A Minute With: Ayushmann Khurrana
Despite its bold theme, the romantic comedy was a hit in conservative India and helped Khurrana, a known face on Indian television, gain a foothold in a competitive Hindi film industry.
The 29-year-old actor and singer has three films lined up for release in 2014. âBewakoofiyaanâ opened in cinemas on Friday, starring Khurrana as an ambitious man who loses his job but has to impress his fianceeâs (Sonam Kapoor) cranky father.
Khurrana spoke to Reuters about âBewakoofiyaanâ; why he doesnât have friends from the movie industry; and why he doesnât want to do films like âVicky Donorâ again.
What made you decide to become an actor?
I have always been into theatre and singing and public speaking. Also, when I worked in radio and TV, I had a lot of friends from the marketing side and I saw the kind of stress they go through. The targets, the deadlines. Iâve seen it as an outsider and I am not oblivious to them. I knew I didnât want that.
But there must be some stress in your profession too
There are a lot of stresses. Of course. Sometimes you get a lot of gyaan (advice) from people that you have to maintain a certain image. But I believe that if you are acting on screen, you shouldnât do it off-screen. I try and do that. But people tell you, you have to play on your USP, work on your image. But I donât know if I can put up a facade forever. Apart from that, there are a lot of frills to this industry. You have to be a zen master not to get affected by the adulation and praise. You have to be stable to deal with that. Also, itâs not a stable life. There is no guarantee, no pension. You have to slog it out while the going is good.
How do you keep that perspective, especially when you know it wonât last?
When I used to work in TV, I have interviewed people from the industry and I have seen the effects of the adulation and the fame. It was surreal. I realized that you cannot take this too seriously. In fact, when I became an actor the endeavour was not to attract so much attention. The endeavour should be to be ambitious for your craft, rather than for all these things.
Youâve seen this industry as an outsider before. Is it a different place once you are inside?
I donât want to be an insider. I will always be on the fringes, an outsider. If I watch this city (Mumbai) also as an insider, it will become too boring. From the outside, it looks beautiful. The plan is to do your work and go back to your world. All my friends are doctors, engineers, marketers, etc. I have no industry friends. I have a certain equation with Shoojit Sircar (director of âVicky Donorâ), and with Aditya Chopra (producer of âBewakoofiyaanâ). John Abraham (actor) is like an elder brother, but he is also too busy. Other than that, I donât have any friends from the industry. I have friends from the music industry, like Raghu Dixit. Musicians are very real, more grounded. In our cinema, actors are always bigger stars. But musicians get a little fame, and a little space. Actors donât have that space — they are either working all the time, or checking out their pictures in newspapers.
Do you see yourself veering towards music at a later stage then?
Unfortunately, I am more of an actor than a musician. Acting has no rules; it is easy. But music is objective and more difficult.
In âBewakoofiyaanâ, the couple fights over money. How important is money in a relationship?
Money is important, but it depends how much a person is willing to sacrifice if they are marrying someone from a lower strata in life. If you have lesser demands from life, you will be a happier person. If you are used to travelling business class, but marry someone who canât afford it, it depends if you can sacrifice your lifestyle for love.
After âVicky Donorâ, was there a temptation to say yes to roles that fit the funny guy image?
After âVicky Donorâ, everyone wanted me to play Vicky, but I didnât want that. I am working on a film called âDum Lagaa ke Haishaâ where I play a rural man who gets married to a fat girl who loves him, but he doesnât love her. Then I play a Maharashtrian scientist in a film tentatively titled âBombay Fairytaleâ. He was a guy called Shivkar Talpade, who made the worldâs first unmanned aircraft, before the Wright Brothers. It is based in 1890, and there are only a 100 words written about this guy on Wikipedia. He is an unsung hero. I am doing â1911â, where I play a footballer. I donât want to do the same thing over and over again.