He does not come from the Kapoor or Khan or Bachchan lineage, he has no Godfather guiding and fetching him good scripts, all he has is tons of conviction and loads of talent. We are talking about the Chandigarh boy Ayushmann Khurrana.The actor who redefined the concept of a Bollywood hero right from his first film.
Most male characters in Bollywood are portrayed as stoic and hard-hearted. Men who don’t talk the sensitive talk. But Ayushmann’s boy-next-door characters always seem to take the bitter pills that are taboo topics and wrap them in the coating of candy that is a relatable male character, making it an entertaining ride for Indian audiences.
Ayushmann Khurrana is giving us – different characters than what we are used to getting from Bollywood. All his roles so far, have been different from the usual Bollywood hero. He is not the typical ‘macho’ guy. His characters are relatable, there is no fantasy, everything about them is real. And this boy sings!
The best part is that although his movies touch upon real time issues, but none of them is preachy. While most of his contemporaries are busy with typical masala movies, Ayushmann Khurrana never shies away from experimenting. The choice of his movies clearly reflect that he never followed anybody. Style, personality, image, dialogue delivery- he created everything of his own.
Let’s take a look at the best characters he has portrayed on screen.
Vicky in Vicky Donor (2012)
In Vicky Donor, he heralded the dawn of a new Bollywood hero. This one is self-aware and devoid of the superiority complex of most Bollywood male characters, hails from a middle-class background, and is an average Indian trying to make the best of our society and its issues. In the movie, he played the role of a Delhi guy who donates his sperm to earn a livelihood. The story not just highlighted the hypocrisy of Indian society when it comes to fertility, but also started conversations about sperm donation.
Prem in Dum Laga Ke Haisha(2015)
Dum Laga ke Haisha delivered a hard-hitting message against body shaming in the most entertaining way. In the movie, he plays the role of a middle-class man who’s struggling to pass his matriculation exams while dealing with the reality of his marriage to an educated wife (played by Bhumi Pednekar). Over the course of the movie, his character goes from being a fat-shaming, insecure man to one who realises that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
Chirag in Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017)
When you watch Chirag Dubey in Bareilly Ki Barfi or Abhimanyu Roy in Meri Pyari Bindu, you feel happy to see a character who is not just a ‘HERO’ fighting with goons, saving his lady love, jumping off cliffs and doing what not. Instead you see characters who love like you do, who have flaws like you have and whose problems are just like your own.
Mudit in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan(2017)
Shubh Mangal Saavdhan was another masterstroke that highlighted a common sexual disorder in men with a quirky story, exceptional performances and brilliant dialogues. His character in the movie suffers from erectile dysfunction, a subject that most mainstream Bollywood actors would have shied away from. Khurrana doesn’t play the uber-macho male we are accustomed to seeing in Bollywood movies. Instead, his characters seek consent, aren’t threatened by the female character’s assertiveness, and are nuanced.
Akash in Andhadhun (2018)
In Andhadhun, he plays the role of a pianist who turns blind (or does he?) in a tragic and hilarious turn of events. The dark comedy thriller was praised for its plot, and the cast, including Khurrana, Radhika Apte, and Tabu received rave reviews for their brilliant performances. Khurrana went on to win several awards for the movie, including the National Film Awards for Best Actor.
Nakul in Badhaai Ho (2018)
It creates a laugh ride because such cases actually happened and nobody thinks it can turn out to be a good movie. Parents getting pregnant is common and connects really well to the audience. By this time, it is just another movie on the Ayushmann Khuranna genre. In Badhai Ho, Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta played the leads and Khurrana, unlike most popular actors, didn’t try to hog the limelight from them.
Ayan in Article 15 (2019)
The film is about a young IPS officer’s new posting in rural India and there he comes across caste-based discrimination and uncovers some agonising truths in the face of a gruesome crime. Ayushmann Khurrrana has proved his acting prowess time and again by the kind of scripts that he chooses. We, as audience, admire his performances and find him exceptionally talented.
Karam aka Pooja in Dream Girl(2019)
In Dream Girl, Ayushmann plays a cross-gender actor whose female voice impersonation begets attention from others. It also starred Nushrat Bharucha and Annu Kapoor. He absolutely nailed his performance as the film went on be a critical success and also did wonders at the box office.
Balmukund “Bala” Shukla in Bala(2019)
Ayushmann played the role of a man suffering from baldness in Bala. It dealt with his escapades and the struggle with low self esteem, societal norms and pressure. The film, co starring Yami Gautam and Bhumi Pednekar in the lead roles also was a great commercial success.
Kartik Singh in Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (2020)
The coming of age movie from Ayushmann Khurrana is coming this year where he is talking about the social issue of homosexuality. The concept was talked many times in movies and web-series in a different genre. Critics are praising this movie and fans are already praising Ayushmann for going this boldness for the movie. The movie includes a gay liplock between Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar who is the love interest of Ayshmann Khuranna in this movie.
It can’t be denied that Khurrana has played a huge role in breaking the stereotypical Bollywood hero image. Times are changing and we need more Khurrana-esque roles to move away from the violent, misogynist hero that we’ve been conditioned to love. The new-age, sensible hero is here, and we’re happy Ayushmann Khurrana is representing and making them the new norm.
Here’s to many more memorable performances from this stellar actor who is truly an inspiration for millions. Ayushmann Bhava!