Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR
He’s never been shy to pick unique subjects and roles which surprise people – his debut film itself being a testament to that. Having a tremendous year behind, Ayushmann Khurrana is back with ‘Article 15’; a hard-hitting subject and role this time around. In a quick chat, we discuss the film and more…
What did you think of ‘Article 15’ when it came to you?
Anubhav sir had initially offered me a romcom and ‘Article 15’ was called ‘Kanpur Dehat’ and I got really excited about the subject. It’s a film which I extracted out of Anubhav sir (laughs). It didn’t really come to me.
How was it playing a cop for the first time?
It was really exciting and more so because I was playing a real cop and not a filmy cop. I took references from real cops, not from filmy cops. It’s a part of the bucket list for every actor to play a cop on-screen. Wearing a uniform just gives you that poise. So it was just very exciting.
What was the prep which went into it?
As I mentioned, I met real cops. Mr. Manoj Malvya is a senior IPS officer in Delhi, who is a friend of mine so I’ve observed him over the years. My wife Tahira’s father was an IG police officer in Punjab so I’ve been watching and observing cops since my childhood days so I didn’t take references from filmy cops.
And how was it to have such a film post ‘Andhadhun’ and ‘Badhaai Ho’?
The dual success of ‘Andhadhun’ and ‘Badhaai Ho’ gave me the courage to do a film like ‘Article15’ which was dark, socially relevant. Of course, from the commercial point of view, it is believed that the audience is slightly reluctant to watch such dark films but this is a film which is very important for the society of our country and it needs to be watched by every Indian.
What’s been your reaction to the success of these films and the great year you had?
It gives you a sense of validation that your choices are being appreciated by people and they’re resonating with them. I truly believe in the middle of the road cinema which gets you critical and commercial happiness, both.
Was ‘Article 15’ a departure from the roles you’ve played so far?
Of course. Not just a departure in terms of my role, but also in the genre and it’s quite exciting and challenging at the same time. It’s a socially relevant film and it not only takes efforts to play such a character but you have to do a lot of research for a film like this. And it’s been quite satisfying because we’ve been getting appreciation from every corner. It got premiered at London International Film Festival and this film has given us a lot of credibility because it’s something which you do as a socially conscious artist and a citizen. This has been like a passion project for both Anubhav sir and me.
Tell us about the line-up of films post this.
I’ll be coming up with ‘Dream Girl’ with Balaji and ‘Bala’ with Amar Kaushik and Maddock Films. ‘Gulaabo Sitabo’ will happen with Shoojit sir and Mr. Bachchan and ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ with Anand L. Rai. So, I’m quite excited about all these films because all of them are different subjects, very quirky and entertaining!