You meet him and you cannot escape from the charm he carries on his shoulder. But don’t mistake him for just being a bundle of joy, he has a completely sorted head on his shoulders with his feet on the ground. I meet up with Varun Dhawan ahead of his film’s release and discuss the whys and hows of maintaining the jazz around the “Dulhania” franchise.
Recalling the first part in the “Dulhania” franchise, he feels, “Humpty Sharma was a hit because it had a lot of heart, people connected with the purity of that love story and that was the idea behind Badrinath Ki Dulhania as well. People are liking it because of the emotional connect of both the characters in the film.”
But more often than not what happens when a second part comes out, the promotions pull down the actual content that the film is based on. Did you ever have to cross that off your worry list? “I’ll share one thing with you, it took a year and a half to come up with Badrinath Ki Dulhania. We did not settle for just anything. Honesty, Alia and I are in a strong place in our careers and we know that we will not do a film just for the sake of it, no matter who is making it. We share a very comfortable relationship with Karan Johar. If we don’t like something, we can say no to him. He has kept that option open. But Karan will never offer us anything that is not good enough.”
Karan Johar is often antagonized for glorifying first world problems and not connecting with the heartland. But Varun feels that Shashank Khaitan (Director) brings a fresh wave in the Dharma Productions office because he hails from a small town and is well aware of most of the existential crisis people face there. He continues, “his way of seeing romance is very different from the way an urban person like me would see it. I had a lot of disagreements because I am born and brought up in Mumbai. It was very difficult to get the accent of my character right. The director sat with me for two months and held my finger through each and everything. The full credit goes to him. I have really worked hard on my voice modulation. Shashank basically removed the Varun out of me in this film. Most love stories done by Dharma Productions are very urban. I feel after Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, this is their next family love story. You know Karan always jokes with me and says that ‘Badri is Dharma’s Rajshri film’. Most of the problems here are the typical Indian problems, which we face on a regular basis.” In the middle of all the hullabaloo, I met with Karan Johar and discussed how he is quite excited to take this style of filmmaking forward when the actors remain the same but the situation around them keeps changing…”
So, are you aware of the third part in the Dulhania series? Spill the beans, right here! “Honestly, it’s not in my hands.” Not believing this at all, but won’t poke in more. We’ll wait and watch! There’s more fun in it that way.
Speaking of fun and games, Alia and you have been best buds for a long time. He smiles and says,” “She likes to make sure that everything is perfect. We had to re-shoot a scene because she wasn’t happy with her performance. We had shot it long back but when she saw it, she felt she could do better. And I agreed with her. She always wants to make sure she puts her best foot forward. I’m happy that she is doing a film that I am in. If she is good, my film is good.” Followed by a lot of grins and smirks, he tells me… “ that is the truth. I’ll tell you more, we share a great relationship and a comfort level off-screen. It translates on screen. I would like to give credit to both of us, that we take our jobs seriously as actors. We didn’t take things for granted and never will. We have worked hard and always rehearse with each other.”
That’s good to know… This is the best amalgamation of friendship- work life I have seen. Varun is one of those people that I like coming back to meet. That rarely happens in the business because, at the end of the day, many people stop inspiring you. But the energy he has is real and not just a put on and that is the best quality he adorns, just like a badge on his chest. In no time, he has become the voice of the generation and a heart-throb to so many teenage girls. The way he juggles a slapstick that Judwaa 2 will be, mixing it with a film at Shoojit Sircar’s helm, is as different as chalk and cheese but he knows he can do it… and with a smile on his face.
After so many compliments, he being the humble man that he is, thanks me and further says, “You know, the media has been really sweet to me for the goof-ups I have had in public. I had to work hard to make people believe that I am good in what I do. I am glad they have given a chance because many don’t get it. Years ago, I remember watching Judwaa in the theaters and remember meeting Salman Khan for the first time. The only advice Salman has given me for Judwaa 2 is to listen to my dad and don’t be over-smart! and I will follow that… Coming to Shoojit Sircar, the film is a love story which I am jumping with joy about.” An honest man goes a long way and that’s a quality that will take Varun a long way. Till we meet him again, I am Tamma Tamma-ing away to glory and hoping he never stops surprising us. Atta Boy!
This interview was first published on Bollywood Film Fame Magazine