By – Kavita Shyam
Ayushmann Khurana the Bollywood heartthrob is sure a bundle of talent. From singing, VJ-ing to acting with finesse has sure come a long way! He broke conventions with his first hit film Vicky Donor, needless to say he has had a huge fan following from the very first big screen he debuted in. His last film Dum Lagake Haisha broke many records and won awards besides got rave reviews. Currently the actor is busy preparing for two YRF movies, one opposite Parineeti Chopra. A quick chat with the multi-talented five films old actor.
Was being an actor always on the cards?
Of course, I always wanted to be an actor. Since childhood I have been active in theatre, music, and other co-curricular activities. I was the co-curricular caption of my school, St John’s High School, in Chandigarh. Even in college I was very active in theatre and I formed two theatre groups, Aghaaz and Manchtantra. I went on to do courses in journalism, radio and theatre simultaneously. In the meanwhile, Roadies happened to me when I was in college. Reality contestants want to shift base to Mumbai and try their luck in television. I didn’t do that because I wasn’t prepared for it. I went back and completed my education and after a while came back to become a VJ.
Coming to your current movie, you are learning to speak in Bengali for your movie Meri Pyari Bindu opposite Parineeti Chopra and you have two teachers tutoring you?
Yes, I am learning to speak the language. I won’t be a typical Bengali babu, but pretty much an urban lad with cosmopolitan friends. I have been to Kolkata many times.
Tell us about one of your favorite times on a train, considering you train journey appeals the artist in you? Even today you travel from the capital city to your home town by train your favorite mode of transport? So why does Ayushmann Khuranna still ride the train every chance he gets?
I love train travel for the sake of nostalgia… I know a lot of trains by their names. Even when I was doing theatre I used to travel from Chandigarh to Mumbai and there was this train called the Punjab Mail, which I used to travel by. I remember coming to Mumbai for Mood Indigo, we 10-15 bunch of boys with dholak and guitars for street plays and we used to sing for the passengers, travelling from bogey to bogey and we used to collect money. We used to collect so much money that after finishing the concert, we used to sponsor our Goa trips with that money.
You are also performing for shows across the globe?
I sang my singles in Australia which was uncharted territory for me and I really wanted to go there as there is a great Indian diaspora who stays there, specially Punjabis, for whom I wanted to perform. I have performed in the UK before and will be going to the USA later this year, so I wanted to explore Australia this time.
Also Sydney and Melbourne gigs I will embark on another musical tour from July Sunidhi Chauhan. We’ve been meaning to tour the US and Canada since last year. It’s finally happening and we are excited. “Pani Da Rang” and “Mitti Di Khushboo”, I get maximum requests to sing these two songs. We will also sing rock versions of 90s hits like “Meri Pant Bhi Sexy” and “Hawa Hawa”, amongst other hit tracks.
How do you manage to balance concerts with your hectic shooting schedules?
I’ve been performing with my band for a while now. A two-three-day practice before tour usually suffices. The previous single, “Yahin Hoon Main”, was in Hindi so this time it is going to be a Punjabi number, which I have composed and sung.
After the shoot of Meri Pyari Bindu is completed, you will begin shooting for Manmarziyaan in August, which was initially directed by Sameer Sharma, the film has changed hands after differences erupted between producer Aanand L Rai and Sameer?
Now the director has changed and the film has a new vision. Manmarziyaan is being directed by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, whose last release Nil Battey Sannata got rave reviews. I am really excited to work with Ashwini.
You are known to be a good son and dote on your mother. Tell us about the beautiful letter you wrote to her recently on mother’s day?
It was a very emotional one straight from the heart- I may not call you every day but I think about you and your well-being every single day. You may not be expressive as a person, you never say anything but whenever you see me your eyes well up and that explains a lot. You still give me money for good luck in that loud envelope before bidding adieu is just so nostalgic and loveable. And I was born with patience, contentment and dimples because of you. Strangely I’ve never said these things to you. Thank you for being you!
How does it feel to be honoured in Russia at their Indian film festival for Dum Lagake Haisha after being well appreciated in the country?
I believe the language of love & relationships is universal. “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” is about an everyday love story that has rarely been presented in such a believable manner before. This film is special for many reasons, and the honour that the Indian Film Festival of Russia is giving me makes its journey even more memorable.