Back home in Chandigarh, when he first announced that he wants to be an actor, his friends and family ridiculed him, his granny even slapped him. Some thought he was too scrawny to be an actor while some turned him down at auditions saying he had too thick eyebrows.
However, irrespective of all the setbacks, the young lad held on to his dream dearly. And whaddya know, one fine day he stunned everyone with his endearing performance in the out-of-the-box film Vicky Donor.
Ayushmann Khurrana, who started his career as a radio jockey is a classic example of someone who pursues their passion with so much faith that fortune and success are bound to follow.
Cinema left an impression on him while he was just a tiny 4-year-old tot, watching the crowd cheer for Madhuri Dixit in the film Tezaab in a movie hall, ever since he has been captivated by the fascinating world of films.
Today the Dum Laga Ke Haisha actor is not only living his dream but has also made a mark for himself with his signature style, which is a mix of the boy-next-door charm and a free-spirit soulful voice.
However, as we all know, to break into the big bad world of Bollywood is not a cakewalk. Coming from Chandigarh, Ayushmann was an outsider without any Godfathers to help him get a foothold in the industry. But success comes to those who are determined and driven by passion. The Khurrana boy too had the zeal to overcome all the hurdles and there was absolutely nothing that could have stopped him from realizing his dreams.
“I always wanted to be an actor. It was one crazy dream of mine. But I had no clue how to go about it. There were hardships at every phase, but one learns to look past those,” reveals the actor, who also wrote an autobiographical book called ‘Cracking the Code – My Journey To Bollywood’, a guidebook for every struggler out there trying to make it big in the industry.
Needless, to say Ayushmann’s inspiring journey to filmdom is totally worthy of being in a book. Reality shows, singing, dancing, acting, radio shows, composing, assisting a director, he has done it all, till he finally got his big break in Shoojit Sircar’s romantic comedy drama Vicky donor.
He did his first reality show when he was seventeen — the ‘Channel [V] Popstars’, two years later he participated in ‘MTV’s Roadies’ and won, but went back home to complete his education.
“It was only after my final year Journalism exams, that I finally started focusing on my goal. I came to Mumbai again and that is when radio happened by accident. I went to give my portfolio to someone for acting, but he asked me if I was interested in radio… and I was like, why not? Basically, I wanted to be a performer and I enjoyed being a RJ, then television happened,” explains Ayushmann, who will be next seen in Yash Raj Films’ Meri Pyaari Bindu alongside Parineeti Chopra.It was somewhere in 2007 when Ayushmann embarked upon his journey to realize his dream of becoming an actor, but films eluded him until 2012. Challenges were in abundance. Like for starters, people told him off by telling him all sort of things. Some said his eyebrows were too thick, others said his accent was too Punjabi.
But Ayushmann battled every challenge with a smile. His philosophy is pretty simple and inspiring, “If you enjoy your journey life doesn’t seem like a struggle. I am a very positive person. I have got rejected so many times that I’d become numb. I was told I don’t look like a conventional hero or come across as an actor or I don’t have it in me to become a star. But if you are happy as a person and believe in yourself and your work then you will never feel low or depressed while struggling.”
The trick here is to keep looking at the bigger picture and not shy away from anything that comes your way. So before films happened, Ayushmann even did a few typical saas-bahu serials to survive. He says, “I have done TV serials like ‘Kayamat’ and ‘Ek Thi Rajkumari’. I was there for three-odd months in ETR and I enjoyed it. I deliberately did that show as it was on a channel that was not visible. I did it because I had to survive in the city.”
In his book ‘Cracking The Code’, Ayushmann mentions an anecdote where he had tried calling Karan Johar for a role after meeting him briefly at an awards show. He says, “Karan gave me the landline number to his office when I met him. I should have taken a hint there and then. But I was so excited! I even planned exactly when I would make the call.”
But Dharma films turned him down. He didn’t even get to speak to KJo as Karan’s office bluntly told him that they only worked with stars.
However, Ayushmann didn’t let any of these episodes disheartened him. He kept working as a RJ, TV host and continued auditioning for roles simultaneously. He even tried for a supporting role in Dharma production’s I Hate Luv Storys. But he continued to face rejections until one fine day Shoojit Sircar who was looking for a fresh face spotted his Vicky donor in him. The rest we all know is history.
The film was a hit and so was Ayushmann, who charmed everyone as a sperm donor and also proved to all his detractors that he had the talent in him to become an actor. That year he bagged not just one but over 15 various awards at different award shows.
The actor recalls, “In the initial years of my struggling in Mumbai, I was at Infinity Mall in Andheri when I saw this huge hoarding of Om Shanti Om. I thought — kabhi mera bhi ayega poster aisa? It was so surreal when the Vicky Donor poster was put up in the same place.”
The actor who was also seen in films like Bewakoofiyaan and Hawaizaada may not have achieved a megastar status (he ain’t far from it, though) but he certainly proves that success comes to those who aren’t afraid of chasing their dreams with all their might.
Ayushmann khurrana next film will be Meri Pyaari Bindu, Agra ja Daabra, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, and Bareilly ki Barfi
Passion definitely pays!!!