Art & Entertainment

Ayush Mehra: OTT Has Opened Up So Many Opportunities And Avenues For So Many Actors, Directors, Producers, Writers

Ayush Mehra has been a massively popular name in the digital world. From OTT shows to Instagram Reels to ads, he is everywhere. He recently made his film debut with ‘Kacchey Limbu’ on JioCinema. He opens up about the film, his career in general and lots more.

Ayush Mehra

Ayush Mehra has been garnering a lot of compliments for his debut film, ‘Kacchey Limbu’, which was released recently on JioCinema. He has been popular over the past decade for his stellar work in numerous sketches on different YouTube channels and Instagram reels. With him transitioning to the big leagues, there is definitely a lot to expect from him in the coming days.

Talking to Prateek Sur, Ayush Mehra opens up about ‘Kacchey Limbu’, how he has been taking his career head one despite any rejections, how OTT has become a big thing and helped actors like him, his chocolate boy looks, and lots more. Excerpts:

How did the film ‘Kacchey Limbu’ land on your plate?

So, this is a very interesting story. You know, I had been acting for the last eight to nine years and I started as a jackfruit in a play and then did a number of ads. Then I got into digital sketches. Then I got into YouTube shows and everyone kept asking me this question, when are you going to land your first film? And I had worked with Yogi in the past and I really loved working with him. And so, it worked out when he narrated the script of ‘Kacchey Limbu’. Kabir was a character which won me over and I was like, wow, this is something which I really really feel like doing and entering films with, because it was so heartwarming to read this character and I was like, ‘This is it’. This is the way I start my film journey. And I really, really felt happy and I think that's how I landed Kabir, over a phone call. And I remember the scenario was he said I was going to shoot the next day. And I was shooting that day as well. He said, I want to narrate a story to you. So, can you meet me for a drive? So, it was a one hour drive we went for and he narrated the script to me and Kabir was the character that won me over so that's how I landed my first film.

You guys shot ‘Kacchey Limbu’ long back. Was the film stuck for a release date for quite some time?

You know, as they say, all beautiful things take time. So, catch him who also took its time. And obviously, as a cast and crew member, everyone wanted it to come out fast, but the studio had beautiful plans of it. We had a world premiere in Tiff and vivo in the likes like we will we will premiere over there. There were films like fable mines over there. The horror films of Steven Spielberg, there were films of Damien Chazelle over there, and we were just honored to go in that we got a standing ovation over there. So, you know, we never thought that we would go to festivals. So, we did that. And obviously the studio had the biggest plans for it. It was released on Jio cinemas and that too for free during the IPL. It was the first ever original which came out on their app between the likes of ‘Vikram Vedha’ and ‘Bhediya’, which meant that they believed in the film so much and you know, that belief is something which we were so honored by. And you know, sometimes you leave the best things in the hands of destiny and I think destiny really, really played a very superb role in this JioCinema, did everything possible to make it the best possible release and experience for us.

‘Kacchey Limbu’ is a big break for you as it's your first film. How different was shooting for this than the millions of digital shows which you keep on doing with filter coffee or Zoom studios or TVF or even on Instagram

This is obviously my first film and it's always going to be very special. And you know, I've done a lot of digital sketches with Filter Copy, Zoom, RVCJ and on Instagram. But you know, those are things which probably made me get the film. It's all the hard work which I have done till now, to this point, to get me to this point. So, I always feel that whatever you do, always adds to your portfolio of work. And it was different because it's my first film and it's always going to be special. It's how I entered this industry as a Bollywood actor. So, I just feel very honored that I've done my first film after doing so much work on the web. And it just feels that the timing was correct for it.

As you have done so many shows on these various digital platforms, do you ever get rejected during auditions for some big shows?

Of course, there are so many shows and there are so many films I get rejected for. And you know, like I've been acting since nine years now in ads in digital shows and web shows and OTT shows. So it's, it's just like rejection is a part of an actor's life. I think you just need to be persistent and you don't have to take rejection to your heart, Rejection is just an opinion. And it's about that you don't fit in that aspect at that point of time. And there are other aspects where you can fit in so you should probably try that. And it does not have to be 10,000 aspects you have to fit in, you just have to fit in one. So I feel you just need to be persistent and you have to keep doing what you have to keep doing. So I never took rejection to my heart. But yeah, initially I used to get very affected by it. But now I'm very immune to it, but I've got a lot of rejection so that's that's two for sure. And as anyone said, your face has been overexposed already i would like to say - “Abhi toh mein picturon me aaya hu, Bohot time hai overexposure ke liye.”

‘Kacchey Limbu’ is set in Mumbai, and it's a very relatable story, were there instances in the script where you felt ‘Arre this is this has happened to me as well in life’?

