The son is a young film star and the father is a celebrated Bollywood director. But when you look at Varun Dhawan and his dad, David Dhawan, their warmth and care cannot be missed. For instance, while Varun helped his father choose the right look for our exclusive photo shoot, the senior director suggested Varun the right postures. Amidst a lot of fun and banter, the Dhawans got candid about their bond and what Father’s Day (June 19) means to them.
What does Father’s Day mean to you?
* Varun: I don’t think you need a particular day to dedicate to your dad, or to make your father or parents feel special. A child should make his or her parents feel special every day and vice versa.
* David: Mujhe toh kabhi yeh din samajh nahi aaya (I’ve never understood the importance of this day). It’s like any other day. I feel as a father and son, our equation should be such that we sense each other’s problems without even saying anything.
Varun, is he a strict father, or a lenient one?
* Varun: He is not strict at all. He is more of a friend. For instance, when I make a mistake, he will say, “Yaar tune mere saath aise kiya (You did this to me),” like a friend would say. He has given me everything. He says, “Do whatever you like, enjoy your life, and then learn for yourself.” But he gets strict if he has to (smiles).
* David: I have to keep my eyes open. He is in a khatarnak (dangerous) place (B-Town). I have been here for 40 years. But yes, I do tell him you have to look good, so you need a good sleep. You can’t have late nights all the time. Workwise, he can do better. He’ll get better directors, and things are happening. He has always shone bright in his films, but, most importantly, his passion should not fade. God had given him a sense of music and dance, and all big actors have it.
David, since you were busy making films when he was growing up, did you get to spend enough time with Varun?
* David: Not really. I tried, but I was mostly abroad. But I used to take them (family) whenever I could. I never realised when he grew, when he went to college… I didn’t even know that Lali (Varun’s mother) took him for admissions.
* Varun (to David): You didn’t even know when I passed the 10th standard.
* Varun: When I passed, he asked me, “Oh, you passed?”
* David: I used to be scared. I was like yaar yeh bada kyun nahin ho raha hai (why isn’t he becoming mature)?
Why were you worried?
* David: As a father, you tend to feel like that, especially since Rohit (Varun’s older brother) was a serious child. Varun would always play with his friends and would even walk into the glass door at home.
* Varun: I was a kid at that time (smiles).
David, how do you react to reports about Varun’s personal life?
* David: I don’t react. He is young and quite popular among the youth. So, such things (rumours about personal life) are bound to happen.
* Varun: But he knows the truth (smiles).
* David: And if he wants to share something, he can come home and tell his mother straightaway.
David, how has Varun been as a son?
* David: Shuru se hi natkhat tha. He has a middle-class attitude. He was never like, “I need this and that as well.”
Varun (to David): That’s because your attitude was like that.
* David (to Varun): It’s not good to fly for a while and then fall. One should live normal in life. Varun is grounded and emotional. Plus, he has been pampered a lot, especially by his mother. Sometimes, I feel if he wasn’t an actor, what would he have become?
What would you have done Varun?
* Varun: I would have struggled (smiles). After finishing my business administration course, I had gone to look for a job in a multinational bank, but the interviewee said that I should become an actor.
* David: Even as a child, he used to be lost in his own thoughts. He has never troubled us. He is focused; even I used to be like that.
* Varun: This is exactly what I have grown up seeing (taking work seriously). Whether you work with your family or someone from outside, you can’t take the audience for granted. This is something I’ve learnt from him.
* David: When I heard that Varun was doing Badlapur (2015), I was a little scared, but he had conviction. I always tell him to follow his conviction.
Varun, did you ever feel any pressure of being David Dhawan’s son?
* Varun: Never.
* David: He got his first film (Student Of The Year; 2012) on his own. Everybody knows me in the industry, but one day, Karan Johar told me, “I want to cast your son in my film.” In fact, he has got all his films on his own.
* Varun: You can lie to everyone, but not to yourself. It’s not my fault that I was born in a fortunate family, and I didn’t have to struggle a lot to reach where I am. But my struggles are different. I’m not invincible. I am not picture-perfect. The reason I am here is not because of the money; if I get to entertain people and put a smile on their face, I feel content.
Varun, you said in an interview that you will get married in three years…
* Varun: My parents have never told me anything. They just tell me that ultimately, I have to get married.
* David: Yes, he can’t break that tradition. Abhi kaam hai, toh kaam karlo (You have work so focus on that right now) and get established first.
* Varun: He just wants me to be more established. Even I want to do that before taking on the responsibility of someone else. My parents are really simple people. They are not the typical Hindi film celebs who go for parties and have late nights. Even I am like that.
Both of you are working on Judwaa 2. Are you ready?
* David: Absolutely ready. But even though I have done so much work, I feel it’s my first film.
* Varun: We are getting ready. But, even I feel it’s my first film. I am dying to start working with him.