The rise and rise of Ayushmann Khurrana

Actor Ayushmann Khurrana made his Bollywood debut in 2012 with the Shoojit Sircar directorial Vicky Donor. Since that year, the actor has delivered multiple box office successes and quite a few critically acclaimed films as well.

And now the actor is gearing up for Article 15, a political drama helmed by Anubhav Sinha. There is no way one can talk about caste without mentioning the political intricacies it has been entangled in for ages, which makes Article 15 a risky project. However, Ayushmann is an old hand when it comes to taking cinematic risks.

Right from the beginning of his career, Ayushmann Khurrana has been dabbling with what one might consider as ‘unconventional projects’. Vicky Donor was one of the first Indian movies to discuss the subject of sperm donation at length. Despite the nature of the film, Vicky Donor managed to elicit rounds of laughter from the audience. And mind you, not the flippant, making-fun-of-sex kind. Of course, the credit also goes to writer Juhi Chaturvedi and filmmaker Shoojit Sircar for creating something that was at once entertaining and talked about something topical without taking itself too seriously.

And then after his initial peak, there were a few failures like Nautanki Saala, Bewakoofiyaan and Hawaizaada. But with 2015’s Dum Laga Ke Haisha, things turned around for the better. So maybe there is a pattern here, the pattern being that Ayushmann performs to the best of his abilities when he is taking up a new challenge, stepping out of his comfort zone.

The Sharat Katariya film propelled Ayushmann Khurrana to another level of fame. The one that established him as the actor who is capable of converting the seemingly unfamiliar topics to something warm and familiar. After all, how many times has Bollywood coupled a hero with a plus-sized heroine, and how many times has that worked?

Then after a two-year sabbatical, Ayushmann returned to the big screen with the 2017 movie Meri Pyaari Bindu. While the actor’s performance was received positively, the romantic drama was not able to capture the imagination of viewers at large. Meri Pyaari Bindu was panned for not fleshing out its female lead Parineeti Chopra’s character enough. Her role was basically reduced to an agent who helped bring out different flavours of Ayushmann’s Abhimanyu Roy on screen.

Ayushmann, however, completed 2017 with a bang by delivering back-to-back blockbusters — Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan. While Bareilly was a well-done love triangle (also featuring the versatile Rajkummar Rao and Kriti Sanon), Shubh Mangal Saavdhan again shone light on something that many often don’t seem comfortable talking about — erectile dysfunction.

Shubh Mangal Saavdhan balanced humour and a delicate topic with intelligence and gloved hands. The movie also saw a much slimmer Bhumi Pednekar, who had previously gained weight for Dum Laga Ke Haisha. The chemistry of the actors was appreciated and director RS Prasanna earned praise for bringing to light a subject that needs more coverage.

And just like in 2017, Ayushmann delivered hits in 2018 as well in the form of the Sriram Raghavan thriller Andhadhun and the dramedy Badhaai Ho.

With Andhadhun, Ayushmann forayed into the untraversed territory of a thriller. Badhaai Ho was a markedly ‘different’ movie from the ones he had done previously as it was the first time a Bollywood film explored the uncharted space of a pregnant elderly lady.

This year, Ayushmann is looking forward to the release of a slew of movies. While Article 15 releases on June 28, he also has Dream Girl and Bala in the pipeline.



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