Tuesday, April 16, 2013


“The idea is to be real, be true to yourself, and not live in a bubble”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This interview has been published in the April 13, 2013 issue of Super Cinema)

During my rendezvous with him, he tells me, and I notice that his twitter bio says, “Actor, Anchor, Crooner, Donor, Poser, Composer, Blogger, Jogger, Hogger.” Well, I might want to suggest him to make an addition to it – Charmer. Because, every time he makes an appearance, seemingly, women are charmed by his wit, sense of humour, mellow voice and dimpled smile. While the obvious assumption would be that ‘Vicky Donor’ made Ayushmann Khurrana the man he is today, the fact remains that it hasn’t really been an overnight success for him. He’s seen a lot. Though, it was post ‘Vicky Donor’ that his popularity went sky high. His second film, Rohan Sippy’s ‘Nautanki Saala’ has just hit the theatres, and Ayushmann gets talking about the film, and all about his craft. Oh and can you believe that he’s an introvert? Well, he is. Read on…

How was it going to the sets of ‘Nautanki Saala’ post ‘Vicky Donor’?
It was wonderful, the whole experience! We finished shooting this film so fast. That’s because, we were so well-prepared, with the script, cinematography, and everything. The DOP was also a part of the workshop, so we were blocking the scenes while rehearsing the lines; it was like that. We were so well-prepared! So we finished the film in 34 days. It was hectic also. But it was good fun, and quite challenging.

You act, anchor, compose, sing, and then just when we thought you’ve done it all, you display your dancing prowess at award shows. You’re never going to stop surprising people, are you?
(Laughs) I don’t know. There was no agenda or no plan. There was no desperation to dance or sing or whatever. While I was hosting, I was hosting a lot of musical shows, yet I didn’t sing. Anybody who wants to sing would obviously sing while hosting a musical show. But, there was no desperation to sing or act even. For four years, I was getting roles, but they were roles like ‘hero ka dost’ and all, so I waited for the right time and it happened. Until and unless, you’re content as a performer and you’re not desperate to show your talent, I think it’s all cool. But I don’t know, ‘iske baad aur kya karunga main’. I think I just want to evolve as a performer, be it as an actor or a singer.

This year, you’ve been bagging an award at almost every award function. At this point of time, do awards mean a lot to you?
To be frank, I would say that awards matter to me right now, because right now I’m like this kid at a candy store who likes to have all the candies. I’m not like an Aamir Khan or AR Rahman or somebody who’s been there, done that. They’re legends. They’re stars. I’m not in a position right now where awards don’t matter to me. Of course they matter to me right now. These are the awards for my first film. And then, I also anchor, dance and all that, so yes I have to be a part of award shows (smiles).  

You think ‘Nautanki Saala’ is a perfect follow-up film after ‘Vicky Donor’, because obviously the audience expects more from you now…and how did you go about preparing for it?
‘Nautanki Saala’ is also in the quirky space like ‘Vicky Donor’, though ‘Vicky Donor’ was very edgy and the subject of the film was quite a taboo subject. But this is quite quirky. It’s a new-age comedy, it’s not a hardcore comedy. It is about relationships. It has its own subtlety. It’s not slapstick. I play a theatre actor in the film. I firmly believe that you have to give something to the character from your real life. For example, in ‘Vicky Donor’, I was a Punjabi, and it came across. And in this film, I have a theatre background, so it will come across in the film that I am from a theatre background, the way theatre actors carry themselves and all. You add a lot of stuff from your real life, in your reel life. Similarly, in ‘Hamara Bajaj’, I play a struggling actor. Fortunately, I’m getting roles, that I’ve seen in my real life, and that’s the best part. You’ve lived that, and it’s important to live the character.

So supposedly you get a role that you don’t really relate to, then how do you go about it?
Directors really help you out. Workshops help. And in the initial stages of your career, you should do roles that you can relate to. I’m still evolving as an actor. So if I had to do a role completely different, be a south-Indian or an astronaut or anything, I don’t know how I’ll be able to do it. But, I think it will come with age, and experience.

Every character needs some kind of detailing. What kind of nuances did you have to bring in for this character?
I play a Mumbai guy in this one, not a Delhi guy. We had workshops for 25 days, with Rohan Sippy, the script writer, and Kunaal was also there. Workshops come in really handy. You discover yourself during workshops. You get that proper ‘sur’ of the character during workshops. Before that, if you think you’ll just land on the set with the script in the hand, it’s very difficult. At least for me it’s very difficult. I’ve done theatre in Chandigarh for five years. But I had to go back and think about those days. The best part is, I’m still in touch with those theatre actors from Chandigarh. So, it was not that difficult. That was the only preparation, to be in touch with theatre actors. Like in ‘Vicky Donor’ I used to roam around on the streets of Lajpat Nagar, and make a note of the new words that they use. I was in Delhi five years back, and things change every year, there’s a new vocabulary every year. You have to be with the time.

