He is currently busy touring the US, dancing and entertaining his fans in the country. His latest film, Dishoom, released on July 29, and Varun Dhawan admits that he dealt with a “crazy amount of pressure” before the movie hit the theatres. But now, the actor is happy and relieved that the film has hit the bullseye at the box office. HT catches up with the young star, who talks about his Bollywood career and his rumoured girlfriend, designer Natasha Dalal.
Did you feel the pressure to deliver another hit, especially after Dilwale (2015) didn’t meet the audience’s expectations?
Yes, there was a crazy amount of pressure. Dilwale did well monetarily, and a certain number of people liked it too. But many felt that my performance was not up to the mark. They expected more from me, which is fair. I listen to both kinds of responses — of the people who love me, and of those who hate me. The box office is not always the correct parameter [to judge a movie]; you want the audience’s love. Dishoom is more satisfying that way, as it got the box-office earnings and the critical appreciation. I want to be a commercially bankable actor, and I also want to entertain audiences. But I want my films to be sensible and evoke a reaction.
You seem to be in a hurry to play a variety of characters…
I love switching between roles. Dishoom is my first full-on action film. I haven’t touched horror and sci-fi films. Now, I want to do something more realistic. But I am also kicked about what I am doing in Badrinath Ki Dulhania. I am nothing like that in real life. I am also looking forward to going into a dark zone. I have made audiences laugh. Now, it is time to scare them a little bit.
Do you like dark characters more?
Yes, personally, I love them the most.
But your image is that of a sweet guy…
Yes, people feel that if they cut me, chocolate will come out of me, not blood.
Do you want to prove people wrong?
I don’t want to prove anyone wrong. I know who I am. I enjoy fun, light cinema. I am not a bitter person. In fact, I am grateful to everyone. To be honest, many might say my films are making so much money. But I just want to tell people that this money is not coming to me. I am only getting the audiences’ love. Aur sabse badi cheez toh pyaar hota hai na (and the biggest achievement is being loved by the audience). I am an artiste. I will always be one. I’m here to create art.
Some time ago, you had said you won’t marry a girl from Bollywood…
I won’t comment on that because I think it’s wrong to say that. There are some lovely people in the industry. Let’s just say I have not found anyone from the Hindi film industry.
Have you found someone from outside the industry?
I hope so.
The media feels you are a protective ‘boyfriend’…
When I walked out of the airport with Jacqueline (Fernandez), they said I was being protective. If I had held John (Abraham) a little bit, they would have said, “He is protective of him.”
Watch the trailer of Dishoom here:
But are you protective of Natasha?
There is nothing like that. I am a normal guy, and she is a normal friend.
But is Natasha special?
Definitely, she is special, like the way I and everyone else is special.
You belong to a film family, and you have also seen success quite early in your career. What drives you?
I am an actor because I get to act, and not because I love the cars, the beds, five-star hotels or expensive meals. I am an actor because I get the opportunity to go out there every day, face the camera and act. The day my movies stop working, I won’t be able to act in films anymore. Maybe, I could still do it (act) as a theatre artiste, but I would never get the budget to create my vision. It is, therefore, important for my films to work. Only then will I get the opportunity to become better in my next film.
Even though you are working with Karan Johar (producer) on a new film, there were rumours that all was not well between the two of you…
That is not true. When Dishoom released, Karan was one of the most concerned people. We spoke every day. During the promotions of the movie, he discussed several things with me, and asked me to do or say things in a certain way. He also gave his opinion if he thought something was looking good or not. Karan is part of my support system.
In your last interview with HT, you said that you have learnt how to trick the media to avoid your personal life making headlines. Many of your contemporaries are facing the same issue. Would you like to give them some advice?
No, I am not going to teach anything to anyone. I am a student; I am the junior-most actor [in Bollywood]. I can’t teach them. Everyone else made their debuts before me.
Everyone, except Tiger Shroff…
I strongly believe that Tiger is brilliant. I think he is as rare as the tigers we have in our country. It is rare to see a talented actor like him. It is great that we have someone who can do martial arts like Jackie Chan.