaar… Iss mein problem kya hai?

But we’re still a regressive society in many ways…

Society should become more accepting. There’s still a strong lobby against homosexuality. The bigger battle is how they will accept it since it’s legal now. I wonder how they will react when there’s extensive PDA from the LGBT community. How will an average Indian react when he sees two homosexuals holding hands or even kissing on the roadside? Apart from that, even with the law that decriminalises extramarital relations. No one was stopping themselves from committing adultery before this law was passed. It wasn’t like the law (criminalising adultery) was protecting marriage. It’s about the moral compass that you possess. There are two different Indias. In urban cities, people are a bit progressive. People from the smaller cities have a certain perception of a girl. They can’t imagine a girl smoking or partying late at night. They’ll label her as a whore. That’s extremely sad.  
Ayushmann Khurrana

Would you like to do a film that would change the perception towards homosexuality?

I’d love to do a film on homosexuality. That’s on my radar. I should be the first one to do it. A mainstream film on homosexuality should happen as soon as possible. But it cannot be serious. It must be entertaining and fun. I’d like to send out a strong message in a fun way, just like in my previous films.

Your Twitter and Instagram posts reveal a poetic and philosophical side. How do you balance that with the materialism of showbiz?

There was a time when it used to affect me. After Vicky Donor I had this major FOMO (fear of missing out). I wanted to be everywhere. Now, I’ve realised that until you aren’t secure in your own being, you can’t be successful. You must be confident with the way you are. You can’t let people affect you in a negative way. You must keep away from that. Maintain your core and go with your gut. That’s about it.

So, partying is not your scene anymore?

Well, I do attend certain parties. But yes, it’s not my scene. I’d prefer to be with a few friends at home and do a jam session with them. Or I’d prefer watching a play at Prithvi theatre or just chilling there.

But meeting people is said to bring work in showbiz…

Good work attracts more work. Nothing else works. Networking doesn’t work. Look at Rajkumar Hirani. Do you believe he does networking? He’s in his hometown Nagpur for most of the time. And yet every few years, he delivers a blockbuster. Same for A R Rahman, who’s in Chennai mostly. They’ve not turned into legends because of networking. They’re legends for who they are. They don’t give a damn about what others think. They’re just maintaining their core. They don’t do anything that’s against their true nature. Even the Bhagwad Gita says that when you do things against your nature, people don’t accept it easily.  
Ayushmann Khurrana

Which is the most defining phase in your trajectory as an actor?

Theatre. I was a different person before doing theatre. I was a party guy in Chandigarh. But theatre changed everything. When you enter the group, they make you wipe the floor, they make you do the lighting. They’ll ask you to usher in clients. It’s a chastening experience. It takes you closer to life, closer to reality. Then you do street theatre, you meet people, who’re not a ready audience. You go to a market place and call out to people. After performing street theatre, you spread a dupatta in the middle of the road and ask for money. It’s a humbling experience. It changes your perception. Also, the films I do is the next level of the street play mindset. We’d do plays on social issues and taboo topics and present it in an entertaining way. My movies are an extension of that.

But you did get a bit detached from ground reality just after your debut film…

As I said, I was a complete FOMO guy after Vicky Donor. I wasn’t confident at all after Vicky Donor. I was meeting a lot of filmmakers but things didn’t work out. There was an utter lack of mentorship. Shoojit Sircar and John Abraham were busy with their own thing. Yash Raj Films was not managing me at that time. I’d no idea what films to do and what not to do. I did Bewakoofiyan just to enter Yash Raj Films. Three back-to-back films of mine not doing well, changed me. Then suddenly Dum Laga Ke Haisha happened and everything changed. A good script is all that matters.

Ayushmann Khurrana


Recently, your wife Tahira Kashyap and you went through a traumatic time when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It caught us by surprise. We were shocked. We had a little inkling about it before my birthday. Then we were told that the mastectomy would happen on my birthday. We made a promise to each other that we’d maintain our happy life and celebrate the silver lining that it got detected early. That was the brightest spot and there wasn’t a single moment where we lost our calm. It was such a crazy phase wherein I was promoting two films (AndhaDhun and Badhai Ho) and this happened. During the day, I’d be promoting my films and at night I’d be at the hospital with her. I didn’t sleep for seven straight days. I’d wear shades so that my eyes didn’t reveal anything. I’d maintain a happy face. Physically, it was tough. But emotionally we were ready. The best thing was that it was curable. Stage zero cancer is curable and that’s a reason enough to celebrate and take it positively. If it were otherwise, then I wouldn’t have been able to deal with it.

