Actor Ayushmann Khurrana on Tuesday said he has challenged the idea of “toxic masculinity” right from the beginning of his career and is confident his upcoming film “Dream Girl 2” will take the discourse to another level. At the trailer launch of “Dream Girl 2”, the actor was asked to comment on how Karan Johar’s latest film “Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani” challenges gender stereotypes by showing two men — characters played by Ranveer Singh and Tota Roy Choudhury — perform Kathak on “Dola Re Dola”, a song from “Devdas” featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit Nene.
Khurrana, who plays the role of a cross dresser in “Dream Girl 2”, said he is happy to see the audience accept a film like “Rocky Aur Rani…”
“From the beginning, I’ve criticised toxic masculinity. I’m glad that ‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani’ is doing well. They have set a good ground to address toxic masculinity because our film is going to take it to the next level.
“It’s good to see people accepting these kinds of films on social causes or trying to say something about breaking stereotypes. It’s not just the messaging in the film (‘Dream Girl 2’), it has a lot of comedy as well,” the actor told reporters here.
Khurrana said he is glad to count himself in the company of actors like Kamal Haasan, Govinda, and Kishore Kumar, who have in the past transformed into a woman in different movies.
“You take inspiration from Kamal Haasan sir in ‘Chachi 420’ or Govinda in ‘Aunty No 1’. A lot of actors have done this, including Kishore Kumar ji. So, actors have got an opportunity every decade to play characters like these. I’m glad I got it too with this film (‘Dream Girl 2’), which says a lot in a light-hearted, fun way,” he added.
“Dream Girl 2” is a sequel of the actor’s 2019 comedy-drama, in which he featured as Karam, a man whose female voice impersonation as Pooja begets attention from others. The follow-up movie also stars Ananya Panday.
Khurrana termed the upcoming film as a “true” sequel to “Dream Girl”, the first film in the franchise.
“After watching the first part, you will want to see this next part as well. When I heard the narration of the second part, I felt I should do it. It is an organic sequel to ‘Dream Girl’. We have a bouquet of actors, like Ananya Panday, is a great value addition. There’s Rajpal Yadav, Abhishek Banerjee, and others,” he said.
Raaj Shaandilyaa, who helmed the first part, has directed “Dream Girl 2”.
The filmmaker said comedy films take time to be made.
“You need to devote time to making comedy films. This film would have been released before but there was COVID-19 in between. I want to write a lot (of films), there’s something that will come next year,” Shaandilyaa added.
Panday, who is the new addition to the sequel, said she enjoyed working on the film.
“I had a great time shooting with Ayushmann, but I enjoyed working alongside ‘Pooja’. I haven’t given any inputs to Ayushmann (about how to play the character of a woman). I rather learnt from him. I was amazed looking at him,” she added.
Khurrana, also known for social issue-based movies such as “Article 15” and “Badhaai Ho”, said “Dream Girl 2” has been his “most massy” film.
“I’m fortunate that I have got opportunities to portray different characters and showcase different subjects on celluloid. ‘Dream Girl 2’ is unique. It is a mass entertainer.
“The palette of this film is full theatrical, it is a family entertainer. Usually, my subject-based films are meant for multiplexes, but ‘Dream Girl’ is the only film that reached out to both smaller towns and big cities,” he said.
“Dream Girl 2” also stars Annu Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Vijay Raaz, Manoj Joshi, Rajpal Yadav, Seema Pahwa, Manjot Singh and Abhishek Banerjee.
Backed by Balaji Motion Pictures, the film is set to be released on August 25 in theatres.