How A Chandigarh Boy Went From Buying Film Tickets In Black To Ruling The Box Office

Building up a stellar reputation and an exceedingly loyal fan base is something that even the best struggle with; but the actor has so effortlessly achieved this, in a film career spanning just seven years. With successive hits, critical acclaim, awards and accolades, and immense recall value – Ayushmann Khurrana isn’t just a name, it’s a phenomenon. The self-effacing star has an enviable penchant for good scripts; somewhat akin to a nose that a connoisseur has for fine wine. 

As he turns another page in the chapter of his book, Ayushmann Khurrana self-admits that he is not a birthday person. “I don’t like celebrating my birthdays. Any other day, I will probably party. But not on my birthday. I don’t know, I get depressed on my birthday. It will probably be a working birthday, I don’t know.”

The Boy With A Dream

The powerhouse performer had humble beginnings in Chandigarh, with no signs of a connection to films anywhere in sight in the family tree. But the actor had birthed the idea of coming to Mumbai ever since his school days, when he grew up doing, or what we now call, ‘binge-watching’, Hindi cinema. He came to the ‘sapno ka sheher‘ armed with what seemed like a crazy dream by a young teen, a zeal for cinema, and tons of passion to make it big. The maestro of offbeat roles, Dream Girl Ayushmann Khurrana actually had some dream roles for himself when he came to the city.

When you come to Mumbai, you create a certain perception in your mind because you’ve grown up on Hindi films. I thought Shah Rukh Khan’s character in Kabhi Ha Kabhi Na would be my dream role. Then I thought Aamir’s character in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and even Amitabh sir’s character in Shakti was my dream role.

Multiple Talents In One

The man of many varied talents – Ayushmann Khurrana is a man who can sing, dance, anchor, write poetry, perform, imitate, play instruments, video jockey, and even do daredevil stunts like he did in Roadies where he began his journey. But the actor had his priorities sorted ever since he entered the industry, as he reiterates the same, “I always wanted to be known as an actor who sings and not a singer who acts.”

Charting A Brave New Path

From playing a sperm donor, to a man struggling with erectile dysfunction, to a blind pianist witness to a murder, there is no area that the actor would not have tried and tested. With a career graph that boasts of critical acclaim and commercial success, the ‘crack’ that he has towards his success is the subject of instant admiration. Many a question are pushed in that direction, as Ayushmann Khurrana is asked about how he ends up selecting the most unique subjects when others still struggle to get out of the throes of repetitive scripts. The actor says –

About four years back, Aditya Chopra told me that I should do films where people expecting something out of me. They should have an expectation of good content when they see me. I am glad that I am able to achieve that now.

The actor spills a secret; the fact that he consumes the script as a layman, drawing from his childhood immersed in good cinema.

I am the public, a boy from Chandigarh who’s bought tickets in black and revered films since childhood, and when I choose scripts, I take out the garb of an actor-slash-star, and I consume the script as a layman.

The Obstacles On The Road Less Travelled By

Life has never been a bed of roses for the actor, but the view is nice from where Ayushmann Khurrana currently stands. He has sacrificed spending time with his children, spent sleepless nights, and has even been warned that he would be left alone trudging down a path nobody else would dare to venture toward.

I still remember most people in the industry warning me that I was not playing the stardom game and that I was becoming niche because these content films don’t do big numbers.

The actor has also battled a fear and a notion of being typecast into a certain genre of films, a phenomenon that is not limited to a single actor but industry-wide. But Ayushmann Khurrana has an argument to this hurdle as well, as he believes, “Nobody will tell you that you’re typecast until your films aren’t working; if it’s working, they’ll call it your ‘zone’.”

But the man is ever-ready to take up one challenge after another, and his next film Dream Girl is an embodiment of this very fighter within him.

I like taking challenges, and this film of this ilk, of this tonality is different for me because I wanted to do a masala film. I have grown up watching masala films, commercial films, so it was part of my bucket list to do a masala film like that. And by the end of the film, there is a message, “We are all lonely.”

The actor has paved a brave new path for the young generation of actors, who are inspired by his journey to say the very least. Awards and accolades have showered in Ayushmann Khurrana’s direction, his most recent and iconic win being the National Award for Best Actor for his film Andhadhun.  Humble as always, the actor had this to say about his journey up till now, “Uth kar gira, gir kar utha. Chala. Udaa. Aaj unhi thokaron ki khaatir mere haq mein rashtriya puruskaar hai.

As he eyes the ‘Best Actress’ award for his next film Dream Girl, Ayushmann Khurrana is that unstoppable force that will linger on for ages to come. Success never stops coming his way, but he is not one to get complacent about it. As the actor says in his own words, “I know I have become a star, but I don’t want to believe it.”