At the time of writing this review, Bollywood was in the middle of two Ayushmann Khurrana films – Andhadhun that was released last week and Badhaai Ho that would be releasing the next week. The actor is considered to be one of those rising stars in Bollywood who came from nowhere to make a place for themselves. Amidst the Khans, Kapoors and Kumars, how did this Khurrana become a Bollywood commodity, that’s what the actor talks about in his book Cracking the Code: My Journey to Bollywood.
Co-written by Ayushmann Khurrana and his wife Tahira Kashyap, the book is a must-read for all those who want to flourish in any industry. Ayushmann describes his struggle, his decisions and his ability to bounce back in a way that would motivate youngsters who feel dejected after just one failure. If you didn’t know that the Vicky Donor actor first entered showbiz as a contestant for a music reality show, later became popular as a reality show contestant, then made a name for himself as an RJ, a VJ, and a TV actor before gaining fame as a celebrity host, then you should read this book to know about his struggles.
The book also has the Codes, 15 in total, which can be taken as advice from the once-aspiring actor who now has a handful of hits to his name. It is through these codes that he speaks directly to his readers, admitting that while doing Nautanki Saala (2013) was a mistake, he had earlier been saved from going to prison because of his professionalism. Ayushmann also talks about karma as he failed to bag a supporting role in I Hate Love Stories but later played hero to the film’s leading lady in Bewakoofiyan (2014).
The best thing about this book is not just the little details from the world of entertainment or the unseen pictures of a young Ayushmann but the way he narrates his struggle and communicates to his readers. He discloses his ‘skinny’ past to the readers as well as his weak physique and ability to do the Michael Jackson dance as it was known in those days; whenever he told people about his acting ambitions, they took one look at him and raised their eyebrows as if they didn’t believe in him and, according to the narrator, that’s what gave him the strength to prove them all wrong.
Cracking the Code: My Journey to Bollywood is about learning from someone else’s mistakes and avoiding repeating them in one’s own case. One must be indebted to Ayushmann for calling a spade a spade because usually people don’t highlight the downside of being in the film industry but Ayushmann does just that in this book. He talks about how people rejected Vicky Donor for being too bold before he and Annu Kapoor were cast alongside Yami Gautam. Besides, he advises readers that it’s okay to follow your dreams and pursue careers other than being a doctor or an engineer.
Ayushmann also thanks his critics in his book, something that none of the actors have done. He doesn’t really call them flawless but mentions them in a casual, ‘by the way’ manner, showing that he doesn’t care about what people say because one must know his own strengths and weaknesses and try to play on the strengths to achieve dreams that might seem unachievable to others.
– Omair Alavi is a freelance broadcast journalist who can be contacted at [email protected]