Kartik Aaryan has frequently played Delhi-bred characters. In the upcoming comedy Luka Chuppi, Aaryan shifts gears to play a journalist from Mathura. “For the first time I play a small-town guy, and for the first time I am not playing a Delhi chap,” Aaryan told Scroll.in.

Directed by Laxman Utekar and written by Rohan Shankar, Luka Chuppi is a comedy in which Guddu Sharma (Aaryan) and Rashmi Trivedi (Kriti Sanon) pretend to be married so that they can live together. It’s all going well until their respective parents land up, forcing them to pose as husband and wife. “The film’s main element centers on the family, and it is a character-driven film,” Aaryan said.

Luka Chuppi, which also stars Pankaj Tripathi, Vinay Pathak and Aparshakti Khurana, has been produced by Dinesh Vijan’s Maddock Films, and will be released on March 1.

Luka Chuppi (2019).

Aaryan described his character as an “innocent guy” who “does only proper things”. He added, “But he often gets caught in situations, which creates a comedy of errors. It’s a complete package. I got to work with so many great actors that my acting only got better.”

Playing Guddu also required the actor to work with a new kind of speech. “While he converses in Hindi, Guddu has his own dialect, for which I trained with my coach Pankaj.”

Playing Guddu was a change for Aaryan in more ways than one. He got his break for portraying the sharp-tongued and misanthropic Rajat in Luv Ranjan’s Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011). The sleeper hit about relationships struck a chord, and Rajat’s five-minute rant about women remains popular.

The monologue is was what earned the actor his first starring role, Aaryan recalled. “I practised the monologue all day, as it was the most important audition of my life,” he said. “It was a five-and-a-half-page-long scene, without any cut. Even in the audition, I performed it without any cut and they all clapped.”

Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011).

Aaryan was stuck with representing a type of Delhi male in the films Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 (2015) and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018). Six films on, he is stuck with the Delhi tag.

“I am typically asked to play a guy from Delhi,” Aaryan observed. “Many people actually think I am from Delhi. My physicality and way of speaking might make them think so. I am not sure why, because I am from Gwalior. Pyaar Ka Punchnama was based in Delhi, and that was my start, so maybe that is why.”

Aaryan’s collaboration with Luv Ranjan has transformed his career, but the roles have been criticised for their misogyny. The intention was never to attack women, Aaryan argued. “We have so many films where we have a male villain, but in these films, we have a female villain,” he said. “We are not talking about reality or saying that the film is based on a true story. It is for entertainment value. You do have a responsibility as an actor, but we are not showing anything in bad taste.”

For his upcoming films, the actor is looking to explore characters with grey shades. “I would love to do something like Baazigar or Darr,” he said. “These are the iconic grey roles that I have grown up watching and would like to do. As an actor I would like to explore the dark zone.”

Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (2018).