‘Great time to act’
For someone who has made a career out of playing regular guy roles, Ayushmann Khurrana believes it is a great time to be an actor in Bollywood.
Not playing safe has worked in his favour, he said. “This is the best era to be an artiste in the industry. You get to explore a lot of things which was not possible earlier. Parallel films did not make money but in this day and age, content movies are doing commercially great. The trend probably started with Vicky Donor. These films give confidence to not just actors but also directors, writers and producers. One can put their money in such films. Actors get to experiment a lot because viewers seem to like that,” Ayushmann, whose upcoming film Badhaai Ho’s trailer released on Tuesday, told PTI.
Ayushmann says he is always looking to reinvent himself and his next, the Sriram Raghavan-directed Andhadhun, is a thriller in which he will play a blind pianist.
“I started my career with an unconventional film. There is no point in playing safe because the audiences love different quirks, something that is crazy and out-of-the-box. I think that’s what my space is and if you are going to have your own space in the industry, this is where I want to be,” he said.
Working with Raghavan, who has thrillers like Ek Haseena Thi, Johnny Gaddar and Badlapur to his credit, was on Ayushmann’s bucket list. He approached Raghavan when he heard about Andhadhun. The director and actor met and he offered to take a screen test, his first as an actor.
“When I got to know that Raghavan was looking to cast his film, I met him. He told me ‘This is not a slice-of-life film’. And I told him, ‘This is why I have come to meet you. I don’t want to do a slice-of-life film with you. I want to do a thriller’,” said Ayushmann.
He and Raghavan visited a blind school and in a case of life imitating art, ended up meeting a blind pianist, who helped the actor in understanding the world. “We called him to Sriram’s office and recorded his body language and I realised the space was completely alien to him because in his school he was familiar about the geography. But a new place becomes difficult to navigate. So, I spent a lot of time researching and rehearsing.
“In all the characters I have played before this film, there is something that I have taken from the people around me but I had no reference for this character. It has been my most challenging role so far,” Ayushmann said.