You must have realised how fickle life is…

I see life in a different light altogether. I celebrate small joys. I’ve grown more patient. I don’t get upset easily. Pehle bhi nahi hota tha ab toh bilkul nahi hota hoon. After this experience, nothing will ever bother me. Both of us have evolved as persons after this experience. After this diagnosis, I’ve stopped worrying about my films. I realised she’s my core.

She held up well and strong…

I’m so proud of her. I also know she will make a fantastic film. She’s written a fantastic script. I’m critical with her because I’m her first bouncing board.

What’s the influence she’s had on your life?

She has turned me into a gentleman. Earlier, I was uncouth. I was a MCP (male chauvinist pig) fully patriarchal. I’ve changed as a person because of her. We share the same sensibilities though. I take her opinion before signing anything. We’re always on the same page… mostly.

Ayushmann Khurrana

Your brother Aparshakti Khurana has done well in Stree…

I’m extremely proud of him. He has had his own journey. He’s taking baby steps towards success. People appreciated him and now recognise him as a good actor and not just as Ayushmann Khurrana’s brother. He’s come so far on his own merit. I haven’t suggested his name to anyone till now. He gave auditions on his own. He’s proved his mettle. His style of acting is different from mine.

What advice do you have for him?

I tell him to be consistent, keep evolving and make the correct choices. He consults me about everything. We’re extremely close. He has a lot of energy and wants to do many things. I loved him in Stree. What a performance!
Ayushmann Khurrana
Would you like to get onto the digital bandwagon and do a web show?

Probably. But I’d prefer doing non-fiction because you can go more radical with it. It also depends on the kind of role being offered. It has to be completely out-of-the-box because digital is not the future, it’s the present.


What next can we expect from you?

Aditya Chopra once told me that you should promise your audience a good film. That’s what I believe in. My promise to my audience is to deliver a good film. You will see that.

Ayushmann Khurrana

via filmfares https://ift.tt/2Rqg8ds
He’s an outsider who’s made sharp inroads. Apart from talent, he possesses a discerning eye. To sieve the chaff from the grain. He prides over his sense of script and a ear for a good story. Early in his career, he understood the importance of being different to be noticed amidst a surge of clones. His yen for the real, the extraordinary in the ordinary has made him a mascot for middle-of-the road cinema. He’s been game to delve in taboo topics – sperm donation, erectile dysfunction and even confronting the discomfort about the sexuality of one’s parents as in the comedy drama, Junglee Pictures’ Badhaai Ho. With the thriller AndhaDhun, he’s ventured into the chills and thrills genre and yet again undone the mould. That he should be associated with good films is the promise he’s made to himself and the audience. As a person too he’s a work in progress. If theatre encouraged humility in him, a near-tragic experience has brought in a certain detachment, an equanimity, which the vagaries of showbiz can no longer ruffle. Wife Tahira Kashyap’s tryst with cancer has truly bonded the couple further. Ayushmann’s understood where the ‘core’ of his existence lies. His has been a homecoming to eternal truth and love… Excerpts…

Ayushmann Khurrana


Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, AndhaDhun and Badhaai Ho… This seems to be the best phase of your career?

I’m glad because I’ve come into my own now. I’ve learnt a lot in these six years. I’ve realised my biggest talent lies in selecting scripts. If I listen to myself and don’t take too many opinions, I’m in the best situation. My first reaction is always organic. I listen to the script as the guy from Chandigarh, who’s sitting in the theatre and enjoying the film. Then I decide. That happened with AndhaDhun and Badhaai Ho.

AndhaDhun is a whodunit. Was it an attempt to break away from comedy?

It was a deliberate decision. It was in my bucket list to work with Sriram Raghavan. I was waiting for the opportunity so that I could attempt something else apart from doing slice-of-life films. I was the one, who texted him that I wanted to do a film with him. I got to know about the script from Mukesh Chhabra. He said it was about a blind musician, who witnesses a murder. I was excited. I knew Sriram Raghavan would make something extraordinary. He said, “Okay, let’s meet. But, it’s not a film in your zone.” I said, “Of course, that’s why I want to work with you. I don’t expect you to make a slice-of-life-film.”

