When Shoojit Sircar was looking for a male lead for his film 'Vicky Donor', he was very clear about one thing- that he wanted someone who is spontaneous, chirpy and exudes North Indian charm and Ayushman Khurana is just that. Clearly nervous about his debut film which hits the theatres this week, the actor hasn't abandoned his sense of humour and witty one-liners. It has been an eight-year long wait for him after his debut in MTV Roadies. But Ayushman is quick to clarify, "I did get few offers which were second lead roles. I wasn't kicked about playing the second fiddle and at times, the directors didn't want to cast me. Hence my wait was long."
For someone who is used to grilling people (he has hosted shows on MTV and have co-hosted IPL3 with Gaurav Kapoor and Sameer Kochchar), Ayushman is still not used the idea of being on the other side. "I am more comfortable interviewing people and asking questions," he flashes a quick smile before saying, "You can do anything on TV, you can fool around, you can mimic people, you can make fun of people, but when it comes to films, you have to be really choosy."
Ask him about the controversial subject of his film, he shrugs nonchalantly. "This is not a slapstick comedy and we are dealing with a serious subject. I have donated sperms in 2004 during MTV roadies and that too on national television. Before filming, the team met donors, doctors and IVF specialists for recce. A lot of research has gone into the film," he informs. So is he apprehensive about his debut film? "I am in a very safe zone right now. I am not a star so people will come to see the film for the concept, not for me," he signs off.
Excerpts from the interview:
Why did you choose Vicky Donor as your first film?
I think I have made the right choice and this was worth the wait. I waited for four years for the right kind of film because that is very important. You can just be yourself on television, do buffoonery; but films, you have to be slightly intelligent, you have to think before choosing the subject, script and director. Sperm donation is very common in India, but people don't talk about it. It's high time now, it's 2012 - people should talk about it and be comfortable with the subject.
Were you not worried of the repercussions of doing something so hatke?
I am actually in a safe zone right now and if you are not a star kid, you have to push yourself. I am not a star, so people will come to see the film for its concept, not for me. I am not under too much pressure even though this is my debut film. I have no Godfather, so whatever I have achieved is on my own.
Recently your designer baby quote landed you in trouble. Was it a publicity stunt?
My quote was blown out of proportion. The thing is 'designer' is not medical jargon there are childless couples who look for certain traits in their kids. Recently, I had read an article where a childless couple from Chennai was looking for donor with IIT connect. I am not a medical person and I realised later that the term 'designer baby' is used in the medical arena for genetic engineering.
From a roadie to a donor, how eventful was your journey?
I have been a jack of all trades, well mostly. My transition from small screen to big screen has been an eventful one. I have done theatre in Chandigarh and then was a radio jockey for sometime. Each joy had its own high. I remember sitting in a coffee shop and overhearing a conversation about me and my radio show. Then I tried my hand in VJing and got appreciated. Each job gave me a new high.
After trying your hand at different things, what has been your biggest learning curve?
Every day is a learning experience and I have learnt something or the other in each job. I started as an intern while studying mass communication at Miditech and have done all-from serving tea on the shows to lining up celebrities for talk shows. Whatever I have achieved today is without anyone's help.