A chat with Mihir Ahuja on his upcoming film, Hindi Vindi

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If happiness had a face, it would perhaps resemble Bollywood actor Mihir Ahuja, whose radiant spirit illuminates every room he walks into. Fresh from The Archies, Mihir Ahuja has thrown himself into Australian Indian production Hindi Vindi, starring Neena Gupta and Guy Sebastian. He dropped in to our offices for this chat – and despite a craving for desi khana, a passionate foodie much like his character Jughead, he remained cheerful and genuine throughout our conversation.

Torsha Sen: You’re currently filming Hindi Vindi in Sydney, your first film as a lead. Tell us about it.

Mihir Ahuja: This film Hindi Vindi has me, Guy Sebastian, and Neena Guptaji from India. Immediately after first narration of the film, I was sold. I had to do this. It’s a beautiful emotional journey of a grandmom and a grandson – language is at first a barrier, and then music bridges that gap between the two. Hindi Vindi is an emotional ride – a beautiful, beautiful script. And of course, what better place to shoot than Sydney itself.

Torsha Sen: Is this your first time in Sydney? How’s the experience been so far?

Mihir Ahuja: Lovely! Yes, first time in Australia. Today marks a month here. I’m shooting almost every day, so haven’t really explored. I’ve seen the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Taronga Zoo, that’s about it. I’m wrapping the film up on 13 Feb and flying back two days later, so I don’t really have the time, because I’m starting something else in Mumbai. But I love this city, love the vibe here.

Torsha Sen: Working with Neena Gupta and Guy Sebastian, bigwigs from the industry, what did you learn from them?

Mihir Ahuja: With Neena Gupta – I’ve said this before – if you’re in a scene with her or even if you’re just watching, it’s a learning experience. As an actor you just react to what she does, and your scene is good! I don’t have to do much when she’s in the scene. She’s such a beautiful actor. She’s had so much experience in her life and in films, so she’s like a master class in acting.

Mihir Ahuja and Neena Gupta

With Guy, this is his first acting gig, but he’s doing a great job to be honest because, you know, he’s a performer. He’s always been a singer, and he’s been doing stage performances all over the world. I met him on Zoom first. The first time we actually met was on set, first day of shoot. We didn’t have any workshops, but he was just so good. He had that comedic timing right, like an experienced actor in every scene, in every take, so that was exciting to watch. To watch a non-actor do so well, my God, I was really inspired!

TS: You play a Sydney-based character: did you have to learn the Aussie accent?

MA: Yes, I’ve been working with an accent coach; we started five months prior to filming!

TS: Mihir, do you think you have arrived, especially after The Archies?

MA: No, no, I will never feel I have arrived. That’s what keeps me going. Jitne bhi films kar loon, jitna bhi success mill jaaye, I would never want that feeling. Does ‘having arrived’ mean you have stopped (learning?). No, it’ll always be a destination for me. I’ll arrive only on my deathbed!

TS: There’s a bunch of talented people from your hometown Jamshedpur in India’s film industry – R Madhvan, Imtiaz Ali, Shilpa Rao, and more recently Adarsh Gaurav, your contemporary. What’s with the people of Jamshedpur? It’s a ‘talent ka bhandaar’…

MA: (Laughs) Well, Jamshedpur is the Steel City of India!

TS: Was cinema something you always wanted to do? 

MA: Always, always. My parents tell me that when I was maybe three I would see baby ads like Johnson’s Baby, Huggies, Pampers etc and main rone lag jata tha ki mujhe waha jaana hai (I would cry ‘cos I wanted to be like them) so I think I was born to do this. But no one had any leads in the family (to guide me), so I figured I would go do it on my own. I was a performer since primary school – dancer, beatboxer. I moved to Mumbai in 2017 after Year 10, for further studies, and to search for audition rooms or casting directors offices.

TS: You’ve done a lot of ad films.

