Filmmaker Aanand L Rai will be working with actor Ayushmann Khurrana for the third time with upcoming film ‘Action Hero’. After producing two of his successful hits ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ and ‘Shubh Mangal Zyaada Saavdhan’ within a time span of three years, the filmmaker says his reason to trust the actor is the huge potential he sees in his acting.
While 2017 release ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’ talked about the issue of erectile dysfunction in men, the second film, released in 2020 saw Khurrana play a homosexual man in the film trying to fight for his love against all odds. In an inteview with Outlook, Rai gives his take on the dependability on the actor.
‘Action Hero’ will be directed by Anirudh Iyer, who has also co-written the film with Neeraj Yadav.
“I see a lot of potential in him and the way he is growing and moving. So early in his life, he has achieved a stature, where people say, ‘This is a very Ayushmann Khurrana kind of a film’. You need guts to do a film like ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’. Whether it is ‘Dum laga ke Haisah’ or ‘Bala’, he has been doing it. That is his brand and he has made that very passionately,” says Rai.
Rai, has directed and produced numerous actors ever since he entered direction in 2007 and production in 2016. In many of his successful films, the filmmakers is often seen telling the story based in a small city.
While ‘Raanjhana’ was based in Varanasi, ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ was based out of Lucknow and ‘Happy Bhaag Jayegi’ was a story from Amritsar. Is there a reason why he likes telling stories from the heartlands of India?
“My love is for my roots and something original. This is something that is taking me there. It’s not a pattern, may be my middle class that is pushing me there. It’s not that I have cracked a formula. I am always trying to do a new story. What I am really focusing on is the originality and staying close to the roots,” he says.
Now Rai is up for his next directorial ‘Atrangi Re’, starring Akshay Kumar, Dhanush and Sara Ali Khan. While the filmmaker views every aspect of his films from the lens of a movie lover, he has a special place in his heart for the right kind of casting.
“According to me, I do a very honest casting. If you see my film and then say that ‘in place of him that X,Y OR Z actor would have been better’, I will take it. I actually cast for my film. I am very selfish in this matter. It took me seven years to go back to Dhanush (after 2013 film ‘Raanjhanaa’). It’s always the story. I never thought of him in any other story. I did ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ with Maddy (R Madhavan) and Kangana and then ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ with them and then nothing. I am just doing my loyalties towards my film when it comes to casting for the characters,” he says.