As the National Award-winning film ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ (DLKH) completes seven years in Hindi cinema on Sunday, its lead pair Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar have talked about their film, which was released in 2015.
Ayushmann says, “My journey in cinema has been filled with learnings and have been lucky enough to chance upon great mentors and incredible scripts. When I debuted with Vicky Donor, I was lucky to have found someone like Shoojit Sircar who guided me and shaped me as a performer and a hero.
“I became an overnight star and trust me, no one can prepare you for it! You do feel slightly lost when such an overwhelming moment arrives. I have to admit that I didn’t know what hit me. I didn’t know which films to choose and which ones to avoid. I didn’t have a direction on how to handle my career.”
Bhumi called ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ was a watershed moment of my career.
“Looking back, I was truly blessed to have this film as my debut because it is always tough to get a forward-thinking film that projects women in the correct light and DLKH was making bold statements about body positivity!”
Ayushmann saw a lean patch after the stupendous success of Vicky Donor but he course corrected himself with Dum Laga Ke Haisha.
He said, “I made mistakes along the way. I told myself to pivot to focussing on doing what I came to the industry for – find compelling stories and be a part of the best content films being made by the most maverick directors. This is when Dum Laga Ke Haisha happened to me and I will be forever grateful to this film because it taught me the biggest lesson of my career – it told me to choose content first!”
He added, “The incredible reaction to Dum Laga Ke Haisha showed me that my path in the industry was to pick the best scripts, tell the most disruptive, engaging and entertaining stories and that success will follow!”
“I haven’t second guessed myself ever since. I know that my destiny in cinema is to dish out films that audiences have no reference point of. I have single-mindedly tried to do just that.”
Bhumi says she always wanted to redefine feminism in cinema through her choice of films and the success of DLKH enabled her to understand that people wanted to see women of substance on screen.
She said, “DLKH was validating for me not just as an actor and a performer but also as a woman who was trying to redefine feminism through her work. I always believed that I became an actor for a purpose – it was to be a part of great cinema and to play great women on screen that aimed at changing the narrative of how a girl is seen by society.”
Bhumi added, “DLKH gave me the confidence to march forward with this ideal that I had in my head and my body of work speaks for it today. It is the most special film of my life and I owe everything to DLKH because it told me that dreams do become destiny.”
Bhumi has a mighty slate of films that includes Anubhav Sinha’s ‘Bheed’, Ajay Bahl’s ‘The Ladykiller’, Shashank Khaitan’s ‘Govinda Naam Mera’, Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘Raksha Bandhan’, Sudhir Mishra’s ‘Afwaa’ and Gauri Khan produced ‘Bhakshak’.
Ayushmann will be seen next in films like Anubhav Sinha’s ‘Anek’, ‘Doctor G’ and ‘Action Hero’.