As glamorous as the Hindi film industry seems from the outside, it’s as much difficult to get into it and make a mark for oneself from the inside. It is one of the biggest industries across India and Hindi films comprise world’s second largest movie producing industry. So, to come here from the outside with no contacts or knowledge of the field and still make a niche for yourself is not a mean feat. And that’s what Ayushmann Khurrana did.
The birthday boy did become the poster boy of films on uncomfortable and taboo subjects but his career graph shattered the glass ceiling on multiple grounds and not just his film choices.
To begin with, it earlier was a belief, and still persists, that reality show winners might be popular but they can never be a successful mainstream artist, especially when they came from the not-so-popular reality shows. Roadies was one such show during the second season, when Ayushmann participated in it and eventually won. He then used that momentum to become a VJ. The youth was still aware about him, yet a large section of the audience still wasn’t. But Ayushmann did make a successful switch from reality show to TV and then eventually to Bollywood.
Secondly, the actor’s film choices are always talked about. The unorthodox nature of them is discussed but as Ranveer Singh said in a round table discussion, Ayushmann has indeed developed his own genre of cinema, that he is the undying king of. Sperm donation and erectile dysfunction are some terms that were just whispered between men earlier but due to Ayushmann, they became a topic of household discussions.
Thirdly, it’s easy to say that Ayushmann chooses such subject because they work for him, but the thing to note is that they don’t work as such for anyone else because of the authenticity and belief that the actor brings to his chosen roles. It was just in 2016 that Karan Johar had to face rejection from six mainstream actors to cast the role of a gay man in Kapoor & Sons, before Fawad Khan eventually stepped in and made the character memorable. But Ayushmann never had that hesitation when Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan came to him. He also became one of the first A-lister to kiss a person of the same gender on screen. Instead of trivialising his choices, they should be applauded for the sense of bravery and equality he assigns to them.
Lastly, a lot has been said about the unorthodox choices of his, but in his other choices too, Ayushmann became the face of change as he exhibited that commerce and art can exist together and it’s not just a one-time thing. Both Andhadhun and Article 15 were not your typical mainstream cinema subjects, neither they come under the taboo topics Ayushmann is known for. They were pure art films that excelled in the technicality of the craft, but Ayush’s association proved that they can also rake in the moolah.
Even his brother Aprashakti Khurana’s Helmet co-star Pranutan Bahl noted the change Ayushmann brought to Hindi cinema, as in an earlier conversation with SpotboyE.com, she said that it all began with Vicky Donor in this generation. “He proved that if you keep the films on such taboo subjects entertaining and watchable for the audience, that’s what matters,” she had said.
While there are a lot of people out there supporting Ayushmann and the journey he has undertaken, there are a lot of sceptics too who call him overrated and his choices monotonous. But he is indeed the face of change that Bollywood didn’t know it needed until it came to them.
Image source: SpotboyE archives, Instagram/ayushmannk