Filmmakers and actors often describe their films as babies. The adrenaline rush one experiences after embracing parenthood for the first time is akin to directing or acting in your first film. Anirudh Iyer, who has assisted filmmaker Aanand L Rai, now turns a father. He’s now directing his first film called An Action Hero. It stars Ayushmann Khurrana and Jaideep Ahlawat and releases on December 2.
In an exclusive interview with Firstpost, Iyer spoke about the idea of casting Khurrana as an action hero, the emotions he was going through on the first day of the shoot, and his journey from an assistant director to now a director.
How were you feeling on the first day of the shoot, since this is your first film?
I was very scared. I’ve been on a film set for more than ten years now, so I know how a film set looks like and what it looks like. But this time, the whole attention is on you, so you do feel scared. But Ayushmann and Jaideep were very kind to me, they treated me like a younger brother. They gave me all the freedom and told me ‘Kuch bhi achcha na lage to mooh pe bolde.’ Within the first two-three hours, I became so honest only because they gave me so much space.
What do have to say about Aanand L Rai as a director and a producer, since you have collaborated with him in both of these capacities?
I’ll always prefer Aanand L Rai as a director because he’s primarily a director at heart. He produces because he loves new talent and young talent. I love him as a director but now I’m learning from Aanand Rai as the producer that I saw for the first time.
Rai’s cinema is known for being rooted in heartland. This film that you have directed looks slick and stylish, and London is a primary location. What were the preparations like regarding the look of An Action Hero?
I’ve been very urban in the frame of my thoughts, the stories that I had in mind were based in urban set-ups. In terms of prep, it was not that difficult logistically. But the shoot became very difficult since we were in a bio-bubble during the lockdown. It was peak winter, -2, -3, so it was a difficult process.
Since you have now become a director yourself, what do you have to say about the assistant directors that have worked with you?
They all were fantastic. I have five new directors coming. I go by the what Aanand sir told me, he hates the word AD. He wants to hear Assistant Director whenever they introduce themselves to him. You need to feel that pressure on you, and they are very talented.
Why Ayushmann Khurrana as an action hero?
Ayushmann Khurrana is the bravest actor we have in the country. He’s one actor who has so much courage to take risks and to do new things. I don’t think anyone does that. An ordinary story doesn’t excite him, needs something crazy. When we wrote the story, we realized this has Ayushmann Khurrana written all over it. This isn’t just a plain action flick, it has a story that has action in it. We were excited more about the story than the action.
Tell us something about the scenes between Ayushmann Khurrana and Jaideep Ahlawat since they look both intense and fun?
Great. It was really good. Ayushmann was too hard working, he’s very very dedicated. He trains and trains and trains; and same with Jaideep also. But they are friends also, so it was hard for me to make them hate each other.
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