Ayushmann reveals his success formula

Ayushmann reveals his success formula

National Award-winning actor, who turns 35 on Saturday, follows a set of rules when he chooses his scripts

He’s an author, singer, actor, entertainer… it’s almost as if he can do it all. But he can’t cook: he has never tried, and he doesn’t plan ever to try it either.

“Yes, that’s because I’m not Superman. I’m just Ayushmann,” he says, bursting out in laughter. With his ‘Dream Girl’ in the theatres this weekend, Ayushmann Khurrana has spent a couple of hectic weeks on promotions. But he is not one to let stress pull him down.

“To be frank, I’m a very happy person. I know how to channelise my inner happiness whenever I have a low day,” he says. To him, a bad day is when he has not slept or fed
enough. “I turn into a child then. I’ll be cranky the whole time. But as soon as I am given some food and rested, I am sorted. Then I have the energy to channelise my happiness,” he says.

With back-to-back hits like ‘Article 15’, ‘Andhadhun’and ‘Badhaai Ho’, he has a lot of responsibility to prove himself in ‘Dream Girl’too. Ayushmann isn’t thinking too much about it though. 

“I’m just going with the flow. I have been doing whatever I think will work. I try to consume a script or material as an audience member and if that excites me, I take it up. That’s exactly what I did with ‘Dream Girl’too,” he says.

Starring Ayushamann and Nushrat Bharucha, ‘Dream Girl’ is his first “out and out masala film”. “It’s going to be my most commercial sounding film. I wanted to do something like this since I’m a huge fan of the 90s comedy genre. It’s an ode to that,” he says.

For the last couple of years, the actor, who turns 35 today, has been following a formula to choose his projects.

“It should be the first in Hindi cinema, it should last two hours, it should be a perfect marriage of content and entertainment, and should have a certain value creation at the end of the story,” he says.

If he had followed this formula from the very beginning, his filmography would have stood spotless. “I definitely went through the phase of not getting good scripts after ‘Vicky Donor’— my first film was such an albatross. That film set a benchmark and it felt so difficult to surpass it. I ended up getting only conventional roles and that’s when I dabbled in films
like ‘Bewakoofiyaan’and ‘Nautanki Saala!’. They didn’t do well in the box office,” he says.

Then he became more assertive with directors, started giving his inputs and even worked with them on some scripts. “You’re taken more seriously by directors and scriptwriters after you become successful. I’ve mostly worked with a team who enjoy collaborations, so I have been able to share my thoughts. Having said that, the scripts I’ve worked on have been brilliantly
written,” he says.

How it all began

While he seems like a man destined for Bollywood, he had another career path before he came in. He recalls, “I wanted to become an actor after I watched ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’(1988). My idols changed over the years — I became a huge fan of Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar and Hrithik Roshan.” 

But he found it difficult to tell his parents that this was what he wanted to do. “Conventional traditional families always want their kids to do something conventional, respectable. I had taken physics, chemistry and biology in the 12th standard. I was aspiring to be a doctor,” he recalls.

His career graph slowly grew as he became a radio jockey and then a TV anchor. So what beat would he have chosen had he taken up journalism as a career? “Entertainment! I’m always intrigued by everything and I ask a lot of questions to everyone. I guess, in that sense, I am still a journalist in my head,” he says.

Obsessed with script

If you were to look at Ayushmann’s work, you’d realise the only actresses he has reworked with are Bhumi Pednekar and Yami Gautam. Is that a conscious choice?

“Not at all! I don’t think about my co-actors. Script is priority. The person should fit the character. My co-actors are also totally dependent on the script. I don't even think about names or directors. Be it a rank newcomer or an A-lister, as long as the script is good, I work,” he says.

He hopes to work with Rohit Shetty, Shakun Batra and Zoya Akhtar in the future. And one day, he hopes to write, produce and direct something of his own.

“I would love to do something like that one day. I don’t have any story idea in mind yet. Right now, I am just having the time of my life acting.”

Would-be doc who switched to arts

Ayushmann was set to become a doctor, but destiny had other things in store. He had cleared his entrance exams and bagged a seat in a remote part of Karnataka. “I don’t even remember the name of the place or the college. I think it was a dental college. But something told me I shouldn’t join, and I took up arts instead,” he says. He did English honours
and studied journalism while doing theatre at the same time.

“My father had one demand though. If I wanted to do theatre, I had to get 75 per cent attendance and top my class. So in a way, I studied because of theatre. And I was one of the better students in college,” he says, proudly.