Bollywood actor Aayush Sharma made his debut with the movie Loveyatri in 2018, where he played a passionate and romantic lover. In 2021, audiences saw him as a tough gangster in his second film, Antim: The Final Truth. In the film, he plays Rahulya, a man who is confronted with the character of Salman Khan, Sartaj Singh, a fair cop. In an interview with Indian Express, Aayush talks about his journey, the challenges he has faced in Bollywood, his equation with Salman Khan and how his family reacted to the film.
Speaking about his trip from Loveyatri to Antim, he says, “It was fun. When I made my first film, I had to learn to dance. I could not dance to save my life. In the first movie, the challenge was to learn how to play Garba. I’m a Native American, I’m from Himachal, I’ve never been to a garba festival. I never thought I would succeed. So I had to learn and practice it, and that was my first experience in cinema. I was 41 kilos when I moved to Bombay in 2009. To become an actor, I had to gain kilos. So I reached 60 kilos, when I did Loveyatri “.
He added, “After Loveyatri, I realized this was the movie I had to be a part of – I knew it was a great platform. He has Salman Khan, he has Mahesh Manjrekar to direct it. Antim was the biggest platform an old movie actor could ask for. So again the journey of weight gain. “As an actor, you have to justify your acting.”
It was not so easy for him to play in a movie next to Salman Khan, who is also his brother-in-law. Did he feel intimidated? Aayush answers in the affirmative, “Yes, because he is also a member of my family. The subject is an actor, you love him as a star. I’m a fan myself. Here I am, as a fan, fighting with him. I know he has a superstar. So I had to change the way I speak, to put that kind of muscle. On the other hand, even though he does all this, when he is on set, no one sees anything else. “The thought that goes through my mind at the moment is that I do not know if I will be able to hold on.”
Aayush says Antim was a kind of experiment for Salman as well. “She decided to make this movie. He knew this was not a typical Salman Khan film and he knew it would lead to Rahulia – his story is what we present to the world. He was very confident that this is the right role for me. But it is also an experiment for him. We do not know if the audience will be able to accept him, without having erotic interest or so much dancing in the film “.
A different kind of synergy was needed for this film and Aayush realized that much of the weight was on his shoulders. “When we started making this film, we did not know what the result would be. If the film was set on Rahulya’s journey, I have to prove myself. “If Salman Bhai is there in the film and supports a film like this, and if Rahulya does not keep the audience loyal, will the film survive?”
Aayush’s Rahulya is far from her lover in Loveyatri. How did he prepare to enter such a dark mentality? Aayush explains, “When I understood the character, I knew there was a dark side to it. For the first few weeks, I was getting ready to be the bad guy. At first, I could not figure out what the problem was. Then there was an exercise I did. I broke a glass on purpose and it bothered me. And then I kept breaking the glasses, until I started to enjoy it, the madness to do it for no reason. People want to be liked. Here is a character who does not believe what people say. I have to let my character judge – this boy wanted to rule and that was his intention. I will not judge him. “I come to tell people my story, it’s up to them to decide if he’s bad or not.”
Asked if he ever approached Salman Khan for guidance, he said: “I put it in his mind and asked him if he could help me. He said, “Help yourself.” Early in my life, he told me, “I can only give you a chance to come on camera. “What you do is between you and the public.” This is his firm belief. He always told me, I would give you the weapons to make a war. I can not make war on you. When I said he was a tough character, he just said one thing to me, “Listen, I don’t want another Salman on screen. I am also an actor. “People need to see you and connect with Aayush.”
How did Arpita Khan’s wife react when she saw him play such a cold man on the screen, in front of her own brother? Aayush says, “My wife was very excited when she saw the movie. When I started the movie, he called me and said, “I’m 32 and all my life, I always prayed for my brother to surpass everyone in his movies. But this is the first time I pray you get over it. He said, “I’m giving the biggest fight, because my two most beloved people will be in the same box and I can not watch them fight.”
Arpita also gave him some difficult advice. “He also told me, ‘This is an opportunity. He is one of the biggest superstars in the country and you can never get this platform again. If this time, just know that it is an opportunity to do or die. If you confuse this, there is no going back. You will never be redeemed. “
Reacting to allegations of Salman Khan’s monkeyism and the usual shadow of nepotism hanging over Bollywood like a sword, Aayush remains calm. He says, “When people say to me, ‘You are who you are, because of Salman Khan,’ I do not deny it. They think they are trolling me, but it is a fact. I can not be sad about that. I have not done anything so far, so I can say no, “you know me for something else”. I’m under a big banyan tree – it gives me shelter, but it removes the sun. The only way I can answer is with my job. If I make a fuss on social media, it’s wrong. “Only work is the answer.”
Aayush remains indifferent to trolls and hate comments on social media. He says, “People pay too much attention to negativity. The actors themselves to stop reading such comments. If you do not like me, why waste your time on me? “
Although Antim was a rather dark and gloomy movie, there was a lot of fun on stage. Aayush remembers a prank he did on Mahima Makwana, who plays Manda’s favorite on the show. He explains, “We were supposed to do the song, Hone Laga, and while we had to do the personal moments, as my arm was broken that day, I said okay, Mahima can keep shooting with a body double. It was already paranoid, as it was her first Bollywood movie. I acted as if my double body was about to come, and she was already so nervous. She was anxious, so I made things more uncomfortable and ran away. When I heard that he was crying, I turned and said, no, no, I will do it myself. He said, “You are so annoying!” and tears welled up in her eyes. “
Antim: The Final Truth, is directed by Mahesh Manjrekar. It was released in cinemas on November 25.
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