Aparshakti on his 1st lead hero film Helmet
Aparshakti Khurana may have followed his brother Ayushmann Khurrana’s footsteps into films, but he has managed to make a mark in his own unique way. Starting off his journey from radio, he transitioned to theatre, television and successfully entered showbiz. ‘Hero ka dost’ Aparshakti has successfully won millions of hearts with his performances. He made a striking debut with Aamir Khan starrer ‘Dangal’ (2016) which emerged as a blockbuster at the box office. He has featured in several hit films like ‘Stree’, ‘Luka Chuppi’, ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ and many more. In an exclusive interaction with ETimes, Aparshakti spilled the beans on his journey in the industry, mind boggling success of his debut film, how he wants to make his journey like his idols Anil Kapoor and Pankaj Tripathi, his first film as a lead and much more! Excerpts:
You started off your career from television and went on to make your debut in Bollywood with Aamir Khan in ‘Dangal. How would you describe your journey?
I will describe my journey as very blessed. I think not very often this happens to people when they shift from a small town to Mumbai. I think from radio to films and hosting to music, everything – all the mediums that have come my way, God has really connected me to the audience, I feel so blessed about it.
Although you played a supporting character in the film, it was loved by the audience. The scenes between you and Aamir Khan were hilarious. Did you anticipate that reaction?
No, I never anticipated this reaction from the audience. I think all of us never anticipated that it will be such a big commercial hit. We all knew that we were making an honest film. Each and every person on the set had a certain kind of honesty in his or her craft and we all were on the same page, approaching each day with utmost honesty and professionalism. I think that’s what helped us remain closer to the character. The way people received it, it was something that you dream off.
Was acting always on your mind? Do you remember the exact age while growing up when the acting ka keeda bit you?
No, not at all. Acting was never on my mind and acting ka keeda bit me very late in my life only after I started doing theatre. I started doing theatre only after I started doing radio. So it all happened really late in life. Everything happens for a reason, so I am just taking one step at a time with personal and professional growth. So touch wood, things are moving in the right direction.
What kind of films grabbed your attention back then?
Umm… All my life I have been very inspired, very inclined towards sports-based films. Be it ‘Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikander’, ‘Chak De! India’, and ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, I just love all these films. I think that was the main reason that God gave me this really special film called ‘Dangal’, the backdrop is sports. I think I have a connection with sports. It’s a very natural one and I would love to be around sports all my life. Be it in front of the camera or off it.
Take us through your initial years in the industry.
(Laughs) I would consider these years also to be the initial years of my professional growth, I have just started. I think it’s a good start and I hope I am able to finish well.
Time and again, you have managed to win everyone’s hearts with your simplicity. Be it the supporting roles or lead characters, audiences have always loved watching you. How does it make you feel?
You know no matter how talented you are, no matter how gifted you are, no matter how hardworking you are, the relationship between you and the audience just happens. You can’t do anything about it. Very few artists get that blessing. So far I have been blessed to have a wonderful audience and I think my connect with them is through my characters. When I move out, when I am at the airport, people call me through my character names and I feel so happy about it. I think that’s something which you can’t pre-plan and I would like to believe that it is the biggest blessing I have.
Are you content with whatever has come your way, professionally? Or do you believe that you have not got what you deserved and the best is yet to come?
Absolutely content with whatever I have. Not only today but a few years back when I was only doing radio and not films or hosting award shows, even then I was absolutely content with my life. I am 100% sure that each day of the year of my life is going to be like that. That’s what makes me very organic, lively, up and kicking about life. I am just happy about it. Having said that, as an artist you always feel that your best is yet to come and I am no different. So, I would like to believe that I am going to try my hand at different characters, different worlds and connect with them in the best possible way.
You are an inspiration to many aspiring actors. Who do you consider as your idol?
(Smiles)I don’t know if I am an inspiration to many aspiring actors but even if there are a couple of them, I feel happy about it. I would love to have a journey like Pankaj Tripathi’s, like Anil Kapoor sir’s. I always believe in having a better second half than the first half. So I would love to have a great second half. Talking about that, I think Pankaj sir and Anil sir have been able to crack that, it is a very difficult one. A lot of people have a very good first half but they normally goof-up in the second half. It’s like a film, if your second half is not good, the film doesn’t work. So I would really like to have a good second half. Keeping my fingers crossed for that!
Talking about your personal life, how would you describe yourself as a husband?
I would like to believe that I am a very nice husband (laughs). But this question is for my wife Akriti to answer, I don’t know if I am eligible to answer this. I would like to give myself 10/10 (laughs). No just kidding, I think I am 7.5/10 with a little scope of improvement.
The lockdown has affected a lot of people mentally, professionally and personally. Actors in general face a lot of issues. Did you deal with any anxiety or mental health issue, if so, then please share how you overcame it?
The space for negativity in my life is very less. Rather there is no space at all. I don’t let any negative thought or people surround me. I am always so far very happy and positive about life. I hope it all remains like that. COVID has not really been able to break my energy. I hope nothing in the future also breaks my flow. So there are no mental or anxiety issues. But I have people around me who have been dealing with such issues and I would love to help them out as much as possible.
You will be next seen in ‘Helmet’. Tell us something about the film.
Yes, ‘Helmet’ is my next film, it is my first solo film. I am really looking forward to it. In a couple of months, we plan to make a decision on whether we take a theatrical route or the OTT route. It all depends on how the situation is. While making the film, I think each and everyone was on the same page. I just finished dubbing for the film and also saw the rough cut, it looks amazing. I think whatever was written in the script, we have been able to execute it. All the characters are shining. I hope the kind of love and respect and warmth the audience has given me as a supporting actor, they are able to give me in the lead space as well. But just in case I falter somewhere, I would just try to work a little harder and start my journey all over again and crack another solo film and then come and knock on the doors and request the audience, ‘can you give me another chance please?’
Any other film that you have signed or reading?
Yes, I am reading a couple of really cool scripts and signed a couple of them. I can’t really talk about most of them. Right now, I am in Chandigarh shooting with Kriti Sanon and Rajkummar Rao. It is yet to be titled and I am having a great time shooting here.