Ayushmann Khurrana’s Article 15 is a take on India’s age-old caste system. In this interview with indianexpress.com, the actor reveals why he thinks Article 15 is an important film. He also talks about the portrayal of men in uniform in Bollywood movies.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
What does Article 15 of the Indian Constitution mean to you?
Article 15 says that there should be no discrimination based on sex, gender, religion, caste, colour or creed.
I sincerely believe that caste system should be eradicated. We should not teach the future generation about the caste system. We have been reading about it and writing about it in our exams while growing up, but what’s the need of it.
How important is it to churn out a film like Article 15 today?
If a message like this can be given through mainstream cinema, it can get more reach. This film needs to go to those people who believe in caste-based discrimination. Till the time this film doesn’t reach these places, the aspiration of the film won’t be met.
Anubhav sir had said something very important to me while we were filming. He had said that we should make sure that this film is shown in every small village of India because before this we have not initiated a discussion on this topic so openly.
How do you look at Bollywood’s hyper stylised version of policemen vs your police avatar that comes across as grounded and vulnerable in Article 15?
That’s how real cops are. Of course, we have a certain prototype of a cop in Hindi films. He has to have bulging biceps, six packs and buffed-up chest. But I think you might not get to see such cops in real life. And this is a real film and the tonality of the film is very real. It is coming from the person who made Mulk (2018), which is a very credible film. What Mulk did to the Hindu-Muslim situation, Article 15 will do that to the caste system of our country. And I am playing the more real cop, I guess. So, I did not take any reference from any Bollywood film. I met real cops and I am friends with some real IAS officers. I observed the way they salute, walk and deal with real situations.
How do you look at the portrayal of men in uniform?
We normally don’t show the vulnerable side of these men. We have tried to show the vulnerable side of the cops, and it also shows the discrimination in the process at the same time. That’s why this film is unique as you don’t get to see the vulnerable side of these men otherwise. They are supposed to be macho and always in control, but it is not like that.
You have such an interesting line up of films. How do you manage to attract such fabulous scripts?
The plan is to do films that are different, novel, entertaining and stand out conceptually. It has to be a good marriage between content and entertainment. All my films— Article 15, Bala, Dream Girl, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan and Gulabo Sitabo are unique in their own ways.