Ayushmann Khurrana
Harshada Rege (DNA; May 11, 2017)

An actor’s screen persona often calls for extreme admiration. So much so, meeting them in person off it is underwhelming. But Ayushmann Khurrana was a refreshing change. He spoke about everything from movies, to his love for music to his plans for his band in this half-hour long tete-a-tete.

You are an actor, singer, writer, and composer... which persona do you identify with right now?
Right now, I identify with being a writer because I play a writer in the film and I am writing columns now. I am glad that DNA gave me that opportunity to explore that territory every week. Though I have written my songs and a book with my wife, at this particular time I am writing every week and there’s a deadline. It’s a challenge every week. And I am glad that it happened at this time because I am playing a writer in Meri Pyaari Bindu as well. Being a writer, you can just be more creative, you can express your love in a very creative way.

Being musically inclined, was it difficult to play someone who is musically challenged?
I think it’s very important to keep my musical identity separate from my identity as an actor. It’s not always supposed to mix. Even in Dum Lagaa Ke Haisha, I made a conscious decision not to sing because I played a Kumar Sanu fan… a simpleton, a loser, who you don’t expect to sing. Similarly, in this film, I play a non-singer, Parineeti plays the singer. So we have to establish that fact. It would have diluted that communication of my character, had I sung. I can sing in my other films. There’s no desperation to sing.

Did it make any difference to you that both you and Parineeti were musically minded?
I had never connected to a co-star like that. She is musically inclined, her influences are very similar to mine. She was born in Ambala, I am from Chandigarh. We both are from Punjabi families. And most importantly, we love retro music. I mean, most of the people in our industry, probably don’t know retro music that much. Parineeti and I would discuss ke yeh toh Madan Mohan ki composition hai, woh Laxmikant-Pyarelal ki hai, or RD, SD Burman, etc. We know all these names and their compositions. I was really happy that I could discuss these things with my co-actor. And I am glad that she had become a music buddy. Our time off-camera was just like a huge jamming session.

Did you have any inputs for the music of the film?
Producer Maneesh Sharma and director Akshay Roy would send us scratches of the songs (composed by Sachin-Jigar) and take our opinions. There’s a Bengali song in the film that has been sung by Monali Thakur. That was, in fact, my input.. to put a Bengali-heavy song (Khol De Baahein) because the backdrop is Kolkata. I am glad they took it seriously.

How are you making time for your band now?
For the past two months, I have been shooting for Shubh Mangal Savdhan and the band has taken a backseat, but I had a concert in Mumbai recently. Whenever I get time, I do a show...

And when will your next single be out?
Next single, I have no idea. I will probably sing a cover of Bindu after the release. I have three films coming up this year. I could not sing for this film, but I will in others.