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  • Writer's pictureRamachandran Srinivasan

Content after a decade of content

Ayushmann Khurrana feels his gutsy content choices resulted in him having an incredible decade in cinema that has shaped the Hindi film industry.

S Ramachandran

On April 20, Ayushmann Khurrana completes 10 years in the Hindi film industry! A rank outsider, Ayushmann has established himself as the face of content cinema in India that is now lovingly called ‘The Ayushmann Khurrana Genre’! His blockbuster social entertainers that triggered national conversations, are some of the key highlight points of the last 10 years in Indian cinema. Voted as one of the Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine, Ayushmann feels ‘being an unhinged risk-taker’ of scripts and roles is the key to his soaring success.

Ayushmann, who has delivered smash hits like Vicky Donor, Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan, Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Badhai Ho, Bala, Article 15, Dream Girl, Andhadhun, to name a few, in his decade in cinema, says, “It has been an exhilarating decade in cinema for me. For someone with absolutely no connection, no in-roads in the Hindi film industry, I find myself grateful today that I found quality mentors who believed in me more than I believed in myself at the start of my career and guided me to where I’m today.”

He adds, “If I had to describe my decade in cinema, I would say that being a purist to my craft, being an unhinged risk-taker worked for me because I walked the path less-travelled. Today, when I look back at my body of work, I’m deeply proud of my decisions. I think I have always been adamant about finding the best films and that decision has been the most rewarding one for my career.”

Ayushmann’s cult classic Vicky Donor released today in 2012. The Shoojit Sircar directorial presented a new brand of heroism who was deeply relatable, flawed yet had the will power to rise up against the odds to present a strong moral compass. It made Ayushmann an overnight sensation!

Ayushmann says, “Today, I’m reminded of filming Vicky Donor, a film that became my calling card to the industry about the movies that I would like to back. I’m thankful to Shoojit da, Ronnie Lahiri and John Abraham for trusting a rookie like me to headline a project that is now being called a generation defining film. I’m slightly emotional about today and feeling very nostalgic.”

He adds, “It brings back a deluge of fond memories, reminds me of my days of struggle, exasperation, determination, small joys and big successes. It’s further reinforced my belief about never picking safe scripts. I think audiences have a certain expectation from my brand of cinema today and I hope to entertain them thoroughly throughout my career in movies. I thank every filmmaker who took a punt on me. I’m who I’m today because of them and all the films that I have done.”

“My journey in cinema has been filled with learnings and have been lucky enough to chance upon great mentors and incredible scripts. When I debuted with Vicky Donor, I was lucky to have found someone like Shoojit Sircar who guided me and shaped me as a performer and a hero. I became an overnight star and trust me, no one can prepare you for it! You do feel slightly lost when such an overwhelming moment arrives. I have to admit that I didn’t know what hit me. I didn’t know which films to choose and which ones to avoid. I didn’t have a direction how to handle my career,” he says.

After he sowed the sperm in Vicky Donor it has many offspring now. “Haha! You said that right. But it is a collaboration of great minds which started with Shoojit and went on to Sharat Kataria (Dum Laga Ke Haisha), Anubhav Sinha (Article 15), Amar Kaushik (Badhaai Ho) Prasanna and Hitesh Kewalia (Shubh Mangal Saavdhan franchise) and Sriram Ragahavan and now Abhishek Kapoor. I worked with great minds. I am just the face of that change. I cannot take credit for that. My filmmakers have to. The real changemakers are the scriptwriters and directors. The advent of world cinema and great progressive content through OTT has also helped recently,” he adds.

Ayushmann has a smart line up of films in 2022. He will be next seen in Anubhav Sinha’s Anek that releases on May 27, Anubhuti Kashyap’s next and film-maker Aanand L. Rai’s Action Hero being directed by debutant Anirudh Iyer.

His house has a huge set of trophies, you notice? Time to buy a new house to keep the trophies? “Ha, Ha! Fingers crossed!”

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