Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR

Not many actors can boast about doing films that are a first, when it comes to their subject or content. Well, AyushmannKhurrana can! Be it ‘Vicky Donor’ or ‘ShubhMangalSavdhaan’, and recently with ‘Andhadhun’ and ‘Badhai Ho’, AK has hit different yet right notes. A bundle of talent, brimming with excitement as always, we have a yet another fun chat with the actor about his recent successes and the two-decade old movies that he’s grown up on!

Congratulations are in order, with the humungous response to both, ‘Andhadhun’ and ‘Badhai Ho’!
It’s very overwhelming that things are so positive and people have reacted in this fashion. It’s my first festival release, and ‘Andhadhun’ released two weeks back. Both the films are simultaneously running housefull and that’s a rare feat for any actor. So, it’s overwhelming.

So how was it to get into SriramRaghavan’s clutter-breaking zone and then get into the ‘Badhaai Ho’ world?
The films released back-to-back, but while shooting I had a good gap between both these films. Co-incidentally, just the release dates got close by because Sriram sir wanted to work more on the edit and then, the background so he took time and it ended up releasing two weeks prior to ‘Badhaai ho’. But it all worked in a way. It just reassured the fact that good cinema works always, it doesn’t matter when are you releasing it. If the film is based on a good subject, has good content, it’s all good.

Perhaps, that has worked for you in a great way, because seemingly, people have woken up to your charm as a performer all over again. Is that true?
I don’t know really. But I did these films with my conviction, I always believed in those films. The commercial success is also quite surprising. For instance, a film like ‘Andhadhun’ has crossed 65 crores, ‘Badhaai Ho’ has neared 100 crores. That happened even last year. But this time the commercial success is bigger than last year. It’s unbelievable, but I want to keep my head on my shoulders and hope to make the right choices in the future as well.

“I’m glad I’ve chosen subjects which have no reference to anything in the past in India”

Has it also got to do with the time we’re in, which has lead to this sort of response to these films?
We’re in a great era right now. India is going through a great transitory phase, which is content driven. That middle of the road cinema where critical appreciation is followed by commercial success will never go out of fashion. You have to churn new exclusive content every single time for people to reciprocate and go to the theatres. I’m glad I’ve chosen subjects which have no reference to anything in the past in India. That’s uniqueness has brought visibility and it’s translated into commercial success.

As a part of our 20th anniversary issue, tell us which are the films you’ve grown up on? Also, if you can pick some of your favourite films from over two decades ago?

My favourite film which is more than two decades old is ‘DDLJ’. It was rooted, cultured and the whole vibe of Europe and Punjab – was cool and desi. The entire generation fell in love with Raj and Simran. Another one would be ‘Jo JeetaWahiSikandar’. That film was also ahead of its time. That film still gives you butterflies. Butterflies of love, getting distracted by it. It was an Archie kind of situation with PoojaBedi and Ayesha Jhulka. There was sports in it. Even now, it’s a cult film for me. Then, ‘KabhiHaanKabhiNaa’ was such a beautiful film. When I came to Mumbai for the first time, I always thought I will do a character like SRK from ‘KabhiHaanKabhiNaa’. He was a guy next door, he was charming, he was into music. It was all in an organic real way, nothing filmy about it so that was beautiful. I think ‘Rangeela’ was amazing. Aamir Khan was so brilliant in ‘Rangeela’. Urmila was re-invented in it, it was a classic film, I love the songs as well.

Interestingly, while we speak about all these films, they somehow are stories of underdogs who rose high eventually – rather real characters. You’ve also, never shied away from playing such parts. Does your influence come from these kind of films?
I think, it’s the writers who believed that the audience always roots for the story of underdogs. If they are protagonists in the film, then you also relate to them. Everyone wants to be successful, but you have your own complexities in life. And people resonate with these underdog characters, because we are not perfect. We all have our imperfections and that’s what we celebrate. Especially, in my kind of films, we celebrate imperfections.

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