Ayushmann Khurrana is constantly looking for scripts that challenge him. With Article 15, Anubhav Sinha’s stunning disturbing exposition on the notorious caste system the young thinking actor seems to have arrived at a stage in his career where there is no turning back.
He laughs, “I guess I am now identified with a relevant kind of cinema,and that’s a place I enjoy occupying. You see, when I started doing cinema I was not a stranger to socio-political relevances in my work. I had done theatre , serious issue-based theatre, before films. So doing cinema like Vicky Donor, Shubh Mangal Savdhan ,Badhai Ho and Article 15 was a natural progression from one medium to another.”
Was Ayushmann shocked and surprised by the strong reactions to Article 15?
“Not really, we expected the film to kick up a controversy. We knew it would ruffle feathers. The caste system is something that has bothered me for a long time.Inequality in society is a subject that cinema has never dealt with fairly. It’s always been hush-hush. Anubhav Sir brought it out into the open.,” says Ayushmann.
He wouldn’t mind doing films with songs and dances in them, though. “I mean, we’ve a long tradition of singing and dancing to express emotions. I am doing a film Dream Girl where I play a heterosexual man who is equally comfortable in men’s and women’s clothes. It harks back to the traditional Ram Leela staged in rural areas. Even today men play both male and female roles in these performances. A film like this will have music nicely fitting in,even when the subject is authentic and the treatment is rooted to authenticity.”
Ayushamnn who is an accomplished in real life reveals there were musical plans for Article 15. “We had recorded songs for Article 15. In fact there was a romantic track for my girlfriend in the film(played by Isha Talwar) . But somehow it seemed to distract. Anubhav Sir felt songs couldn’t fit in. But I don’t think music and realistic cinema are mutually exclusive. Badhai Ho was another very real film of mine. It had singing and dancing.”
Ayushmann’s romance with realism will continue in his forthcoming films. “In Bala I play a young man who goes bald. It can be a terrible nightmare for someone afflicted with baldness.”