Ayushmann Khurrana is the actor of 2018 and the hero of his story is the script
There is nothing about Ayushmann Khurrana’s career that is textbook. One of those few outsiders – the actor is from Chandigarh – who managed to break into the nepotistic daddy-mommy network of the Hindi film industry, Ayushmann’s debut was a film that most would see as a career death wish. With his Dilli ka launda act who donates sperm on the side, he made Vicky Donor and sex as a subject kosher in the film industry. Ayushmann, in fact, appears to have made the subject his mission statement.
After fathering more children than you can be bothered to count in his first film, he played a man with erectile dysfunction in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan and a 20-something man with parents who catch pregnant in this year’s sleeper hit, Badhaai Ho. With perhaps the best delivered dialogue of the year (it took practice), “Tere Liye to Mera Baap Hi Kaafi Hai,” he again proved why he is the perfect amalgam of the middle class hero who is also a box office draw.
Not happy with just one stupendous performance this year, he delivered another in Sriram Raghavan’s Andhadhun as a (maybe) blind pianist. The actor melded into his character, making us believe once again that he has the foresight to choose the right script.
In a year that had some spectacular performances by fine actors such as Vicky Kaushal, Alia Bhatt, Pankaj Tripathi, Tabu and Manoj Bajpayee, not to say veterans such as Rishi Kapoor, Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta, Ayushmann has held his own. The actor himself chalks it up to his scripts. “My gut has never let me down. I look at stories as a layman and an audience member; I make the films that I would like to see myself. It feels great that my choices have been accepted,” the actor said in an interview.
As important as the script are perhaps the directors he chooses to work with. Raghavan is the master of his genre, who deliciously references music and pulp in his films. “The two directors I worked with this year – Raghavan and Badhaai Ho’s Amit Sharma – are poles apart. While Raghavan is spontaneous and non-filmy, Sharma is a perfectionist and a versatile filmmaker,” Ayushmann says.
If he had a great year in 2018, the next year looks solid too. He plays a prematurely balding man in Bala, which will be directed by Stree’s Amar Kaushik, and would be seen in and as Dream Girl. “Now I want to win Best Actress awards too,” jokes Ayushmann. “This year has been special for me. My choices were accepted and my films went bigger and at the same time I got the reputation as a rule breaker. I want to do more new-age content, look beyond conventional cinema. As long as the story is in the zone and we are creating value and entertainment.”
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