The Anubhav Sinha diectorial also stars Andrea Kevichüsa in a lead role.
Last Updated: 12.02 PM, May 25, 2022
When anybody hears the word Ayushmann Khurrana, they know that he has become a brand who is associated with some content. Even in movies that did not work, this actor had something to offer. Ahead of Anek's release, OTTplay caught up with this actor and his co-star Andrea Kevichusa to understand more about their film and where they are with the industry at this given point of time. Excepts...
Ayushmann, I think I speak on everyone's behalf when I say that you mean content. You have done so many different films over the years but all of them dealing with something new, to the extent that even your film sequels, the ones in which you appear, are completely different from one another. Did you always set out to be an actor apart or it came along the way?
It's both - by default and design. It started with the first film. I explored that territory and realized I'm unconventional as an actor. Hence, I had to make unconventional choices. Everybody has a certain space and I somehow own this space now. So, it's a great validation from people who acknowledge me for this kind of content and genre. I'm just fortunate I got to work with great scriptwriters and directors.
There was a time when you were doing back-to-back quirky content, something that Bollywood didn't exactly witness before you came into the picture. After some time, you broke your own mould by working in Article 15. So, was it because you were being put in a box and getting scripts accordingly?
As an actor, you always want to do something different. At the same time, you wait for that particular project which projects you differently, with some meat and something that isn't hollow. With a director like Anubhav Sinha, you trust that he will bring out something which is very hard-hitting or will give the audience something to think about. It was the perfect time to shift the gear from quirky comedies to something which was serious, with Article 15 and now, with Anek.
Even now, nobody apart from Anubhav Sinha has really explored your serious side. One was Shoojit Sircar who changed your life with your debut in Vicky Donor and now, you have this other side that is being tapped by another filmmaker, Anubhav Sinha. Do you see another director doing so too?
You don't need a lot of people to trust you with your potential. You just need one good director. I'm ready to collaborate with Anubhav sir every year. It really doesn't matter as far as I'm getting good scripts. I would love to work with Rohit Shetty in the commercial genre because I've never tried that. I would love to work with Zoya Akhtar, Neeraj Ghywan, Anurag Basu, Rajkumar Hirani. I have a wishlist which is endless. By default, I have been giving successful films with first-time directors. It's been an anomaly there. I'm happy to collaborate with anyone who gives me something exciting.
We see you in a lot of action in Anek and you have An Action Hero too. So, is this the genre you're going to pursue at this given point?
Nothing like that. I showed a different side of mine with Anek but this isn't not really an action film. There are pockets of action in the film. It's basically a political drama. The subject doesn't deviate. The action doesn't overpower the subject. A pure action film would be An Action Hero which will come out later this year. I would love to do every kind of film.
Tell me about the title. It is quite interesting because the message is of calling it Ek India but still, the movie's title is Anek.
It talks about diversity. We are diverse as a nation. It's our biggest strength and weakness. It was Anubhav sir's brainchild to name it Anek. Alphabetically it is quite creative. The NE stands for North East. That's quite interesting.
Andrea, you are making your debut in a film that talks about breaking stereotype. It sends out quite a strong message there, or does it? What has the industry response be like?
It has been great. The fact that so many actors like Taapsee Pannu and Dia Mirza gave me such a warm welcome. Them taking time out to do that really means a lot. It was never done before. So, yeah, it is conventional enough that I'm playing a boxer in the film and everything. It's even more unconventional because me, a North-Eastern, as we call it, is in the role. It's been great. I hope it opens a lot of doors not just for me but anyone from my region who wants to pursue acting.
I was trying to understand that. Since you are making your debut with such a strong project, did people approach you with more projects?
I'm taking it one day at a time now. We'll see how it goes.
Since you are from a region from the North East, Nagaland (and I didn't exactly want to frame it this way but it's how people see others - in a group). There was once South India but now, people distinguish it with Kannada films or Malayalam movies or Telugu films. Actually, even there, there's still the confusion between a Tamil and Telugu film but they got somewhere. Now, when it comes to Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, these industries are still untapped but once people are more exposed, do you think there will be a time when they will have an individual identity rather than North East?
Yes, I hope so. I hope this film gives people the opportunity to educate themselves because North-East is such a unique and cultural place, in the sense that there are eight states and each state is as diverse as any part of the country. Not one state is the same, you know? Culturally, linguistically, in any aspect. So, I do hope people come to a place where they can differentiate between the states. It's asking for the bare minimum.
Now that you have made your debut in Bollywood, do you think you will work in the film industry in Nagaland?
I hope so. I know there are a lot of talented people back home right from makers to actors. I would love to. It would be an interesting take, to tell our stories from the subject perspective. It would be interesting, so, definitely.
What's next for you both?
Andrea: I'm going to take a break. After that, I'll see how things go.
Ayushmann: I have Doctor G and An Action Hero coming out at the end of this year. Apart from that, I have two projects waiting to be announced.