VJ Ayushmaan Khurana is all set for his big-screen debut in John Abraham’s debut production Vicky Donor. Read on…
You aren’t from Mumbai but there is a story behind what brought you here.
Back home, I did a lot of stuff like RJing and journalism. After I completed my course, I thought I would take a sabbatical and I always wanted to go to Mumbai. It was then that my dad, a very famous astrologer, told me to leave for Mumbai, that very day. I was, like, “What? Why?” He didn’t listen to me and sent me to Mumbai. He said if I didn’t step out, I wouldn’t get work for the next two years. I’m happy I took his advice or else I don’t know what I would have been doing now.
Tell us about the film.
(Laughs) I play a sperm donor in the film. In reality, I have donated just once, back in 2004, when I was part of a reality show. I had never imagined, in my wildest dreams, that I would make my debut in a film which revolves around a sperm donor. The subject of the film is light but it is not a mockery of the situation. The film is very enlightening.
How did you manage to land the role of Vicky Donor?
I did not audition for the role. Shoojit (Sircar) was looking for a guy from North India, who was young and had a connect with the youth. I guess I fulfilled all the prerequisites and Shoojit said, “I want you for the film.” I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
You began you’re career as an RJ and then went on to become a television host and a VJ. And now, you’re an actor. Is it goodbye to TV?
RJing is like insurance for me. If I don’t do well in my acting career, I will go back to RJing. And, no, I’m not bidding goodbye to television but I am going to be very selective. I will look at playing meatier roles than the ones I have been doing.
Being a television host, you are used to introducing people. Now, as an actor, you are being introduced to people.
It is still sinking in. I have also interviewed people. So when I am interviewed now, I realise that asking questions is easy but when you’re on the other end, you have to look and sound intelligent. It can get difficult, at times.
Since you are a newcomer, how do you think the box office will respond to you?
People will watch our film because of its quirky subject and the content we have presented. No one will watch the film thinking, “This is an Ayushmaan Khurana film.” I’m not a star. But we are very confident of our product and I think we will open very well.
You have also composed and sung a song for the film. How did that happen?
I am told that a lot of people are surprised when they learnt of the song, but not many know that I have been part of a reality show for singers. It was Coke V Popstars. I went quite a long way in the selection process but didn’t make the final cut. One day, I was sitting with Shoojitda and discussing which music director to rope in, and I happened to have my guitar with me. I mentioned a song I had written in 2003 along with my friend Rochak Kohli, who now heads a radio station. Shoojitda asked me to sing it. He liked it so much that he decided to use it in the film. I couldn’t have asked for a better showcasing of my song than through this film. I have always wanted to use the song in some way, perhaps uploading it on YouTube with an amateurish video. But this was an awesome chance.
What was it like working with John Abraham?
He is the producer of the film but, for me, he is like an elder brother. He guides me in the ways of the industry because, just like him, I also am not an industry kid.
Were you sceptical about saying ‘yes’ to Shoojit Sircar as his earlier films hadn’t done well?
His first film Yahaan received critical acclaim. And I have watched his second film Shoebite twice. I really wish it releases for the sake of good cinema. Since he has directed Mr Bachchan, it was a kick to be directed by the same guy.