While Ayush Mehra may have had his big Netflix debut with Call My Agent: Bollywood, he’s been in the scene for a while now. He’s not really an influencer in the sense that he started out before the term took over social media. Managed by Clout, a talent management wing by Pocket Aces, Ayush Mehra was one of the first few actors to become widely popular through his digital content performances on YouTube, FilterCopy and Dice Media videos. He started working in originals for major content houses when India was going through a content boom and people still expected the same level of talent and craft on their phones as they expected from the big screen. This was before reels took over and made everyone regurgitate the same old hook step for views. While that does help someone’s follower base, it does nothing to further the quest for good content. Thankfully, over the years, Ayush Mehra has managed to steer clear of such regurgitation and while the going has been slow, he has managed to remain in the public eye.
It also helps that Mehra is a very handsome guy. He’s got those mainstream good looks that worked so well for Varun Dhawan. You can imagine Mehra starring in a gritty drama and also in a movie that requires him to go shirtless and dance on the streets. He has a great body of work, sure, but he also happens to have a great body and while he maintains that it is the craft that people notice, it certainly helps that he’s got some rock-hard abs. After all, anyone who follows social media trends will tell you that perception is everything.
When it comes to Call My Agent: Bollywood, what works for Ayush Mehra is that he truly believes in his role. You can tell that he is either a good actor or he’s actually Mehershaad in real life. He’s an empath and puts his artist’s soul over money. In a series filled with heavyweights like Rajat Kapoor, Dia Mirza and Lilette Dubey, Mehra stands out. His is one of the few good performances in a series that has too much going on. Anyone can make a good script work but for someone to do a good job with the kind of script that Call My Agent: Bollywood has? That’s talent right there.
Meet our cover boy, Ayush Mehra, in his own words…
Q: What do you think is the difference between an influencer and a celebrity?
Well, I don’t think there’s much of a difference. A celebrity is a person who influences a lot of people and an influencer is also someone who does the same. It’s just that the mediums are different to make them a celebrity and that is why we feel that they are different. Social media platforms have come into existence for the last five to 10 years and that’s when they have started influencing people but celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and Salman and all these people are influencers at a major level. You remember how people used to get haircuts inspired by them? Having an influence on people has nothing to do with being specifically an influencer. It’s just that if you have a following and people follow you and want to alter their lives according to you, I feel that’s where the difference lies. That’s why it’s the responsibility of these people to spread the right influence because a lot of young people follow you and after looking at your page, they should feel that this is something they want to include in your life. The lines are blurred now and there is no difference between a celebrity and an influencer.
Q: How do you think content has changed in this country?
Content has changed in a very big way in this country and that’s only because of the internet. The way that the internet has been embraced in the last couple of years, thanks to the OTT platforms, there are a lot of filmmakers telling new stories and new ideas. New platforms have come up which have given an opportunity to so many people. It’s not necessary that a Netflix or a big platform has to give content. Even small platforms can deliver a good show – take Scam 1992 for example which came out on SONY Liv. Everyone started viewing all the other shows on SONY Liv because of Scam. The benchmark has been set high now. So, you can’t make ordinary stuff and get away with it.
Q: As someone who has had talent managers, how did it feel playing one in Call My Agent Bollywood?
It was really, really fun. I also feel that my second job in life would be to be a talent manager. I’ve done that with so many friends of mine. I’ve actually negotiated their budgets and learnt a lot of things. Observing my talent managers and team at Clout, the most important thing I have learnt is empathy. As a talent manager,you just not have to manage the artist, but be their father, friend, advisor, guide, motivator and mentor. And, at times, you may not be good at each of them. You derive a lot of empathy from the roles you play. This is something I will take back from the show. Mehershaad will be really close to my heart, always.
Q: What would you say is the role of a talent manager? Is it a jack of all trades situation?
The role of a talent manager is to understand his artist and what the artist wants to do and what are the goals. And then, to take small steps towards achieving that goal. Is it a jack of all trades situation? No, I think that if you have a good talent manager, he will always take care of you and make sure that the artist is comfortable and at his or her best. Sometimes, you have to be their best friend, their guides, their mentors, their financial advisors. And to tell them to do the right thing! It’s not a jack of all trades situation, it’s a very comforting space, I would say. It’s a place where I would vent sometimes, if something didn’t go right. It’s a space where an artist feels safe and protected. After portraying the role of a talent manager, I value my talent managers and my team at Clout, more than I used to earlier.
Q: Do you think having a hot body is a necessity to be a mainstream actor?
I don’t think it is a necessity to be a mainstream actor. You can have a presentable fit body and still be a mainstream actor. I think the focus is on the acting rather than the body. Which is why I feel that its good to be fit for yourself because that will only prolong your career. Be healthy and fit. Standards are something that depend on the role. If you have to do a role of a boxer who is chiseled, you have to have that body. But, if you have to be a normal guy who works in an office, I don’t think its not necessary to have all 18 packs! It depends on the roles you get and what you personally want from it.
Q: What’s the worst thing and best thing about your job?
I won’t say anything there’s anything really bad about my job because I love what I do and won’t trade it for anything else. The best thing about my job is meeting many people and learning from so many people and playing different characters. And learning from those characters that you are playing. In that way, you become a much more understanding person. My job challenges my beliefs every single day.