Friday, November 13, 2015

“You need to live a normal life to be a good actor”

By Ankita R. Kanabar

(From the Diwali/Anniversary issue of Super Cinema, dated - November 15, 2015)

He breaks conventions by debuting with a film based on sperm donation. The irony is, he loves those conventional ‘naach-gaana-maar-dhaad’ filled Hindi films equally. One look at him, and he might come across as just another regular guy…but the next minute you realise that it’s his natural charm and effortless acting prowess which makes him click. At heart though, he is a simpleton, and that’s what makes Ayushmann Khurrana stand out in the crowd. In this candid chat, the actor-singer talks about all things filmy!

Photo credit: Jay Samuel
How different is your new single ‘Yahin Hoon Main’ from your previous ones?
Well, for starters, this one is not in Punjabi. But it’s been a lot of fun doing it. It shall see me collaborating with Yaami Gautam yet again after ‘Vicky Donor’. So hope people like it.

‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ has been one of the most-appreciated films this year, so far. How does that feel and what do you think worked for it?
It feels great that people are still appreciating it even when they see it on television. It was a one-of-its-kind film in terms of its milieu with the backdrop of the 90s, and was still very progressive. It was an unusual YRF film because it was without any gloss and chiffon sarees. Real cinema is the in-thing and ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ wasn’t just real, it was also entertaining, so I feel that worked!

Do you have this streak of doing things differently, or just being different always? That sort of reflected right from the choice of your debut film.
I was always different, nobody in my batch expected that I would be a hero in the industry, because I was this silent kid in the class with braces and glasses. But I was always interested in theatre and music. I was the co-curricular captain in school. And yes, I also started with an unconventional film. We live in a day and age where there are actors coming out every day, so it’s difficult to build space for yourself. In these three years I’ve managed to give two really different and unconventional hits like ‘Vicky Donor’ and ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ so I feel fortunate. Having said that, I’ve always been a fan of the conventional Hindi cinema. I love those song-and-dance, strictly commercial films and to gratify that need of mine, we had that quintessential 90s song even in ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’.

When you write lyrics or compose music, it might be largely influenced by your own personality. Does that change when you act?
I think every art form you do is an extension of your personality. Even with the director, their films are a reflection of their own personality. I believe even actors put in their own individuality in their characters somehow. Every person gives his own heart and soul, his own touch to every character. For instance, in ‘Dum Laga Ke haisha’, I drew references from my real life. I’ve grown in a relatively small city and I’ve seen people who have problems in English. Or in case of ‘Vicky Donor’, just being a Punjabi really helped.

Despite some not-so-successful films, there’s not been a dip in your popularity, especially among the youth. The advent of social media, further fuels that. How do you see it?
You cannot really ignore the youth, because the majority of population in this country is that of the young. It’s the youngest country and the average age of the population is 28 or 29. So if you tap that segment, half your job is done. I am fortunate that I started with a youth channel and I’ve build it up pretty well for myself. I’ve been active on social media as well and my tweets reflect my personality. I don’t use social media just for my film promotions. Your personality should reflect well on social media, that’s very important. People should see the real you, not the celebrity you. I think I use social media as a platform for people to know me better unlike other people who might be there for just promoting themselves or their films.

Your sense of humour or positive energy is on display most often, even in your tweets, but all of us have our dull moments as well right?
Of course! But I’ve always tried to maintain a decorum – that is to not get over-excited by success or devastated by failure. But I’m human, I do get upset. The time between ‘Hawaaizaada’ and ‘Dum Laga..’, those 27 days were really nerve-wrecking. I remember even speaking to Aditya Chopra if it was a good time to release ‘Dum Laga..’. But I think it worked for me. In fact, it made people forget ‘Hawaaizaada’.  But it was a tough phase and I’m glad it only lasted for 27 days.

Are you also very ambitious?
I’m very ambitious, when I play that character, but otherwise you cannot always be ambitious, because you need to live a normal life to be a good actor. If someone says I’m passionate about acting, and I want to act 24/7, I think that person cannot be an actor, because you have to live that real life to get those real life references. To act naturally, you need to be real. And to be real, you have to behave normally. So there are times when I prefer being with people who are not from the industry, like my friends who are doctors or architects. I spend time with my family, or probably go watch a play, attend musical get-togethers. Sometimes, those things are far more interesting and evolving.

Talking about evolving, and being called multi-talented…how do you really gauge your own growth?
I don’t think you have to be multi-talented to multi-task. It’s the other way round. You have to multi-task to handle the talents you have. So sometimes I feel, it would be simpler if you just had one talent and concentrated just on that. Which is why, as of now, I just want to concentrate on being an actor. Oh, and also a singer (laughs). As far as the growth is concerned, I still feel that I have a long way to go as an actor. I want to do real roles but I also want to do those typical commercial films. I want to learn action, be versatile. It’s an ongoing process. You learn with each film, and I’m still learning! 


  1. Would love to see an interview about him being an host with MTV and his journey from roadies to films.

  2. Would love to see an interview about him being an host with MTV and his journey from roadies to films.