Ayushmann Khurrana

Ayushmann Khurrana (born Nishant Khurrana on 14 September 1984) is an Indian actor, singer, and television host who works in Hindi films. Known for his portrayals of ordinary men often battling social norms,[2][3] he is the recipient of several awards, including a National Film Award and four Filmfare Awards. He has appeared in Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list of 2013 and 2019. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2020.[4]

Ayushmann Khurrana
Ayushmann Khurrana promoting Andhadhun.jpg
Khurrana promoting Andhadhun in 2018
Born
Nishant Khurrana[1]

(1984-09-14) 14 September 1984 (age 36)
Chandigarh, India
Occupation
  • Actor
  • singer
  • television host
Years active2004–present
Works
Full list
Spouse(s)
Tahira Kashyap
(m. 2008)
Children2
RelativesAparshakti Khurana (brother)
AwardsFull list

Khurrana won the second season of reality television show MTV Roadies in 2004 and ventured into an anchoring career. He made his film debut in 2012 with the romantic comedy Vicky Donor opposite co-debutante Yami Gautam, in which his performance as a sperm donor earned him the Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut.[5][6] Following a brief setback, he starred in the commercially and critically successful romance Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), and went on to establish himself with the comedies Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017), Shubh Mangal Saavdhan (2017), Badhaai Ho (2018), Dream Girl (2019), and Bala (2019), the thriller Andhadhun (2018), and the crime drama Article 15 (2019).[7] Khurrana's performances as a blind pianist in Andhadhun and an honest cop in Article 15 won him two consecutive Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor, and he also won the National Film Award for Best Actor for the former.

Additional to his acting roles, Khurrana has sung for all of his films with the exception of Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Bala and the Amazon Prime Video-presented comedy-drama Gulabo Sitabo (2020); his debut "Pani Da Rang" earned him the Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer, and was also composed by him and composer friend Rochak Kohli.

Early life and educationEdit

Khurrana was born on 14 September 1984 in Chandigarh to Poonam and P. Khurrana,[8][9] as Nishant Khurrana. His parents changed his name to Ayushmann Khurrana when he was 3 years old. He was a part of Guru Nanak Khalsa College. He studied at St. John's High School, Chandigarh and DAV College, Chandigarh.[10] He majored in English literature and has a master's degree in Mass Communication from the School of Communication Studies, Panjab University.[11] He did serious theatre for five years. He was also the founding member of DAV College's "Aaghaaz" and "Manchtantra", which are active theatre groups in Chandigarh.[11] He conceived and acted in street plays and won prizes in national college festivals such as Mood Indigo (IIT Bombay), OASIS (Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani) and St. Bedes Shimla.[11] He also won a Best Actor award for playing Ashwatthama in Dharamvir Bharati's Andha Yug.[12]

CareerEdit

2004–2011: Television shows and early careerEdit

After completing his graduation and post-graduation in Journalism, his first job was as an radio personality at BIG FM, Delhi. He hosted the show Big Chai – Maan Na Maan, Main Tera Ayushmann and also won the Young Achievers Award in 2007 for it.[13] He was the youngest recipient of the Bharat Nirman Award in New Delhi.[14]

He also worked in many other MTV shows such as MTV Fully Faltoo Movies, Cheque De India and Jaadoo Ek Baar.[15] He then turned television host with a multiple-talent-based reality show India's Got Talent on Colors TV, which he co-anchored with Nikhil Chinapa,[16] and Stripped, which gave latest updates on the Indian TV industry with a comic tinge, again on MTV. At the end of the year, he was also the anchor of the singing reality show Music Ka Maha Muqqabla on STAR Plus.[17]

Apart from hosting the second season of MTV Rock On and India's Got Talent on Colors, he was also a part of the anchoring team of Extra Innings T20 for Indian Premier League Season 3 on SET Max with Gaurav Kapur, Samir Kochhar , and Angad Bedi,[18][19] following which he took up the offer of anchoring the dance-based reality show Just Dance on STAR Plus.

