Ayush Khurana became popular as the hot and athletic Maddy in REJCTX. He plays the role of a swimmer and MMA fighter in this season while he played a basketball champ in the first season. He plays football and other sports apart from gymming thrice a day and is still finding ways to stay fit during the quarantine too. We had a chat with him a few times about his role in the show and how he deals with the attention that comes with being a kind of sex symbol of the series.
Watch the trailer for the REJCTX 2 here.
What have the early reactions been like for the second season?
So far it has been all good actually. Because I was watching it with my friends and throughout the series, they were surprised by the twists. Like they could not guess at all who X was. I was looking at their reactions mostly and they were genuinely surprised. When we watched it on the first day, only the first five episodes had released. They couldn’t wait for the other episodes. We needed to go and buy groceries but they decided to watch the next episodes first.
What were some of the audience reactions you got for your character?
So Maddy is an attractive character for any young person. He is a sports star and he is into music but he also has a sensitive side to him. That’s why I think people like the character physically but emotionally too. In the first season, he had to go through problems because his mother was a porn star, but in this season he finds out what it is like to be forced into doing porn as well. So there’s a good emotional conflict with him. He is shown as a fighter too but he is ready to get beaten up in a game for his friend. So he’s strong but he is an emotional guy as well.
You play a very athletic kid in the show like a boxer and swimmer. How do you prepare to look the part?
For MMA I just did 3-4 sessions. In the first two sessions, they were only correcting my form. In the next two sessions, I was only practicing the choreography. Because I didn’t want it to look fake. When I saw it on screen the way it was directed and edited I was happy that it looked professional. Our editor Arjun actually directed those scenes.
I didn’t know how to swim either and I had to play the role of a strong swimmer. So I had around 11 sessions in Mumbai and Bangkok where I learnt swimming. I knew the basics but that’s where I actually got the proper technique. It was very hectic in Bangkok actually. For about six days I didn’t have any shoot but I was learning swimming in the morning, with diving and everything. Then I would go for the MMA sessions after lunch.
Even Yesha mentioned that she didn’t know how to swim before the show…
Yeah, I met her while practicing in Bangkok and I think we both more or less learnt together. And The trainer we had in Bangkok was very good. He would tell me to dive from the deep end and I was scared but he convinced me I would come up and not drown.
Many girls end up having a crush on you in the series. Is this situation similar to your real-life too?
I don’t think so. I am more of a person who is friends first. Whether I speak to a guy or a girl, I don’t change how I behave. So I have a lot of good friendships on set too because I don’t change myself while talking to different people. In fact, I think I got along best with Sehmat (Saadhika Syal).
This season is set to be hotter and more exciting. How has your character changed from the first season?
I’ve played a lot of cricket and football but I had never played basketball. In two weeks I learnt basketball enough to do it well in the first season. This time I learnt MMA and swimming. In the first season, he was in problem because of other people, in this season he is in trouble because of his own actions. In the first season, he goes through a lot before realising Sehmat is the right girl for him. In this season, the first episode itself starts with their fight. In his own life, Maddy has not seen a happy couple in his parents that’s why I don’t think he had any normal relationship.
What are the three qualities you have in common with Maddy?
There’s a line in the show that says something like Maddy himself doesn’t know what he is capable of’. I think that’s the same as me for sports. I think I can pick up any sport if I try it for a while. I am into music too just like Maddy. After returning from the shoot I was planning to learn music production and all, but the lockdown began so that didn’t happen. I think Maddy is friends with everyone and no one has anything against him. I am like that in real life too and I friendly with everyone.
Since the show is all about music. Which is your favourite song from season 1 and season 2?
In the first season, I liked the song ‘Theek Hai Na’. After returning from the first season shoot I used that song in all my Instagram stories. In season 2, I liked the ‘Mad About You Maddy’ song. When Goldie sir told me about the song and said Ankur Tewari will be composing it, I was so excited because I am a huge fan of his music.
How did it feel having a girl dedicate a love song to your character in ‘Mad About You Maddy’?
I mean, of course, it feels great. just that song playing on-screen makes your character just gets noticed. In my DMs girls are messaging me, Maddy I am mad about you. It gives them a pick-up line basically instead of just saying something generic.
How does it feel being portrayed as a sex symbol? How do you deal with the attention that comes with it?
Yeah, I mean like I try to be how I always am. Like people commenting on my pictures and I think I have always wanted for this to happen. So whenever I see that I try to reply to all the comments with a thanks. But if they start a conversation then I usually stop. Even my friends today are the same ones who were with me since the days I was studying in Pune. In the second season, I have these scenes telling Yesha that I am not ready for a relationship and I want to take things slow. So they would pull my leg saying ‘How are you not ready for this?” Even when they watched me getting beaten up in the MMA scenes they got up and hugged me. But yeah I am happy with everything that’s happening now.
With which of your co-stars is your equation more or less like what we see in the series?
I would have to say harry (Prabhneet Singh), even Aarav (Masi Wali). With Harry, it’s like we are both from Punjab. So that connect helps us bond well. When we are not shooting, we sometimes just take a walk around and look at things thinking what they would look like in Punjab. So we do a lot of time-pass like that. We’d talk to the production crew in Punjabi.
Can you name three of your hottest co-stars on the sets of REJCTX 2?
Okay so Anisha Victor (Kiara), Ridhi Khakar (Parnomitra) and Saadhika Syal (Sehmat).
Any last messages for people who might watch the show?
We’ve worked really hard for this season. In fact to finish it before the lockdown began, we were shooting for 20 hours at a stretch. I also want to say if they watch one episode they will want to watch all 8 in on sitting so plan accordingly.
Watch the first episode of REJCTX 2 streaming for free on ZEE5.