Being an anchor, you must have got the hang of being spontaneous. So, you apply that while acting too?
Anchoring is like that, you have to be spontaneous; but, not when acting. Of course, certain things can be added spontaneously on the sets. But it’s always better to be prepared. You can’t rely on your instincts all the time. I think you’re spontaneous, only when you’re in a happy mood. But, if you’re prepared, then even when you’re sad, you can perform, and hence there won’t be inconsistency. If you have to be consistent as a performer, you have to prepare.

While comedy is difficult, you seem like a pro. Is it your sense of humour off-screen that translates into a good comic timing on-screen?
It does. It’s like, either you have the timing or you don’t have the timing. Comedy is difficult, but to be frank, I don’t joke around, all the time, 24/7. It’s just a mood swing. I’m an introvert otherwise. I have to come out of my shell before going on stage or being in front of the camera, but that’s about it.

Tell us your experience of working with Rohan Sippy.
He’s a very stylish filmmaker. He’s very cool. He’ll never shout, and he’s open to ideas, whether it comes from the 4th AD or anybody on the set. He’s always open to ideas. That’s the best part about him. He’s a new age director.

How was your camaraderie with Kunaal Roy Kapur on-screen and off-screen?
It was great. He’s a very good actor. Most theatre actors have the tendency to go a little loud. It’s a medium where it’s a wide frame and you have to be loud and work through your body language. But Kunaal Roy Kapur is such a subtle actor. It just seems like he’s talking to you, in a room. You can’t really know the difference between his real-life banter and on-screen acting. There’s no difference. He’s so natural. I have to be out of my shell. I can’t be in that mode all the time. I have to be in the character. But he’s such a natural performer. I play this character called Ram Parmar, off-stage, he’s Ram, he’s a giver. I guess tags like these are associated with me – giver, donor (laughs). So, yes, off stage, I’m Ram, and on stage, I’m Raavan. So, how the character of Raavan seeps into the character of Ram, that’s the story. Mandar Lele, Kunaal’s character is a goofy character. He has suicidal tendency, so I’m the one who motivates him and brings him out from that. That’s the kind of chemistry we have in the film.

I was chatting with Kunaal, and he told me you’re such a foodie! So, how is it that you’re so fit!
I have food, and it’s reflected on his body (Laughs). I run every day, I hog and I jog. Even my twitter bio says that. Also, I guess I’m blessed with good metabolism. That’s pretty cool!

How much of a ‘nautanki’ are you? Or before that, how would you define a nautanki?
That’s also a mood swing. You can’t be a ‘nautanki’ all the time. But, anybody can be a ‘nautanki’. Everybody is a ‘nautanki’ at some point of time. And since the film has a theatre background, hence it’s called ‘Nautanki Saala’, and again, it’s Ramesh Sippy’s production. It’s aptly titled.

So, after ‘Vicky Donor’ was there any plan as to the kind of roles that you want to do?
I’ve always wanted to play a theatre actor, and a struggling actor which I’m playing in ‘Nautanki Saala’ and ‘Hamara Bajaj’. I’d never thought I’d play a sperm donor though (laughs). There’s no plan. There’s no plan that I want to play a romantic hero, or action hero or whatever. But yes, there are certain roles like Aamir’s role in ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar’, Shah Rukh’s role in ‘Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa’, Amitabh Bachchan’s in ‘Shakti’ , Kamal Hassan’s role in ‘Saagar’; they leave an impression on you and make you feel that you have to do these kind of characters on-screen. But again, there’s no plan as such.

You still don’t really behave like, ‘Oh! I’m a star’. Otherwise, success tends to change a person, especially when your first film itself does so well…
I still believe I’m not a newcomer. I’ve been here for many years, struggling. I’ve seen it from ground zero. From being a theatre actor to a radio presenter to a television anchor and now a film actor, it has been gradual. It was not an overnight success. I’ve been through a lot, so there’s no point where I think ‘I’m a star’ or something. The idea is to be real, be true to yourself, and not live in a bubble. That’s very important.  

Ever thought of coming up with your independent music album?
The only problem is that there’s no place for independent music in India. Music channels won’t support it, radio stations won’t support it. The only space for independent music is online, the digital space. There’s no point making it. If want to be a part of music, then I’d rather sing for my films.

And for ‘Nautanki Saala’ you’ve sung two songs. How has it been?
It’s been wonderful. I think I’ve done a better job in the film, as a singer and as an actor. I think I’ve acted also better in the film.

What kind of music do you like listening to?
I like all kinds of music. From rock to Coldplay to Sufi to Ghazals, I like everything!

With acting, and singing, and anchoring…do you find time for yourself?
The problem is, I’m not used to so much working. When I was a VJ, I used to work ten days a month. I was used to be so free. And now, I’m living out of the suitcase, and I’m suddenly so busy. I don’t get to spend that much time with my family, my wife and my friends. But yes, no complains! You have to manage somehow (smiles). 


  1. Thank you so much Nikita! Glad you liked it:)

  2. Ankita you are way too good at it girl...!!! I wow every single word...!!! :)

  3. Thank you so much! Very kind of you :)

  4. https://www.facebook.com/Ayushmann.page
    facebook fans page

  5. Now this was 'happy reading' for me.... Great work Ankita =)

  6. How sweet of you! Thank you so much :D I'm glad people think so:D

  7. Awsome Work done.............Great..............