2012–2015: Film debut and career strugglesEdit

 
Khurrana at an event for Vicky Donor (2012), his film debut

Khurrana made his acting debut in 2012 with Shoojit Sircar's romantic comedy Vicky Donor, co-starring Annu Kapoor and debutante Yami Gautam. Marking the production debut of actor John Abraham, who cameoed in a promotional song, it starred Khurrana in the titular role of a sperm donor. In preparation, he attended acting workshops and interacted with medical professionals.[20] For the film's soundtrack, he sang "Pani Da Rang", which he had written and composed with Rochak Kohli back in 2003.[21] Praising the film's ensemble cast, Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com wrote that Khurrana's "candid disposition and roguish face ensures his street smart drollery works like a breeze".[22] With worldwide earnings of over 610 million (US$8.6 million) against a budget of 100 million (US$1.4 million), Vicky Donor emerged as a commercial success.[23] At the Filmfare Awards ceremony, Khurrana was awarded trophies for Best Male Debut and Best Male Playback Singer.[24]

In 2013, Khurrana appeared in Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list, ranking 70th with an estimated annual income of 25.8 million (US$360,000).[25] He then collaborated with Kunaal Roy Kapur in Rohan Sippy's Nautanki Saala! (2013), a comedy based on the French film Après Vous (2005). Anupama Chopra found Khurrana to be "earnest" in it but felt that his comedic work was overshadowed by that of Roy Kapur.[26] He also recorded two songs for the film's soundtrack.[27] A year later, Khurrana teamed with Yash Raj Films, as part of a three-film deal, in the romantic comedy Bewakoofiyaan (2014), co-starring Sonam Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor, about a young man who has trouble convincing his girlfriend's father to approve of their marriage.[28] Writing for The New York Times, Andy Webster disliked the film's "strained, contrived humor" but commended Khurrana for "holding his own opposite [Rishi] Kapoor".[29] Both Nautanki Saala and Bewakoofiyaan were commercially unsuccessful, as was his next release, Hawaizaada (2015).[30] In it, he played the scientist Shivkar Bapuji Talpade, for which he lost weight and learnt to speak Marathi.[31] In the same year, Khurrana collaborated with his wife, Tahira Kashyap, to write his autobiography Cracking the Code: My Journey to Bollywood.[32]

Khurrana's career prospects improved when he starred opposite newcomer Bhumi Pednekar in Sharat Katariya's romance Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015).[33][34] It tells the story of an underachieving man who is married against his will to an overweight woman, and marked his first film where he did not sing any of the songs. Anuj Kumar of The Hindu praised him for effectively capturing his character's "diction and body language".[35] Despite minimal promotions, the film emerged as a commercial success, grossing over 410 million (US$5.7 million) worldwide against its 140 million (US$2.0 million) budget.[36][37]

2017–present: SuccessEdit

Two years later, after starring in the poorly received Meri Pyaari Bindu opposite Parineeti Chopra, Khurrana's career progressed with his two other films releases of 2017, the romantic-comedy dramas Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, both of which were commercially successful.[7][33] Adapted from Nicolas Barreau's French novel The Ingredients of Love, the former starred him alongside Rajkummar Rao and Kriti Sanon as a writer who gets involved in a love triangle with a tomboyish girl and a timid salesman.[38] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV wrote that Khurrana does a "convincing job of mutating from a brooding jilted lover to a crooked manipulator who puts his own interests above everyone else's".[39] In the latter, he starred opposite Pednekar as a newly engaged man suffering from erectile dysfunction. A remake of the Tamil film Kalyana Samayal Saadham (2013), the film, Khurrana hoped, had a humorous take on mental and sexual problems faced by men which would bring wider attention to the topic.[40] Rajeev Masand took note of how well the film handled sexuality without being crude and commended him for "investing the fellow with genuine likeability and an understated charm".[41] Khurrana received a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor for the latter film.[42]

 
Khurrana accepting the 2019 National Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in Andhadhun

2018 featured Khurrana in two of the highest-grossing Hindi films of the year, both of which won National Film Awards.[43] His first role was in Sriram Raghavan's Andhadhun, a thriller co-starring Tabu and Radhika Apte, in which he played a blind pianist who unwillingly becomes embroiled in a murder. He lobbied for the part after hearing about it from casting director Mukesh Chhabra,[44] and in preparation, learnt how to play the piano and interacted with blind piano players.[45][46] Udita Jhunjhunwala of Mint praised Khurrana for giving a "taut performance that balances vulnerability with craftiness" and Ankur Pathak of HuffPost found his to be "a layered, no-holds-barred performance worth applauding".[47][48] Andhadhun earned 4.56 billion (US$64 million) worldwide, a majority of which came from the Chinese box office, to become Khurrana's highest-grossing release and one of Indian cinema's biggest grossers.[43][49] He next starred in Badhaai Ho, a comedy from director Amit Ravindernath Sharma about a young man whose middle-aged parents get pregnant. Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost considered his performance to be "completely convincing" and commended him for choosing "to work in small films where the star is the story".[50] A sleeper hit, it earned over 2.21 billion (US$31 million) worldwide.[43][51] For Andhadhun, Khurrana won the National Film Award for Best Actor, shared with Vicky Kaushal for Uri: The Surgical Strike, and the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor.[52][53]

