We bring you a special peek inside Ayushmann Khurrana's music world and his latest single 'O Heeriye'.
Back in the days, actors used to sing themselves, then came Kishore Kumar who was master of all, then came Farhan Akhtar and now you. Will you take it one step further?
This is like too heavy for me man! Kishore da will always be a legend. I think his main forte was singing. He was more of a singer than an actor and I am more of an actor than a singer. I have a certain texture. I am not a conventional singer. He was. I sound better in the studio and I can only sing certain kind of songs. I don't think anybody can take it further than Kishore da.
Girls find you cute. You want to be the boy Adele of our country?
(Laughs) I would like to sing for myself. If I sing a song or two in each film I'll be very happy. The singer Ayushmann should not over power the actor Ayushmann. I know it'll never happen that way. It cannot. It did to a certain extent in my first film. I feel acting has no rules but singing has. Acting is very subjective.
Lots of singers have featured artists in their singles. Do you intend to feature anybody?
It will all depend if I want to come up with another single after 'O Heeriye'. After 'Paani Da Rang' and 'Saddi Gali', people were asking me when will my next song come out and I would tell them that my next song will be heard with my next film next year. Next year I have three to four films coming up. I was driving through the Mumbai-Pune expressway and I thought of this hook – 'O Heeriye' and my partner in crime jammed and came up with the song in ten days. I don't know if I would feature anybody else but as of now it's just 'Me' and Rhea Chakraborty.
Your story can be aptly called 'Bombay Fairytale'.
I've also faced a lot of rejection in this fairytale you are talking about. I was a part of Fox Stars in 2002 when I was not even 18 and was rejected. I was in top five. In Indian Idol I was rejected in top 100. Then came Zee Cine Stars Ki Khoj and I was rejected in the regional rounds. I was questioning myself if I am good enough for this industry or not. I was doing television but I always wanted to do films and music. For a decade I've faced rejection but I think the fairytale started a year ago with Vicky Donor.
I think that's true. You have to be as real as possible. The best part about this generation and the era is that we are going away from the generic. Nobody expected that by going local we'll go global. Kahaani was very Bengali, Vicky Donor was very Punjabi, The Dirty Picture was very Tamil and English Vinglish was a bit Marathi. But yet these diverse genres appealed to our national and international audience. Yes, it had one common factor – it connected to each in a different way. Being a star is a journey. You can't become a star because you want to be a star. People make you a star and you only become a star over a decade. It doesn't happen in one or two years.
So tell me more about 'O Heeriye'…
I'll tell you the difference between 'Paani Da', 'Saddi Gali' and 'O Heeriye'. Lot of sceptics told me that 'Saddi Gali' sounded like Paani Da Rang 2 because the core structure was similar. 'O Heeriye' has the punjabi texture but has a very different core. It's a soft alternate rock. We've worked a lot on Hindi lyrics in 'O Heeriye' and stirred away from the usual Punjabi words. We didn't want people to alienate away and refer to dictionary for the meaning.
So what do you prefer? Lyrics first and tune later or the other way around?
Fortunately, all my three songs were made simultaneously. Lyrics with the tune. May be we go with scratch lyrics first but the tune also is a scratch. Till you reach a dead end, you can't really decide what you want in a song.
So, what do you listen for lyrics?
I love Mehndi Hassan's ghazals. I listen to a lot of it. I also like a poet in Punjab called Shiv Kumar Batalvi. He was a banker by profession and he used to write in Punjabi. Jagjit Singh has sung a lot of ghazals using his lyrics. Currently there is a guy called Satinder Sartaj. He is my senior from Punjab University. His writing is superb. There was Gurdas Maan. He used to compose and write his own songs. Out of mainstream commercial cinema Gulzar saab is the baap of all lyricist. Even Javed Akhtar. He is in touch with the current times, thanks to Farhan Akhtar. His range is also brilliant. Irshad Kamil is very poetic. But these are the lyricists whose songs I like to listen to.
'O Heeriye' is on YRF Music. Tell me something – what's the vision of Aditya Chopra when it comes to movies and music?
That's his personal choice but the man is so much in touch with reality. He is a private person and that's why he is so rooted. He goes to watch a film in normal theatre with normal people. His vision is simple – keep making movies and well, we all know Yash Raj Studios have a good ear for music. Though I would have loved to meet Late Mr. Yash Chopra who has been an inspiration in movies and music to the many, including me.