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‘Learnt of Tahira’s cancer on my birthday’

Two weeks after wife Tahira Kashyap was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer, Ayushmann Khurrana is a picture of calm and restraint, as part of promotions for AndhaDhun. “She was diagnosed on my birthday [September 14],” he tells Mid-day with a sheepish smile that marks the irony of the situation.

In being detected with the Big C, Tahira found herself part of the 2.4 per cent of the population that is diagnosed before age 35. They found themselves facing two options — believe they had been dealt a rough hand, or fight it with positivity. “We had to maintain a happy life state to deal with it. In fact, after we got to know about her condition, we went to see Manmarziyaan that evening. We told ourselves, ‘Okay, we’ve been diagnosed. We can’t go home and cry about it. It’s better to go for a film.’ So, we watched the film, came back and got the date for her operation.”

During the week that his wife was hospitalised for her mastectomy, Khurrana would wrap up his work early to be by her side at night. “I went without sleep for seven days. But, we had promised ourselves that we’d maintain a positive attitude. We got to know of the cancer early. So, we decided to celebrate the silver lining.”

Tahira had spoken about how changes in her breast size had initially raised alarm for the family. “If any symptoms come up, think of it as a protective force and get yourselves examined,” she had shared in a heartfelt note, on Instagram.

Meanwhile, set to essay a blind pianist in AndhaDhun, Khurrana says he turns to his wife when he is unsure about a script. “The primary factor that makes me give [a nod] to a film is if it’s entertaining. That married with a one-liner that can describe the story, completes it.”

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