MA: That’s how it all started: ads were my bread and butter in Mumbai. They paid well and I loved the vibe. My first ever project was an ad with Virat Kohli. That’s how directors see you; doing ads really helps as an actor. TV shows were not my thing – I didn’t want to be stuck in one character for two to three years. I wanted to explore more. So, I did ads, web series and then films.

TS: Mihir Ahuja, you’ve said before that you look up to Amitabh Bachchan and ShahFmihir Rukh Khan. In your film The Archies you had SRK’s daughter Suhana Khan and Big B’s grandson Agastya Nanda alongside you. Did you feel anxious?

MA: No, I’m confident as an actor. I was well prepared for the shoot. When I reach the sets I’m prepared, so not anxious at all.

TS: Are Suhana, Agastya and Khushi your 3am friends now?

MA: Yes, they are. If I need help, they will be there. Everyone is very helpful.


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TS: The premiere for The Archies was the talk of the town because it was star studded. Do you remember a compliment you received from the members of the fraternity?

MA: I have very vivid memories – of the standing ovation, of me crying, ‘cos I was an emotional wreck! And then Rekhaji came over to my mum and me, and said, ‘Can I give you a hug?’ I had goosebumps! And then Amitji, I tapped his shoulder because I had met him just three days before when we filmed the Kaun Banega Crorepati episode. So, I was like ‘Hi Amitji’ and he was like, ‘You were really good’. Oh my God! What more would you need as an actor – that validation from Big B, SRK and Rekhaji!

TS: You know, right, that Rekhaji hands the Best Actor award at most award ceremonies?

MA: Yes, she handed SRK his first Best Actor award. So yes, I’m waiting for my first award from her.

TS: You also seem to be an OTT favourite: you’ve done some eight projects with various platforms. Do you have a strategy behind choosing projects, or do projects choose you?

MA: I’ve been lucky that projects are choosing me right now, but I think I am at that stage currently where I must be choosy, because I can’t just do anything and everything. I’m a sucker for good scripts. If the script is good, even if my part in the film is one or two scenes, I would do the film. I want to tell good stories, even if there’s some other actor telling that story, and I’m just a part of that film. That’s my strategy – be a part of good stories regardless of the size of the role.

Mihir Ahuja

TS: For your last film you learned how to play drums, personally you are into beatboxing and dance, and in this film you play a musician. You seem to have a gehra taluk with rhythm.

MA: You know when I was 9 or 10 I used to tell my mum, I want to go to music school before getting into acting, I want to learn all the instruments in the world, like every single instrument. Luckily I felt drawn to music since I was little. But I never learned music. I am self-taught. I learned beatboxing through YouTube; learned to play mouth organ and flute through YouTube, and a bit of guitar. But yeah, for every project, I’ve played some instrument or the other, which I’ve wanted to do as a child.

TS: Does this rhythm help you with acting as well?

MA: Yes definitely, your body is your instrument in acting and jaise aap guitar ko tune karte ho waise hi you have to tune your body for acting. So riyaaz karna padhta hai, and music helps a lot. When you are in music you need that discipline. (And that comes in handy).

TS: Who would you like to work with next?

MA: Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Vishal Bhardwaj.

TS: Given an opportunity, with whom would you like to work first – Ranbir Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Vicky Kaushal and Ayushmann Khurrana

MA: Ranbir Kapoor. Then everyone else.

TS: What do you like most about Ranbir?

MA: I love him as an actor. When I met him, he was like ‘Hey! You’re playing Jughead!’ and then he hugged me and then Alia came and she was like ‘Why are you hugging Mihir so hard, leave the poor kid alone.’ And Ranbir was like, ‘Jughead is my favourite character. Leave us alone’. So, we kept hugging!

TS: Any female actor you want to work with next?

MA: Alia Bhatt. I love her performances. Also Shraddha Kapoor.

TS: Awesome. Here’s wishing your dreams come true.

Follow Mihir Ahuja here

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Torsha Sen
Torsha Sen
A seasoned journalist who observes passage of time and uses tenses that contain simple past, continuous present, and a future perfect to weave stories.

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