Of course it was the whole story was very nostalgic. Like I remember playing cricket in my society. They used to be into building competition. They used to be quality competitions. I remember my buildings first crash. So you know, it was very relatable in a lot of ways. Also, I remember for the prep of it, I went back to my old building and I like just like used to be there for some time. Remember those days, and you know, that was part of my process of you know, getting into the skin of Kabir. Also, the kind of music I used to listen to at that point of time. I only listened to that music. I listen to a lot of Enrique a lot of blue. A lot of all those old songs, which were very nostalgic a which gave me a feeling that I was taken back in that era. So I surrounded myself with everything that helped me reach there. So yeah, ‘Kacchey Limbu’ was a very relatable story for me. And I think a lot of it has happened. for example: Hitting the sixer I remember was a very difficult deal in my building as well, because it had to cross the fence which was like I think, at least 70 meters so it was a tough thing to hit a six yeah it was really relatable.

You were recently seen in ‘Call My Agent’ where you played a casting director. If in real life you were a casting agent, what would be the three things that you would look up in an actor actress profile before choosing to represent them?

Oh, yes. What am I if I was a casting agent, the three things I would look at would be obviously talent. I would look at how the person acts and how the person is in front of the camera. Secondly, I would see the dedication. I think that is something which is very important, because hard work can compensate for talent as well. So I really believe in that. And I think the third one is the kind of person you are because you know, as a person, you have to be very adaptable. And you have to be very easy when you're working on a set, because it's not only you it is hundreds of people who are trying to make that film so if you're going to be cocky or if you're going to be very difficult to work with that is something which I would not like in an actor. So I think these are the few things which I would probably look for in an actor before casting if I was an agent, I'm glad I'm not. But yeah.


You are known for the chocolate boy good-looking characters. Does that ever become a hindrance as a filmmaker might not approach you for some serious roles, which may be very different from what you've done before?

No, I don't think so. That is a problem for me. Because I have always trained with the best of teachers like I have trained with Jeff Goldberg in the Lee Strasberg method And I've trained in drama. And you know, my strength is drama. A lot of times, you get the role, the way you look like but I know that can change with the project and I'm very confident that it will the minute I get that one big project which has an image change in character. Recently, I also did a show called minus one new chapter which showed me in a very different light. And that was not expected of me and that changed a lot from me. And for me, so I think it's up to the perception and it's up to the work you're getting. I'm very, very, very happy to be the chocolate boy and I'm very happy to continue like that. I really hope I make a hug mark or a bigger mark on people when I'm playing the chocolate boy. And I hope I have a theatrical release in a chocolate boy. But yeah, abhi toh delhi bohot dur hai. So I'm assuming that that typecasting is not hit me as much but I know that will just change with one good project and I'm very confident that I will be able to deal with that as well.


Now that you've become that now that you've come to the big leagues with films and Netflix shows, will we see you go back to doing the usual digital shows that you were doing? Before filtercopy, etc? Or will you now stick to the bigger leagues of Netflix and prime etc.

You know, ever since I started acting, the only thing which mattered to me was a good story. And it doesn't matter where the good story comes from. Be it on a digital sketch, be it on a digital OTT show YouTube show. I always choose my scripts and then decide what I have to do. Obviously the ambition after doing a film is to keep doing more films and to be getting bigger stuff. More below shows. But I think script is always the hero. And if I get a good script anywhere, then I will think about it. It's not set in stone that I have to only do one thing or the other. I'm open to doing just good stories. And good characters. It can be anywhere.


OTT has become the new boom in the entertainment industry. Do you feel actors actresses who were probably not getting enough work in the mainstream are finally getting their due because of OTT.

You know OTT has opened up so much and so many opportunities and avenues for so many actors, directors, producers, writers. Everyone has worked now and I think it's a blessing in disguise because initially we only had ads we had TV shows and we had movies. But now we have OTT and there are so many platforms and there's so much work that it just gives a lot of opportunities for all actors to keep working and that's the space we require because the stakes are not as high as films…Box office Films because a lot of money's riding on that. But with streaming platforms, they can take that risk with new people. I've made my entire career on the web. And that is something which I'm very proud of. And I feel that I am one of the first people who started out on web and you don't getting a film for me was a very big thing, and especially my debut in Kacchey Limbu was a dream debut for me. So I feel like oddity is a blessing. And I think I'm glad that it's come in our lives and it's changed everyone's lives for the good.


Would be good to see you in the film, which releases in theaters anytime soon.

I would like to say Inshallah, on that, and I would like to say I hope it's soon. Right now. There is nothing in the pipeline. That hits the theaters. But I would love to be part of a theatrical film and I would love to do my theatrical debut also. But I think we'll probably have to wait a little for that. Or it could be probably the next year you never know what the universe has in store for you.

What next after the Kacchey Limbu, can we see coming from you?


So there are a couple of things which we are reading and there are very interesting stuff which is coming in and after Kacchey Limbu especially a lot of calls and offers have been made. And we just have to pick the right one for a right path because everyone has the right path in their mind and head and that is something which is an instinct, which I would love to follow. So we are picking things very carefully and picking things which are aligning to a path so you will hear from me very very, very soon on a new project announcement.