After entering Bollywood with a bang with Vicky Donor (2012), Ayushmann Khurrana was primed to make it big in the Hindi film industry. But things went a bit awry when his following movies — Bewakoofiyan (2014) and Hawaizaada — failed to make an impact at the box office. However, the actor has now bounced back — both critically and commercially — with his latest release, Dum Laga Ke Haisha. Here, he opens up about success, failure, family and more.
With the success of your new film, do you feel you are back in the game?
I don’t want to be in the game; I am too lazy (smiles). I just want to create my own niche — of an actor-singer. I want to do films that make me and my family happy, and make my father, proud. It’s very strenuous to be in the game.
How important is the success of your new film after two back-to-back unsuccessful ones?
It’s very important. But I am quite fearless when it comes to decision-making. I don’t think much before taking decisions. However having said that, more than success, failure teaches you a lot. I have become a more mature person after two unsuccessful films.
Did failure scare you?
I have become immune to success and failure. I have seen a lot of rejections in life. In fact, rejections make me more ambitious. I remember the second schedule of my latest release started after Bewakoofiyaan (2014). Sharat (Katariya; director) was like, "Is everything okay? You are giving good shots in just two takes." So, failure made me a better actor (laughs).
Were you expecting such a stupendous response to your new film?
I think I had the same feeling during Vicky Donor (2012). During the making of the Dum Laga Ke Haisha, we were sure that it will be liked by critics because it’s unlike other films from the same production house — it’s very real, rooted and earthy. But the kind of reaction that the film has got from the audience is unbelievable.
Watch: Dum Laga Ke Haisha review
Did you ever feel people were starting to write you off?
My belief in my craft is intact because people still say good things about me. It scared me as far as my decisions and my choices were concerned. I feel everyone is talented, but things really boil down to your choices. I have realised that your first instinct is the best thing. It worked with Vicky Donor, and the same has happened with my latest release.
The release date of your recent film was preponed. What was your reaction to that news?
I was shocked. The trailer of the film came out two days after the release of Hawaizaada. Then I met Adi sir (producer Aditya Chopra) because I was panicking. He told me, "As a coach who knows that you are feeling down and out, I am telling you to get up and be ready to fight again, and this time you will win." His confidence gave me a lot of confidence.
How does the industry react to an actor’s success and failure?
There’s a change in the promptness of the messages you get. When a film does well, people who are bigger than you are prompt with their messages. Otherwise, they are not. But I don’t blame them. I have accepted this as a rule of the game. Right now, the best part is that my new film is doing well, so the messages are more prompt (laughs).
How has your family reacted to your latest hit?
They are very proud. In all this, I have tried to stay as normal and sane as possible. I never let success go to my head and failure to my heart.
Do you end up making enough time for your family and kids?
My kids are doing well. I wish I could be a better father, though. I hardly get time to spend with them. I am blessed that my parents and in-laws are helping me out. Recently, when Tahira (wife) went to the University of California, Los Angeles, USA, to do a course, I was babysitting in Chandigarh, right after Hawaizaada (laughs). My family keeps me close to reality. I am glad that they understand that I need to work hard at this point and give more time to my profession.
What’s next for you?
Now, I will not sign films in a hurry. Both Adi sir and Shoojit (Sircar, director) have told me, ‘Relax a bit. Don’t sign just about any film. Do events, paint or go farming for a year.’ I will be very careful about what I do next. As of now, I am preparing for Shoojit’s next.