Varun Dhawan has had a rollicking career ever since his debut, Student of The Year (2012). And after a number of professional milestones over the past five years, the actor is set to hit another one on April 24, albeit a personal one: it’s his 30th birthday. The actor, who is shooting for Judwaa 2 with his father, director David Dhawan, in London, UK, says “it’s a boring life right now”. “I am on a set mode nowadays — eat, sleep, work out, shoot, and keep repeating the same ritual every day,” says the Badrinath Ki Dulhania (BKD) actor, as he talks about his career, birthdays, media attention, and more.
Has it dawned on you that you are going to turn 30?
I’m not feeling anything. People around me are making it into a very big deal, and telling me, ‘oh, you are 30 now, you are grown up’ and all of that. Honestly, I feel like I am still little (laughs). Maybe, it’s because my parents and my brother (Rohit Dhawan) still treat me like a kid. My friends still treat me the way they used to when I was in school. Karan (Johar) still laughs at me whenever I talk to him. So, he is exactly the same with me. I can project being this mature guy who is successful now, but fortunately, I am not that person. I still have a lot of growing up to do. I still enjoy the simple things that I have always enjoyed. I don’t want to… I’m scared of growing up.
Let me put is like this: it’s nice not knowing the harsh realities of the world.
What are your birthday plans?
There are none. My dad has planned an entire day of shooting for me. That’s what he has planned, so there are no days off. In the entire schedule of 40 days (in London), there are only two to three days off, so it’s a very hectic schedule, and I am shooting every day.
Like your other movies, BKD also hit the bullseye at the box office. It seems like you can read the pulse of the masses…
I am choosing films only to entertain people, but at the same time, if someone is putting their money into my films, I want that person to make money. Main kyu chahunga ki uska ghar baar bik jaye? (Why would I want them to be forced to sell their house?). When I was growing up, I heard horror stories about producers losing their houses overnight. No matter who the family is, hearing of them getting evicted is very sad. It’s horrible to hear that, ‘ek film nahi chali uski wajah se this happened to a family’ (A film wasn’t successful, so this happened to a family).
Is it due to the fact that your father has been a part of the industry for many years now?
Maybe, yes. But these things had a very deep impact on me during my childhood. So when I became an actor, I was like, ‘If I do a film, let me make sure that the budget and the film is safe, and let me make sure that the person investing in it shouldn’t lose money and he should get back his money’. Why should anyone lose money? And even if they lose something, I should not be the reason why that happened.
Your performance in Badrinath Ki Dulhania (BKD) received a lot of appreciation. Were you expecting it?
I was keen to see how people in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan will react to it because the film is set in those places. And I was a little skeptical about how people in cities such as Mumbai and Delhi will react to a subject like dowry in today’s day and age. It’s fascinating to see how everyone has embraced it and understood the message. They loved the characters and the pairing [of Alia Bhatt and him]. So, all of it came together well. Karan (Johar; producer) is happy and I think his twins have brought all of us a lot of luck (smiles).
After nearly five years in the industry, what’s of paramount importance for you — awards, money or appreciation?
Nothing but the audience. I had said this on day one. For me, the driving force is the audience, and the day that stops, I will stop doing films. The day a part of me stops feeling like putting a smile on someone else’s face or if I feel like I don’t want to entertain anymore, then I will pack up and leave. I love cinema and creating new things but essentially I am creating all this because I want people to see it. The joy is when, sab log saath mein dekhein and enjoy kerein (when everyone watches and enjoys my films together).
Do you ever feel pressurised due to people’s expectations?
There was a lot of chatter going on after BKD. But I kind of cut off for a bit. Before leaving for the London (UK) schedule of Judwaa 2, I cut myself off from everybody and everything so that I could only concentrate on my work. Eventually, as an actor, your primary job is to act well and do well in what you have been asked to do, and not hear what people are saying. Now, I don’t want to hear what people are expecting from me. I would rather concentrate on the work that I am doing.
You have proved yourself in a variety of roles till now. Do you keep that in mind while signing new films?
I know I have to work hard and give it my all. I am not really thinking about all these things. Initially, I was forced to think that way because I need to change people’s perception, justify why you are here, and why they [the audience] should go watch your films. But now, I believe people want to be entertained when they go to the cinemas. They don’t care about anything else. Doing films for people is my only motto.
Has the constant focus on your personal life ever angered you?
Not really, unless there’s something written about my family. That irritates me. Otherwise, it doesn’t. Link-ups and all are part-and-parcel of our job. It was happening even before I became an actor. So, that’s okay. It doesn’t irritate or anger me.
For instance, it was written that you went for a vacation with Natasha Dalal (alleged girlfriend) to Bangkok…
I had gone to Bangkok to shoot for an ad. Now, what can I do about that [the stories]? Jisko jo likhna hai who likhega (People will write what they want to).
You will soon team up with Shoojit Sircar. Are you excited?
Yes, I am very excited. That’s something I am looking forward to. Kya pata kya hoga (who knows what will happen). But it’s exciting to know that I will work with him. He is an incredible film-maker, so it’s a big opportunity for me.