(Smiles) The next day we had a screen test although he never acknowledges that. He said let’s chill and try doing some scenes. I was so excited that I could not sleep that night. I wanted to break the mould. It’s rare for an established actor to give an audition out here. But it happens in the West all the time.

Are you taking risks to fight competition from your contemporaries?

I chose the unconventional path from my first film (Vicky Donor). It has worked for me. As I said, my talent is to catch that uniqueness in a script. Today, only actors with a special talent will work. What will set you apart is your choice of films and scripts. It’s also important to make your own space. And if you own that space, nothing like it.

Do you fear getting stereotyped in the ‘unconventional’ zone?

Till your films are working, no one will question you. People will only talk when your films don’t work. The onus lies on me because I select scripts that give an entertaining twist to taboo subjects. Actors often take themselves too seriously. They want to change their look and act different in every film. One must understand that the audience is only interested in a different story, not in a different you. In that different story, if you act differently, then that’s a different thing.
Ayushmann Khurrana

You tried playing the romantic hero in Bewakoofiyan and Meri Pyaari Bindu but it didn’t click. Will you explore that space again?

Ninety-nine percent of the time, romance has been the crux of my films. Be it Vicky Donor, Dum Laga Ke Haisha, or Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. The romance rides on a unique idea. Of course, films like Bewakoofiyan and Meri Pyari Bindu were riding just on romance. There was no novelty in the script.

In Badhaai Ho, your mother gets pregnant and that triggers a storm in the household. Is sex still taboo in India?

Sex is not taboo. But in this situation the taboo is that your parents cannot have sex. We don’t expect them to have sex. We expect the whole world to have sex but you can’t see your parents as sexual partners. So, it’s a hypocritical approach. You need to perceive your parents as humans first. They have needs and a sexual need is also part of their character. Badhaai Ho hits at that. Maa-baap sex karte hai yaar… Iss mein problem kya hai?

But we’re still a regressive society in many ways…

Society should become more accepting. There’s still a strong lobby against homosexuality. The bigger battle is how they will accept it since it’s legal now. I wonder how they will react when there’s extensive PDA from the LGBT community. How will an average Indian react when he sees two homosexuals holding hands or even kissing on the roadside? Apart from that, even with the law that decriminalises extramarital relations. No one was stopping themselves from committing adultery before this law was passed. It wasn’t like the law (criminalising adultery) was protecting marriage. It’s about the moral compass that you possess. There are two different Indias. In urban cities, people are a bit progressive. People from the smaller cities have a certain perception of a girl. They can’t imagine a girl smoking or partying late at night. They’ll label her as a whore. That’s extremely sad.  
Ayushmann Khurrana

Would you like to do a film that would change the perception towards homosexuality?

I’d love to do a film on homosexuality. That’s on my radar. I should be the first one to do it. A mainstream film on homosexuality should happen as soon as possible. But it cannot be serious. It must be entertaining and fun. I’d like to send out a strong message in a fun way, just like in my previous films.

Your Twitter and Instagram posts reveal a poetic and philosophical side. How do you balance that with the materialism of showbiz?

There was a time when it used to affect me. After Vicky Donor I had this major FOMO (fear of missing out). I wanted to be everywhere. Now, I’ve realised that until you aren’t secure in your own being, you can’t be successful. You must be confident with the way you are. You can’t let people affect you in a negative way. You must keep away from that. Maintain your core and go with your gut. That’s about it.

So, partying is not your scene anymore?

Well, I do attend certain parties. But yes, it’s not my scene. I’d prefer to be with a few friends at home and do a jam session with them. Or I’d prefer watching a play at Prithvi theatre or just chilling there.

But meeting people is said to bring work in showbiz…

Good work attracts more work. Nothing else works. Networking doesn’t work. Look at Rajkumar Hirani. Do you believe he does networking? He’s in his hometown Nagpur for most of the time. And yet every few years, he delivers a blockbuster. Same for A R Rahman, who’s in Chennai mostly. They’ve not turned into legends because of networking. They’re legends for who they are. They don’t give a damn about what others think. They’re just maintaining their core. They don’t do anything that’s against their true nature. Even the Bhagwad Gita says that when you do things against your nature, people don’t accept it easily.  
Ayushmann Khurrana

Which is the most defining phase in your trajectory as an actor?

Theatre. I was a different person before doing theatre. I was a party guy in Chandigarh. But theatre changed everything. When you enter the group, they make you wipe the floor, they make you do the lighting. They’ll ask you to usher in clients. It’s a chastening experience. It takes you closer to life, closer to reality. Then you do street theatre, you meet people, who’re not a ready audience. You go to a market place and call out to people. After performing street theatre, you spread a dupatta in the middle of the road and ask for money. It’s a humbling experience. It changes your perception. Also, the films I do is the next level of the street play mindset. We’d do plays on social issues and taboo topics and present it in an entertaining way. My movies are an extension of that.

But you did get a bit detached from ground reality just after your debut film…

As I said, I was a complete FOMO guy after Vicky Donor. I wasn’t confident at all after Vicky Donor. I was meeting a lot of filmmakers but things didn’t work out. There was an utter lack of mentorship. Shoojit Sircar and John Abraham were busy with their own thing. Yash Raj Films was not managing me at that time. I’d no idea what films to do and what not to do. I did Bewakoofiyan just to enter Yash Raj Films. Three back-to-back films of mine not doing well, changed me. Then suddenly Dum Laga Ke Haisha happened and everything changed. A good script is all that matters.

Ayushmann Khurrana


Recently, your wife Tahira Kashyap and you went through a traumatic time when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

It caught us by surprise. We were shocked. We had a little inkling about it before my birthday. Then we were told that the mastectomy would happen on my birthday. We made a promise to each other that we’d maintain our happy life and celebrate the silver lining that it got detected early. That was the brightest spot and there wasn’t a single moment where we lost our calm. It was such a crazy phase wherein I was promoting two films (AndhaDhun and Badhai Ho) and this happened. During the day, I’d be promoting my films and at night I’d be at the hospital with her. I didn’t sleep for seven straight days. I’d wear shades so that my eyes didn’t reveal anything. I’d maintain a happy face. Physically, it was tough. But emotionally we were ready. The best thing was that it was curable. Stage zero cancer is curable and that’s a reason enough to celebrate and take it positively. If it were otherwise, then I wouldn’t have been able to deal with it.

You must have realised how fickle life is…

I see life in a different light altogether. I celebrate small joys. I’ve grown more patient. I don’t get upset easily. Pehle bhi nahi hota tha ab toh bilkul nahi hota hoon. After this experience, nothing will ever bother me. Both of us have evolved as persons after this experience. After this diagnosis, I’ve stopped worrying about my films. I realised she’s my core.

She held up well and strong…

I’m so proud of her. I also know she will make a fantastic film. She’s written a fantastic script. I’m critical with her because I’m her first bouncing board.

What’s the influence she’s had on your life?

She has turned me into a gentleman. Earlier, I was uncouth. I was a MCP (male chauvinist pig) fully patriarchal. I’ve changed as a person because of her. We share the same sensibilities though. I take her opinion before signing anything. We’re always on the same page… mostly.

Ayushmann Khurrana

Your brother Aparshakti Khurana has done well in Stree…

I’m extremely proud of him. He has had his own journey. He’s taking baby steps towards success. People appreciated him and now recognise him as a good actor and not just as Ayushmann Khurrana’s brother. He’s come so far on his own merit. I haven’t suggested his name to anyone till now. He gave auditions on his own. He’s proved his mettle. His style of acting is different from mine.

What advice do you have for him?

I tell him to be consistent, keep evolving and make the correct choices. He consults me about everything. We’re extremely close. He has a lot of energy and wants to do many things. I loved him in Stree. What a performance!
Ayushmann Khurrana
Would you like to get onto the digital bandwagon and do a web show?

Probably. But I’d prefer doing non-fiction because you can go more radical with it. It also depends on the kind of role being offered. It has to be completely out-of-the-box because digital is not the future, it’s the present.


What next can we expect from you?

Aditya Chopra once told me that you should promise your audience a good film. That’s what I believe in. My promise to my audience is to deliver a good film. You will see that.

Ayushmann Khurrana

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.