In this interview with indianexpress.com, Ayushmann Khurrana, who has had back-to-back hits in Andhadhun and Badhaai Ho, talks about how nothing matters to him more than a good script when it comes to choosing films.
Q. You gave us two of the most successful films of the year. How do you feel if we say 2018 is the year of Ayushmann Khurrana?
It is a great feeling! I am feeling quite overwhelmed right now. I am glad that my choices are working, and that it has resonated with the audience. I am really happy. This is quite surreal.
Q. You seem to have cracked a hit formula. What is it that you look for while signing a film?
Mostly as actors, as a clan, we are very self-obsessed. We only concentrate on our part, what we are going to do, how we are going to do it, and what our look should be like. But I consume scripts as a layman. I approach the script as someone who has come from Chandigarh, watching a film sitting in a stall of a small-town cinema hall. I see films in totality. Its script should work for me in every aspect. One needs to see the larger picture.
Q. You have always maintained that box office numbers don’t matter to you. But with Badhaai Ho breaking records, what is the feeling like?
I was really confident about Badhaai Ho. I knew it would do really well. We knew Andhadhun would be critically acclaimed and we’ll attain a respectable number at the box office. Now I think both the films have surpassed all our expectations. For Badhaai Ho also, I had a certain number in my head, but it is unstoppable. The numbers that the film has made, is overwhelming.
But I am very bad with numbers. I can only creatively think about my film and whether it will resonate with people or not. The more the film resonates with its audience, the more it translates into numbers.
Q. You had called Andhadhun your mould-breaker, and Badhaai Ho, an ‘Ayushmann Khurrana’ type of film. Both have worked for you. What direction does your career take from here?
Now people have certain expectations from me. They expect that I will do films with great content, and it is a great expectation to have. I am glad that the next couple of scripts that I am reading and the ones I am trying to zero in on, they are quite decent and are from the same space and yet unique. I am sure these films will also resonate with people. I now know the kind of expectations people have from me, and I am happy about what they expect from me.
Q. Were you nervous about whether people will watch both Andhadhun and Badhaai Ho since they were releasing in the same month?
I was really nervous last year. Everybody was saying that one of your films will suffer for sure. It had never happened that two films of the same actor had released in such a timespan. So, in that sense, last year was a case study. Both Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan were running parallel and going houseful. Both the films did well. So I was more relieved this year. Last year both the films were very similar, as in both were in the same zone. Both were slice of life films.
Last year people were confused. They were buying tickets for one and going to the cinema hall to watch another and then realising that they bought the wrong show.
That kind of confusion didn’t happen this time. Both the films were so different, one was a thriller and the other one was a slice of life film. It all just worked. I was confident. For the first time, my film had a festival release. Badhaai Ho had a Diwali release, and it helped the film. It worked this time, but, ideally, there should be a gap between two films.
Q. What is your plan for the next year? Do you now plan to work with more A-list directors?
I don’t know! A good script can come from anywhere. I have never worked with A-list directors, apart from Sriram Raghavan. Shoojit Sircar was not Shoojit Sircar when we worked on Vicky Donor. Sharat Katariya was not Sharat Katariya before Dum Laga Ke Haisha, same with Prasanna and Amit Sharma. So it doesn’t matter, talent is everywhere. All you need is a good script and a reliable producer.
Q. With the kind of content that has worked for you this year, are you willing to break out and do more commercial films?
What is a commercial film? I think every film is commercial as every film makes money. If you mean conventional films, then I would love to do conventional films. I have grown up watching conventional films. I am a huge fan. I would love to do that kind of film also, but only if the script makes sense. If the script is engaging, entertaining and novel, then why not?