It took actor Aayush Sharma only a couple of days to put behind the fate of his screen debut, Loveyatri, and the criticism that came with it. Today, after more than five months of the film’s release, the actor has moved ahead with lots of learnings and one aim, to make audience forget he is superstar Salman Khan’s brother-in-law.
Here are the excerpts from Aayush’s interview with indianexpress.com ahead of the television premiere of Loveyatri on & Pictures.
Q. How has life changed post Loveyatri?
For me, in my head, it’s still the same. Externally, yes, people recognise you, they give you love. That’s something very special. In my own head, it’s like a film came and has gone. Till the film didn’t release, it was about how it would fare but now, it’s about moving on to a new project. Life has changed in the sense that I always thought of myself as a bad dancer but with this film, that’s gone. Every time someone meets me, he or she reminds me I am a good dancer so, I am very happy with that. When I used to dance, my wife used to laugh at me. So, now when people compliment me, I give a look to her and tell her, “Yeah right!”
Q. Is it that easy for an actor to put the first film behind him or her and move on to other work?
Of course Loveyatri is going to be a special film but I didn’t invest too much time in it after the release because either you can sit down and say, ‘Let me have a good time,’ or you can tell yourself that it’s done and it’s better to move on because as you work, you stay relevant as an actor. It’s important for me to step onto the next project, listen to scripts, get my work going. Luckily, I have a mentor, who works 365 days a year. After so many films he doesn’t say he needs a break. If after almost 30 years in the industry, he doesn’t need a break, what do I need a break for?
Q. What has been the biggest learning from Loveyatri? Did it hurt that it did not perform as well as you all expected it to?
In the beginning, I was upset. I was upset with a few reviews, some criticism. Your initial reaction to criticism is being defensive. You feel, ‘They are biased against me. Why are they saying such things?’ But the biggest learning has been not to take critics to your heart, but to your brain. It took me one to two days to get over it. It did mediocre business but it could have been a wash-out. That would have been disastrous. It could have come and gone and no one would have known about it but it got its fair share of audience. The music did wonders for me. So, I thought let’s see the positive out of it.
The other lesson was that the critics were not my enemy. They were actually helping me get better at my craft. So, I made pointers of all those things that they felt weren’t working for me so that next time I would work harder on them.
Q. Do you feel a part of the criticism existed because you are related to Salman Khan?
There is a certain expectation when his name is attached to you. You can’t underperform because there are certain people, who believe, if he is backing somebody, he or she must be good. There is a kind of pressure but I see it in a way that if it weren’t for him, maybe the film wouldn’t have got the eyeballs that it got. There are so many films that release every Friday but we don’t even get to know about most of them. It’s his name that gave me the publicity and a platform. If somebody of his stature is backing me, I have to be good.
Q. But what also happens is that audience also takes time to warm up to an actor from a film family because it feels the actor had it easy, which is right, so that skepticism interferes with the viewing experience. So, did you feel some reactions came from that bias?
You are right, that happens. Most of the times even before the poster comes out, people start criticizing you. Before you even hit the theatres, people already form a judgement about you. But having said that, I can’t be the only person talking about it because there are people in the industry, who got their launches and they are doing well for themselves because they were exceptionally good. People might have come with some bias to watch them but with their talent, they succeeded. So, I can’t look at it from a perspective that “Oh! I have paid the price.” It’s always about the good and the bad.
Until my film came out, people always called me Salman’s brother-in-law. This would happen every time I walked into a crowd. I am not saying today it’s completely washed away but at least people are talking about me, saying. ‘Oh! He is the Chogada guy. It has given me a bigger recognition that people don’t mention me just as Salman’s brother-in-law but as the guy, who gave two songs, or as the ‘Loveyatri hero’. It’s a small context but at least l have managed to make some identity for myself. And now the idea is to work hard and live up to that. The day I really excel in whatever I do and people appreciate my work, all family ties will be washed away. If you are bad, people will remember your family ties but if you are good, people will forget it.
Q. So, what’s happening next? Are you working on something?
There are a couple of interesting projects happening. After my first film, I had the mindset that I would get only love stories but luckily I got approached for different genres from out-and-out commercial films to action films to parallel cinema. I am experimenting a lot. I don’t want to lock myself up as an actor who can only do one kind of film. I want to see what I am good at.