The series of successful films continued with Khurrana's 2019 releases, Article 15, Dream Girl, and Bala.[54][55] The formermost, a crime thriller directed by Anubhav Sinha, had him play the starring role of a righteous police officer solving a rape case. Highlighting caste discrimination in India, the film was inspired by multiple events, including the 2014 Badaun gang rape allegations and the 2016 Una flogging incident.[56][57] Khurrana agreed to the project to play a dark and intense character for the first time in his film career.[58] Writing for The Guardian, Wendy Ide commended him for "combin[ing] soulful Bollywood heartthrob charisma with an arrestingly intense performance."[59] Dream Girl, written and directed by debutante Raaj Shaandilya, starred him as a cross-gender actor who speaks in a female voice while working at a call centre which unwittingly attracts male attention.[60] Nandini Ramnath of Scroll.in considered his "manic energy and believable Everyman persona" to be the film's highlight.[61] The lattermost was a satire on societal standards of beauty from Stree director Amar Kaushik, in which he played a young man who faces societal pressure due to premature balding. He found it physically challenging to play the part due to the heavy layers of prosthetics used on his head. It marked his second film where he did not sing any of the songs.[62] Rajeev Masand opined that Khurrana "cuts a sympathetic figure as another not-instantly-likeable loser" and added that he had "cornered the market when it comes to playing flawed, insecure men with confidence issues".[63] He won another Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for Article 15 and received a Best Actor nomination at the ceremony for Bala.[64][65] That year, he reappeared on Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list, ranking 37th with an estimated annual income of 305 million (US$4.3 million).[66]

For his next project, Khurrana actively looked for another mainstream film that would portray sexuality in a humorous manner. He found it in Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (2020), a spin-off to Shubh Mangal Saavdhan scripted and helmed by the 2017 film's writer Hitesh Kewalya, in which he played a gay man who has trouble convincing his partner's family of their relationship.[67] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express credited Khurrana for "allowing the film to be so much about" his lesser known co-star Jitendra Kumar.[68] Nonetheless, it underperformed commercially due to reduced attendance in view of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.[69] He was next seen in the comedy-drama Gulabo Sitabo, directed by Sircar and co-starring Amitabh Bachchan, which reunited both him and Bachchan with Sircar after Vicky Donor and Piku respectively.[70][71] Due to the pandemic, the film was unable to be released theatrically and instead streamed on Amazon Prime Video.[72] The film received positive to mixed reviews; Pallabi Dey Puryakastha of the Times of India praised Khurrana's portrayal of Baankey Rastogi, a poor tenant, noting that "his body language tellingly portrays sadness and bitterness borne out of poverty".[73]

Khurrana is next slated to appear alongside Vaani Kapoor in Abhishek Kapoor's next film, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, which became the first film to be wrapped up during the pandemic.[74] He has committed to appear in Junglee Pictures's Doctor G as Dr Uday Gupta opposite Rakul Preet Singh, a film directed by Anubhuti Kashyap. It is his third collaboration with Junglee Pictures after Bareilly Ki Barfi and Badhaai Ho.[75]

Personal lifeEdit

Khurrana was born in Chandigarh. His father P. Khurrana is an astrologer and an author on the subject of astrology, whereas his mother Poonam is a housewife and she is of half-Burmese descent[76] and a qualified M.A. in Hindi[citation needed]. While Khurrana remains busy with his work in Mumbai, his family still stays in Chandigarh. His brother Aparshakti Khurana is a radio jockey at Radio Mirchi 98.3 FM in Delhi and made his debut in the 2016 Aamir Khan-starrer film Dangal.[77][78] The ambience of literature at home influenced Khurrana as well and he took writing as a hobby. He also maintains a blog where he writes in Hindi and it has been received very well by his admirers.[79] Khurrana is known for being very close to his family and wife, Tahira Kashyap, who has directed a critically acclaimed film Toffee. They are childhood friends and parents to a son and a daughter.[80][81][82][83] When Khurrana was promoting Badhaai Ho and Andhadhun, Kashyap was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer.[84]

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BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit