Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR

He’s a fanboy of the 90s and the actors of those times he grew up watching. Little wonder then, that Aayush Sharma dreamt of being a Hindi cinema actor and do all the things heroes did at that point – be it song-and-dance, drama, or herogiri. Fortunately for him, he’s just got his perfect debut in the form of ‘Loveyatri’. We catch up with the newbie to talk about his maiden film and his influences. Excerpts:

First of all, the music of ‘Loveyatri’ became so popular even before the release, how did you feel about that?
We’ve all been nervous about the film, because it’s a debutant actor, actress and a debutant director but the music turned the tide for us. The music became very popular and people have been seeing me and saying ‘chogada’ boy. All the songs have gone to different places for a different set of audience. For a debutant film, if your music clicks, that’s where you can get attention. It’s very difficult to break the clutter and make your film stand out.

For you, what’s been the biggest USP of the film?
I remember, I was going through a lot of scripts to realise what space you want to be as an actor. The option was completely mine. I just wanted something to excite me. I am a 90s kid. I have grown up watching Salman bhai, Shah Rukhbhai, Aamirbhai so for me, I had those dreams. That if I am on-screen, my film should also have a nice music, I will be dancing and doing hero things. I am a big fan of the 90s and early 2000 cinema. They used to make you feel good, entertain you, and cinema has evolved. This film has that feeling. this film is very sweet, very innocent and has emotions. And it has emotions of today’s whatsapp generation. It’s not melodramatic. It’s relatable. I had a smile throughout in the narration. Also, I remembered the days when I was young. When I was hurt for the first time. At that point, I was doing all the things I am doing in the film. He is a character, but he is not unreal. I felt that many people would have a smile on their faces after seeing this film.

What did you work on for the character?
To get into my character of Sushrut, I had to understand Gujaratis. Because this is one thing I have a problem with. Gujaratis are portrayed on screen in a very caricaturish way. They are made out to be funny. Gujaratis today, especially today’s young generation, doesn’t talk in that accent. Gujaratis are proud of themselves and that’s what the film is about. You need to feel proud about who you are. I am a Gujarati in the film, I will be proud. We wanted to make this a PAN India film, not just belonging to a particular state so we made the language. What we did to add the flavor of Gujarat was that we added the authentic garba which most of the Gujaratis enjoy. I didn’t want someone to look at my Garba and say, he is a non-Gujju so he did it. If I can compel any Gujarati to stand up and do Garba with me, then that’s a win. We see actors showing off their dancing skills in hiphop and Bollywood dancing. It’s been a while since anyone has done folk. So, we thought let’s incorporate that. There’s so much which our culture has to offer but we are inclining towards things which are not Indian. I remember when I was training for ‘Chhogada’, that time we went on set, people were trying to stop by and see what we were doing. A lot of people were saying, it’s beautiful, we’ve not seen this. It’s about taking our culture forward and I hope I can bring in all sorts of culture in our films.

Like you mentioned, you’re a fan of the 90s and you love the quintessential song-and-dance Hindi cinema, so would that always continue to be your influence?
I think so. I think there’s a strong influence and for now, I won’t call myself an actor. There’s a long way to go before I call myself an actor. I think 20 years later, if I am still in the industry, successfully played different characters, then I can say that I’m an actor. As of now, I’m an entertainer. I want people to smile with me, laugh with me, cry with me. That’s the journey I want to take them on. Entertainment is my key and that’s something I want to stick to. Again coming back to the 90s, those were the films you still watch. You can still watch DDLJ. Few of our relatives who stay abroad, tell us, we miss the Indian-ness in Hindi films because everything that they are making is so advanced, but we get that in Hollywood. This flavor we only have in India. So, I’m happy to be a part of that.

Did it take a while for you to get the right first film?
Yes, I was an assistant director for four years to be in front of the camera. That was a long period of time because unfortunately I didn’t have the experience of a filmy kid, yet people expect I should be good because I’m related to Salman bhai. I have the benefits of it, I’m not denying that, but I don’t have the experience to back it up. That’s where it took me four years to train. I was very certain that I don’t want to go out there and make a fool of myself. Before ‘Loveyatri’, a couple of scripts came and I didn’t know if I want to launch myself as an action hero, or do I want to do a romantic comedy or only comedy or anything. But ‘Loveyatri’ was that film which I thought was perfect for my launch because I got to do everything I wanted to do. People ask me how is ‘Loveyatri’ different from any other romantic films. And I’m like, every love story is different. There are two married couples but at the end of the day, their story of getting married and the moments they share with each other will never be the same. That’s what ‘Loveratri’ is and I’m proud of that. I have seen the film and at some point I am happy with what’s come out. However the film turns out, box-office won’t matter to me because I’m very proud of the product we have made. We’ve spend four months to put together the music of Loveyatri but today we are reaping the benefits out of it. So, I think it’s worth the wait.

 

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