Bollywood star Ayushmann Khurrana, who has turned 37 today, has consistently made interesting choices in his nine-year long career as a film actor. Whether it was a conscious choice, a gut instinct or a combination of both, Khurrana signed scripts which many considered taboo. From featuring in same-sex love stories, to screenplays centered around caste or erectile dysfunction, the talented artiste has done it all. But it all began when Ayushmann gave his nod to playing the lead in Shoojit Sircar directorial Vicky Donor — a movie based on the concept of sperm donation, in which Ayushmann portrayed the titular Vicky who takes up sperm donation in order to earn some cash.
When Vicky Donor released in 2012, it smashed not only the ticket counters at the box office, but floored general audience and critics alike. Now this was a rarity, not only for an outsider with no connections in the Hindi film industry, but for a film of this nature. Juhi Chaturvedi’s sparkling writing, Ayushmann and Yami Gautam’s chemistry, the fabulous supporting cast and its determined director made the project a success. Oh, and the soundtrack too, which also featured a song sung and co-composed by its main lead Ayushmann Khurrana (“Pani Da Rang”).
Styled as your regular romantic-comedy, Vicky Donor broke the mould of rom-coms by playing around so effortlessly with serious subjects like infertility and sperm donation. Barring that one monologue in the second-half by Yami’s character Ashima after she learns the truth about her partner’s job, almost nothing in the movie felt fake. It was a smooth, seamless affair with a brilliant turn by lead actor Ayushmann and his ‘mentor’ in the film Annu Kapoor, who, by the way, ended up winning a National Award for his portrayal of the eccentric Dr Baldev Chaddha. While the final product might appear near-perfect to the viewers, things were not so great at the beginning, especially when Shoojit Sircar was trying to get Vicky Donor off the ground.
During an Express Adda session with The Indian Express, the acclaimed filmmaker stated that he had a hard time knocking on doors to get the feature greenlit. “I had gone to several production houses, and they had said ‘kuch aur leke aao’ (Bring me something else). So finally I met John Abraham, we were working on the Madras Cafe script together at the time, and he told me he wanted to go into production. And I said if you are interested, you can hear the script (of Vicky Donor). I also put my own money in it. Otherwise Vicky Donor had no takers. It had nobody,” the director had said at the time.
Even casting the film was proving to be a bit problematic. Then Shoojit Sircar decided to put Ayushmann in the lead; it was an inspired choice, and the fact that Ayushmann had already donated sperm in real life only seemed like a brownie point. During an interview with Bollywood Hungama, Ayushmann Khurrana had said, “I had donated my sperm for a task in Roadies (the MTV reality show). But I never thought I would be doing my first film as a sperm donor. Even Shoojit Sircar was really shocked. He had never met anybody who had been a donor. I just thought it was a great, progressive subject. I think I attract these subjects. I think I own this ‘quirky’ genre now.”
The film was made on a shoestring budget. Shoojit Sircar revealed that he didn’t take the director’s fee for the film. He had revealed, “If you remember how we shot the wedding scene, we gatecrashed someone’s wedding. We told them when the wedding will be over, keep your plates and lights on and leave, and then we shot wedding scenes at 4 am.”
Ayushmann Khurrana, has since then, proved his mettle as a complete artiste with every new project. Here’s hoping his artistry continues to touch lives and provide wholesome entertainment.
You can watch Vicky Donor on Jio Cinema.