Ayushmann Khurrana has been on a roll, and we don’t mind even a tiny bit of it.
His last film, Article 15, released in June, did well, both critically and commercially. And honestly enough, especially if the numbers are anything to go by, Ayushmann scored his (jaw-dropping) fifth consecutive hit in the last two years.
And guess what? He’s not stopping anytime soon.
With supremely promising concepts like Bala and Dream Girl slated to release sometime this year, the 34-year-old is pretty much on his way to prove his mettle as Bollywood’s latest hit machine.
And unlike the rest of the self-confessed success machines on the block, his success is slightly different. A bit hatke, much like his cinema — and that makes his streak a little special. Because this streak foreshadows a paradigm shift in Bollywood, where the content is bigger than the star, and the star is made out of content.
Ayushmann is doing something not many have been able to do. He’s one rebel with a legit cause – he’s not just churning out one hit after the other but is also paving way for conversations on topics that are relevant and much, much needed.
The last two years have seen him don the role of a good-hearted writer in the middle of a straightforward yet self-twisted love triangle (Bareilly ki Barfi), a soon-to-be-married, much-in-love man suffering from erectile dysfunction (Shubh Mangal Saavdhan), a brilliant musician pretending-to-be-blind-turned-blind (Andhadhun), a 20-something-year-old soon to welcome a child to his family – nope, not his, but his parent’s child (Badhaai Ho) and a cop fighting for the rights of people as people, trying desperately to do his bit to eradicate the divisions we ourselves have created through the notions of caste (Article 15). If that wasn’t enough,, he’ll soon be playing the role of a man going through premature balding and yes, a man with an ability to talk in a female voice. Also, he’s recently signed Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan where he’ll be in for a slice-of-life comedy which will deal with the concept of homosexual relationships in India. If that kind of filmography doesn’t make you sit up and take notice, we don’t know what will.
What Ayushmann is doing as an actor is quite special. Unique and wow are the most common reactions that come out after taking a peek at his choice of cinema and it isn’t exactly surprising that people too have started anticipating a different brand of cinema from him. You know, the kind that… makes sense. The kind that strikes a chord when nothing else does. In an era of mindless scripts and masala potboilers without foundations, he brings to light the kind of magic films can still create – the kind that raises awareness even if it’s through comedy, that makes you think, that makes you feel you’re not alone. It’s comfort cinema while talking about something comparatively less talked about. And that’s beautiful. That’s what makes him a brand of his own.
The characters Ayushmann portrays on celluloid is practically you and me and anyone out there, and to find a connection like that is quite rare. He’s someone who makes a boy next door come to life. His characters are as human as humans can be, but with the right touch of soul. They’re real in a good way. None of his characters are overbearingly ‘macho’ or obnoxious creeps in disguise of a lover. His characters, on the other hand, bring about a certain niceness, a certain warmth and genuineness that is needed in times like today. These characters are earnest, they respect people, they are their own individual selves despite their flaws, and that’s something the world can do more with.
Take for example his character Abhimanyu Roy or Bubla, as he is fondly called, in the underrated Meri Pyaari Bindu. His only flop since 2017. He is a writer of erotic horror novels trapped in his tragic love story with the one girl he loved since childhood – Bindu (Parineeti Chopra). He’s so flawed and torn and antagonizes the woman he also worships in his head, just to move right back to square one when he sees her years later. He’s stuck up, yes. He’s a devdas in himself, yes. But he still finds peace in his unrequited tale. He knows his flaws but never forces himself on her. He is vulnerable, and that’s okay, because who isn’t? He loves, and hates and loves again, but not once is he overbearing. He endorses the kind of love that is hard to let go, to move on from, but that doesn’t mean he won’t respect his boundaries, or hers, for that matter.
What we are trying to say here is that amid all the toxicities present in our lives, in our surroundings at this day and age, Ayushmann’s characters, his brand of cinema, even in his rare flops, gives us something that is as novel as his choices. Hope. Hope of more people accepting themselves as they are, through conversations from the topics his films address, or just by taking simple inspirations.
Why he’s unstoppable, you ask? Because he represents the positive; not just in cinema but in us all. And that’s something worth celebrating.