He started off his Bollywood career with a glamorous Karan Johar film — Student Of The Year (2012). But, since then, Varun Dhawan has been trying to mix things up. As he turns 29 today (April 24), we chat with him about his life, career and his thoughts on marriage.
Today, do you feel a year older or younger?
I hope a year older, because ever since I joined the industry, I have only been playing characters that are around 23-24 years, except in Badlapur (2015). So, in my head, I am still that age. But people want me to behave in a mature way. So, I hope I turn a year older (smiles).
How do you look back at your journey in the film industry?
It’s too small a journey to look back on. There are many goals that I want to achieve. It’s been great till now; my fans have been amazing, the media has been superb and, above all, God has been great to me. But, as I go ahead, things become tougher and tougher. Now, I want to do different roles, and try to push the envelope.
Watch: Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon in Manma Emotion Jaage from Dilwale
Do you think you have an advantage, since you come from a film family?
It’s an advantage as well as a disadvantage. Of course, I have a bouncing board in my father (David Dhawan; film-maker), whom I can keep going to for any number of problems. But, at the end of the day, it’s me who will give the shot. So, I am the one who has to have the conviction. I follow my heart and my instinct about films and people. I have realised one thing though — I should only work with people I like. I find it very difficult to work with people I don’t like; I can’t do that.
You are trying to tap into various genres. Is that a planned move?
Not really. I do films that I’d also like to watch as an audience member. Earlier, I would watch a lot of movies in the theatre, and that’s when I enjoyed them the most. So, I only judge any film, whether it is good or bad, by that standard (if they are liked by a large number of people). So, my next film, which is being directed by my brother (Rohit Dhawan), is coming up. And it is an action-adventure movie, a genre that I don’t think has been attempted in Bollywood before.
Watch: Varun Dhawan in Badlapur trailer
Do you get bothered when your personal life makes news?
I think it just takes away from your work sometimes. I have no issues in talking about my personal life, but I feel it takes away from my career and my characters, especially when a film is about to release. People start feeling that this is all that actors focus on. I would rather have people focus on my characters.
As you turn older, are you thinking about marriage?
I have not been thinking about it at all. I am turning older, but I don’t think I am that old or mature to get hitched. But, I would want to get married in a couple of years. Before that, I want to be able to buy a house with my own money, and also one that is close to my parents’ house. There are so many things that I need to do before I can take the responsibility of having a life partner.
Have you found a partner?
No comments (laughs).
You have been called the new-age Govinda, among other things. What’s your so-called “zone”?
I don’t have a zone. I can’t deny that I have a baby face. So, I can’t start taking on characters that I don’t suit. Naturally, I will be offered roles that suit my face. When I grow old and look mature, I will take on parts that fit my personality at the time. Of course, I will experiment [with my roles] and will take some risks too. I am probably not the youngest [among the new crop of actors]. But I look the youngest, which is a plus and a minus.
Unlike many, you are also open to working in films that have multiple heroes...
Until you work with other people, how will you grow as an artiste? I think that’s important. If I am an audience member, and I see a hero — who plays the protagonist — come out with four films in a year, I will get bored. For instance, in my brother’s film, John (Abraham) is my co-star. Since he is a bona fide action star, who better than him to learn the ropes of action from? Things become more exciting then.
You started experimenting with your films at the start of your career…
It just worked out. I couldn’t have imagined the way people reacted to Badlapur (2015) or even ABCD 2 (2015). I am trying to do films that are different from each other, even in terms of the way they look. At the end of the day, films are for posterity. Whenever you take on a movie, you should keep in mind that it will be watched [and judged] many years later too.
Do you feel the expectations from you are high now?
Actually, the expectations from me have always been a lot, even at home. And since films like Badlapur and ABCD 2 did well, the pressure is even more now. Now, people wait to see what I do next. A lot of people must be waiting for me to fail too (smiles).
Do you feel pressurised, looking at the competition around you?
In terms of the films [my contemporaries are doing], I get more inspired. When I see movies like Kapoor & Sons and Piku (2015), I get kicked about doing good films. But, I guess, I tilt a little bit more towards the darker side when it comes to film choices; that’s what I like. I am a little extreme in that sense — either I like bright and happy cinema, or I enjoy really dark cinema that kids can’t watch.
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