There's something about Ayushmann Khurrana. Something that has helped him swiftly jump up the ladder -- something that makes him a sparkly human. And something that makes every character of his so relatable. He is understated -- in many ways, an under dog. He was written off as a flop actor when his three releases -- after the sleeper hit debut movie Vicky Donor -- flopped. But then came Dum Laga Ke Haisha and there was no looking back for him.
Ayushmann went on to do become the go-to person for every tabboo subject in the country -- a self-professed Mahinder Vatsa. Be it erectile dysfunction or middle-aged pregnancy, Ayushmann became the face of change -- a change where the script was supreme. And nothing else mattered.
In Andhadhun, where he was beaten black and blue several times, you don't feel pity; you feel disgust at the man who drove himself to the pit of destruction. The beauty of his acting was such that people hated and loved his character in equal measures. And it earned him a National Award for Best Actor too.
But despite this -- despite the National Award in his kitty -- would one find him in their list of high-rated stars? Stars, not actors. You have the Khans, the Kapoors, the Dhawans, the Kumars and the Singhs. But the Khurranas are just too low-key. But maybe that's how Ayushmann likes it. He is not a regular feature at big bashes, or award nights. But on the list of directors, the man of the hour has moved up aeons. One can find debutante directors trusting him with all their money and talent -- Amit Sharma directed him in Badhaai Ho, Raj Shaandilya in Dream Girl (that released only yesterday) and Sharat Katariya in Dum Laga Ke Haisha.
What makes Ayushmann so different from all his peers is his appetite for adventure and risks. Nobody in the top line of A-listers would have taken a risk with a subject like erectile dysfunction in Shubh Mangal Savdhaan -- that's every bit contrary to what 'hero'-ism in the Hindi film industry stands for. Or soon-to-be-released Bala -- where the hero is a balding, brooding man. Or the under-production Shubh Mangal Zyaada Savdhaan -- where the hero is touted to be gay. But Ayushmann is a risk-taker, and much more than that, an intelligent actor who catches the nerve of the audience, who knows the 'hero' is a passe and that they have moved on to more real version of their blue-eyed boys.
"I remember immediately after Dum Laga Ke Haisha somebody tweeted that you are a flop actor. I was about to tweet back to that person saying that the movie was a legit hit. But then I realised what’s the point of doing it. If I become a hit actor nobody will tweet that so then I made sure that all my films are successful. So I always used to put the script ahead of my character and that was my only aspiration to give successful films," Ayushmann once said, in an interview.
If there were a template to translate words into action and actualise creative aspirations into cinematic brilliance, Khurrana has hacked it and how. He indulges in Hindi poetry -- he posted a poem of his on his Instagram when he won the National Award, he writes and co-composes songs, and sings them. And he acts. Ayushmann has achieved it all -- and without much ado or show off.
On August 10, a day after the 66th National Awards were announced, Ayushmann posted the above-mentioned Hindi poem on his Instagram. The last two lines of the verse -- uthh kar gira, gir kar uthha, chalaa, udaa/aaj unhi thokaron ki khaatir mere haq mein rashtriya purasksar hai -- described his entire journey. He plays to his strengths -- he knows he is no Hrithik Roshan and he doesn't even try to be. He is an aam aadmi ka hero. And he does that with elan -- be a normal middle class person, who laugh, cries, falters, falls, gets hurt, loves, hates and does everything the archetypal hero does not.
So, yeah, AK sings, dances, is witty and can act. But the thing he does best is -- choose the right script. How else can you explain Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Savdhaan, Andhadhun, Badhaai Ho, Article 15, and the recently released Dream Girl -- all back to back? There has to be some magic potion, some method to this madness. The method he says is his gut and intuition.
"I go with my gut and intuition. I keep my basics right. One is, it has to be absolutely fresh concept for the Indian cinema, number two, concept has to last for two hours, what happens most of the time, the concept is good but film doesn't work and third is, it has to have some kind of value addition," Khurrana said, in an interview.
Today, on his 35th birthday, and a day after the release of Dream Girl, the world is talking about his brilliance in the movie, and not the movie. Ayushmann became Pooja for the stretch of 137 minutes for the critics and viewers alike and pulled the movie several notches higher than where it had initially aspired to land.
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Is connection mein kaafi cross connection ki sambhavna hai! #DilKaTelephone song out today! ❤📞 @nushratbharucha @ektaravikapoor @shobha9168 @ruchikaakapoor @writerraj #AnnuKapoor @nowitsabhi #VijayRaaz @oyemanjot @rajbhansali92 @EkThapaTiger @thinkinkstudioindia @akshat_r_saluja @nirmaand @meetbrosofficial @jonitamusic @nakash_aziz @kumaarofficial @Balajimotionpictures @ZeeMusicCompany @ZeeStudiosint #DreamGirl #DreamGirlOn13thSep #13KoMainTeri Music: @meetbrosofficial Composer: @meetbrosofficial Singer: @meetbrosofficial @jonitamusic @nakash_aziz
For indiatvnews.com too, Ayushmann was Pooja by every sense and sensibility. And there's no role made on the surface of the planet this man cannot pull off.
There is indeed something about him. That you cannot help but fall in love with all his characters -- basically, him.
A very happy birthday, Pooja! Ayushmann Bhava!