Aayush Sharma says his debut film Loveyatri is a celebration of love and culture and it was painful to do away with the original title as the makers did not want to court any controversy. In an interview with PTI, Aayush opened up about the title row to how he landed in Bollywood as an actor, courtesy Khan brothers - Salman, Arbaaz and Sohail.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was irked by the title "Loveratri", which according to them was distorting the meaning of Hindu festival, Navratri.
Later, a Bihar court had ordered an FIR to be lodged against Salman, saying the title hurts religious sentiments and promotes vulgarity. For Aayush, it was disheartening that the title was changed as he had lived with it for the longest time. "Our intention was very clear. We wanted a film that connects with most people. There was unnecessary conversation and objection happening over it," the newcomer told PTI. The actor said it was difficult for him to understand the reason behind the controversy as the film has not been watched by anybody yet.
He added production banner Salman Khan Films has always believed in making family entertainers.
"The film will not hurt anyone's sentiments. There is not one double meaning dialogue in the film, it only talks about culture. Something or some elements had a problem. I don't want to win the box office with a controversy. "I don't think getting controversy or adding tension would have worked in my favour. I am not publicity hungry. I have enough publicity through the film. I don't need unnecessary attention and I don't want anybody else to get the attention, so if you have a problem, we will change it (title). So, we gave up on the title and it is ok."
Aayush, 27, has been busy promoting the film in different cities and he says he is enjoying meeting new people and interacting with them.
"The kind of love we are getting I feel lucky as a debutante. When I used to go for promotions and I used to wonder do people even know who I am? Slowly it started as a lukewarm welcome to good to an amazing welcome," he added. For, Aayush, it has been a memorable journey since the time the film was announced. He recalled, "Lot of things were said like new actor, new actress and a new director, he is a brother-in-law (of Salman) is he capable of doing something like this? We had the energy, the drive to make a film that people would know us for."
The actor, who came to Mumbai to pursue studies, never imagined that he would face the camera one day.
Aayush is the son of a Delhi-based politician, Anil Sharma. "I was clear I did not want to do a 9am to 5pm job. I wanted to stay away from politics. As a viewer, I would look at the films and say, 'Wow, what a beautiful world'. There were people who told me I should take up acting, do TV serials and ads. But I never gave it a serious thought." But he believes God already had plans for him as he happened to meet Arpita, his wife now. When the two became friends, she introduced him her brothers."... They told me I should be an actor, I was like 'Okay, let me step into this world'. I was told there will be lot of pressure and I had to be prepared for it. My training began at their residence, which we call 'Galaxy Institute of Performing Arts'. Some successful and miserable graduates have emerged from there," he added.
When Aayush worked as an assistant director on films "Bajrangi Bhaijaan", "Prem Ratan Dhan Payo", "Sultan" and "Tubelight" that is when he realised that filmmaking was a taxing process.
"My perception towards films changed. So while I was assisting for films I felt I should act... So, I started listening to scripts, I was not getting the right blend between a commercial film and a plot. When I heard 'Loveyatri', I loved it. It had everything from comedy to emotion and a sweet love story," he added. In "Loveyatri", Aayush plays the role of Sushrut, a garba teacher. The film, which also marks debut of model Warina Hussain, is set to release on October 5.