Ayushmann Khurrana: “Playing a cop in Article 15 drained me”

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Ayushmann Khurrana’s ‘Article 15’ (2019) which premiered at the London Indian Film Festival last month, has been a huge hit for the actor. It is also the first time Khurrana has played the role of a policeman.

In a recent interview with TOI, the ‘Andhadhun’ (2018) actor shared what it was like when he stepped into the shoes of an officer. “I have immense respect for men and women in uniform. When I wore the uniform, I felt that it changed the aura around me and my body language. The film offers an outsider’s perspective on the caste divide in rural India. For the first time, I’m not a victim of circumstances, but a master of it. I’ve played vulnerable, boyish characters before. Here, I am a man on a mission.”

Khurrana spent hours reading about caste discrimination in India in preparation for ‘Article 15’ (2019), and said he had many sleepless night as a result, which left him emotionally drained, “Playing a cop in Article 15 drained me emotionally.”

As well as getting to grips with cases, it was important to learn a police officer’s body language and style. Luckily for Khurrana, thanks to his IPS Officer friend and wife Tahira Kashyap’s grandfather, he was able to get first-hand training for his role. “My wife Tahira’s grandfather was an IPS officer. I also have a friend in Delhi, who is an IPS officer. I’ve tried to emulate him in the film. I’ve observed his style of walking and speaking, the moustache and the body language… In fact, my co-actors and I reached Uttar Pradesh five days before the shoot began. We visited police stations and met a lot of officers there; we observed them carefully to ensure that our portrayals are not caricaturish.”

Asked what his expectations are of the film, the ‘Badhaai Ho’ (2018) actor said, “I hope that this film triggers more discussions. India may not change overnight, or with one or two films, but cinema should at least initiate conversations about subjects that need to be addressed, ASAP.”

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