The boxy area between the aisles of bookshelves at Landmark, Andheri, in Mumbai, was packed to capacity on Friday. Teenage girls in groups giggled nervously, while young boys eagerly held up their phone cameras.
As Ayushmann Khurrana entered, wife Tahira Kashyap in tow, all necks craned and deafening cheers reverberated through the store.
The actor, riding high on the success of Dum Laga Ke Haisha, unveiled Cracking the Code — a book he has co-authored with Kashyap, who has previously published two novels. “This book is not about my journey in Bollywood.
It’s about my journey to Bollywood. I’ve been a reality show contestant, RJ, anchor and actor — all in the span of 10 years. So I had a lot to share,” said Khurrana.
The actor read out an excerpt from his book, going back to the days when he worked as an RJ and was sent to interview Shah Rukh Khan. While waiting outside his vanity van, he had penned a letter to the actor, recalling the first time he met him on the sets of Maya Memsaab in 1995.
“Having been involved in various mass media like theatre and music since a young age, I was confident of my craft but not about my looks. In fact, I was rejected in many auditions because they thought my accent was too Punjabi or my eyebrows too big,” recalled Khurrana.
The book, he stated, was to help aspirants get an objective view of the film industry. “While sometimes, less-talented people get more success and vice versa, there is no dearth of opportunities in Bollywood,” he said.
Drawing comparisons to a few decades ago when “studios were like fortresses and no one was allowed to enter”, Khurrana acknowledged the streamlined casting processes today. He termed Cracking the Code a story of his struggles.
“The book is dedicated to all the strugglers of Aram Nagar, to those who packed their bags for the city of dreams and even to those who went back to their hometowns,” he said.