Ayushmann Khurrana: Cracking the Code | Verve Magazine
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February 20, 2015

Ayushmann Khurrana: Cracking the Code

Text by Nittal Chandarana

Ayushmann Khurrana tells Verve about his new book, Cracking the Code, his films and his journey to becoming an actor

The Indian Film Industry loves a dramatic story. Everyone does. Actor, singer, VJ, RJ, anchor Ayushmann Khurrana, with a little help from spouse Tahira Kashyap pens an account of his journey from being any other boy with a big dream to becoming what he is today. Of course, it couldn’t have been easy and there were hardships at every phase, but one learns to look past those. Cracking the Code is touted to be a guidebook for every struggler out there trying to make it big in the industry.

The Read Cracking the Code
Authors Ayushmann Khurrana and Tahira Kashyap
Publisher Rupa Publications
What we loved It isn’t preachy or pious. What it is though, is an honest account of a Bollywood actor’s journey; a struggle to his current position of stardom that he enjoyed and dealt with one day at a time. It shows that not taking oneself too seriously and having an honest awareness of one’s strengths and flaws is half the battle won.
Maybe not The language is simplistic but then it’s non-fiction. It isn’t meant for readers looking for a heavyweight literary read.
Read it for More than a mantra for success or a quick fix, it is essentially a novel on life hacks. You don’t have to be a Bollywood buff to enjoy it. It is a straightforward and succinct rendition of the actor’s journey.

Q&A with Ayushmann Khurrana

1. Television, anchoring, VJing, RJ-ing…which comes naturally? Which do you enjoy the most?
“I think being live on stage – whether as an anchor, actor or singer – is what I enjoy the most because there’s instant gratification and instant appreciation from the people, the viewers or the audience.”

2. What was the most nerve-wracking audition you have given?
“Before every audition I think you become slightly edgy. Most nerve-wracking would have been my Roadies audition because they’re there to grill you. That’s the sole purpose of the show.”

3. Hard work, talent, destiny… how much did each one contribute to making you who you are?
“I think it’s an amalgam of everything – hard work, talent and destiny. I was at the right place at the right time. I came to Mumbai in 2008 and during that time, there was not much of a crowd. The competition is way more these days. At that time, people were looking for radio presenters and actors and I became a radio presenter in Delhi and a VJ in Bombay. So it’s a mix of everything.”

4. What was the most difficult part of your struggle?
“Though it was a struggle, I never thought of it as one because I enjoyed every phase of my journey. I think I’d call it a journey, not a struggle. The moment you start calling it a struggle, it becomes one for sure.”

5. Tell us a little about your tor-mentor. Any other mentor who has stuck with you over the years?
“Shoojit Sircar is a mentor. Apart from that, Raghu really helped me a lot initially doing TV. There are a lot of people in the industry who I look up to like Ashish Patil, Siddhartha Basu, Tarun Katial, and of course, Aditya Chopra. Right now my three mentors would be Shoojit Sircar, Aditya Chopra and John Abraham.”

6. Who is your most honest critic? One piece of criticism you will never forget.
“My most honest critic is my father and I am worried about his judgment whenever I compose a song, sing a song or do a film. He is ruthless with his statements and I like that about him.
Recently, Aditya Chopra told me, when Hawaizada did not do well: ‘It’s time to bounce back. You are in a boxing ring right now and you’ve fallen down. It’s time to get up and get going again for the next film.’”

7. Money, fame, love… at which stage of life was which of these factors important?
“Initially, when I was 17, I did my first reality show and fame was the most important thing. Money was never a problem, touchwood. I think if you have that financial security, you’re very free as an artist and you can experiment a lot in life…you’re fearless. And that’s what I am right now. I don’t fear failures. But apart from that, love. I’m a sucker for love. I think you cannot live without it. An artist constantly needs love.”

8. Tell us a little about the role that your wife, Tahira, played in your professional life.
“She’s also very ruthless with her criticism and she never thought I’d become an actor. In fact we co-wrote Cracking the Code. She knows me inside out and that’s why she was able to co-write with me. She’s written most of the book and I’ve done most of the speaking! She’s the most important part of my life.”

9. Have you managed to make any permanent friends from the industry, contrary to what you have written?
“I think I’ve already made my friends. My friends are not really from the industry. Some of them are successful, some of them are still struggling. I could call Shoojit Sircar my friend because he gave me the first chance in auditioning me. He trusted me a lot and I can trust his judgment and his opinion about me.”

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