Ayushmann Khurrana is all set to tell the story of Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan
IT WAS NOON and Ayushmann Khurrana looked sleepdeprived. Wearing a denim jacket and sporting a black baseball cap, the National Award-winning actor who delivered three hits last year — Bala, Article 15 and Dream Girl — admitted that he had landed at 3.30 am in the city. Ahead of the Signature Masterclass, a platform for raconteurs to get mentored under stars, we engaged in a tête-a-tête with the 35-yearold actor who is known for his unconventional choices of films. Clearly familiar with the city, Ayushmann’s itinerary included plans to savour the famed Chelo Kebab at Peter Cat in Park Street and enjoy the traditional tutti frutti ice cream, which is hard to get nowadays. Having wrapped the Masterclass in Pune, the Chandigarh-born talked about getting excited by unique stories, why his upcoming film Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan needs to be told and aiming at doing an action film in 2020. Excerpts:
How excited are you to hear the stories at the Signature Masterclass?
I am always excited to hear unique stories. India is a land of stories and this event, in its fourth season, is a one-of-a-kind platform for aspiring filmmakers and people who are highly creative. It’s a great connect between creative minds and probably they will get a chance to make a short story out of it.
What are your expectations from Kolkata?
Kolkata is the land of Rabindranath Tagore. People here are conventional yet revolutionary in their thoughts. Also, Kolkata is a melting pot of cultures, so I am expecting some great stories from this part of the country.
Are you looking for something specific in the stories?
I can’t pinpoint on one thing as anything that excites me, I go with it. For instance, the contestant who came first in Pune, came up with an amazing story, something I have never heard before. My last film Bala, was written by Pavel Bhattacharya of Kolkata and he came out of nowhere. I am receptive towards different ideas from different people and not just professionals.
Does the pressure of matching the expectations of the fans to deliver something unique each time plays in your head while choosing the script?
There is always pressure but I don’t consider the expectations to be something negative. It is very important to give something different in the face of competition from the OTT platforms. The elbow room to do radical and different stories is more in the web platforms while we have a sensor board to deal with in the mainstream cinema. So, yes, there is pressure to keep that promise of delivering something unique or give the first attempt at that concept.
What kind of roles are you looking forward to this year?
I want to do an action film in 2020 and I am fiercely looking for stories that are thrilling and different from my genre. My last three films — Dream Girl, Bala and Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan — have been about slice of life and I would like to break that with something more interesting like Article 15.
How many scripts are lying in your mail box?
I read one script almost every two days. So that means a lot of scripts.
Next we are seeing you in Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan. Tell us about that.
Shubh Mangal... is India’s first commercial gay love story and it needs to be told. Though Article 377 has been revoked we are not receptive towards the community. We still think conventionally and that is the reason we need a commercial film on the subject. If you are making a left-of-centre film which is like parallel cinema for festivals, you are already preaching to the converted ones and not catering to the audience who are against homosexuality.