He calls himself a “passionate” actor. It not only comes across on screen, but also when he is promoting his movies. “I want to be happy after doing a film,” says Varun Dhawan, as he talks about his career, personal life and his new film, Badrinath Ki Dulhania, amongst other things.
Do you think you are in a good space in your career?
I am always excited to be an actor. If I wasn’t, I would be acting, and the audience wouldn’t watch me. If you aren’t excited about doing something, it comes across. I am passionate about cinema in general. Eventually, I am making films for people to watch and enjoy, but somewhere, I have to be satisfied too. I want to be happy after doing a film. Especially, Badrinath Ki Dulhania is like a must-win cricket match ki isko toh jeetna hi hai. The feeling was similar when Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014) released. We were the underdogs, but it did well due to all the love that we got. But now, the expectations are more. I can safely say that since Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Dharma Productions hasn’t made such an ‘Indian family-friendly’ film.
You have been called the new age Govinda for a while now. Are you tired of it?
I am not tired of anything, because the people who write all these things don’t understand that there’s a whole new generation out there. Youngsters who are 15-16 years old haven’t seen old films. So, they see me as Varun Dhawan, and not anything else.
Watch Badrinath Ki Dulhania - Official Trailer
Rumours about you and Alia keep cropping up. It happened during the shooting of Badrinath Ki Dulhania with her as well…
These rumours have been there since Student of the Year (2012), and they will keep coming up. It’s not in our hands. I still treat her exactly the same way. There is a lot of respect, and we care for each other, but that’s about it. We don’t look at each other in that way. I guess it’s cropping up because of the chemistry we share on screen. Now, if people are using their imagination, we can’t stop it. It also means we are acting well.
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Not many people know that you two are also called Tom and Jerry by your friends…
I think in the past few years, Alia has been trying to conduct herself in a prim and proper way, which she is in real life too. But with me, she lets go of all that. I have seen her in her true elements when she is promoting a film or doing a movie. I would want to be Jerry. Although she looks like Jerry, she is more like Tom (laughs).
Do you still get nervous before a new film’s release?
I am never chilled out. But, I am not nervous either. I just want the idea behind the film to come out in its most honest way. People should feel that I have done something different. Also, I pray that nothing (untoward) –– for instance, too much rain or any political or economic crisis –– happens in the country when my new films release. I just want peace. As for my work, I am always on the edge, as to how people will react to my film.
Watch Badri Ki Dulhania (Title Track)
Do you keep an eye on what your contemporaries are doing?
Whatever we are doing is great. And, it’s fantastic, if it’s working for them. The audience has to feel what we are doing is interesting. This idea of, ‘doing a different film’ that comes from Twitter is flummoxing. As an industry, we are losing money every year. So, we should stop listening to people on Twitter and make films that we want to. Let film-makers take a call about what films they want to do.
Does it really happen?
I feel it does, but film-makers shouldn’t do it. The kind of films we want to make should be of our choice. One has to realise that a film has to be made for the entire country. If you make films based on what people say on Twitter, how will it work? Most of the people on Twitter download a film, watch it and then share it with others. Though, it’s not Twitter’s fault.
There have been a few controversies around your Badrinath Ki Dulhania (with Alia Bhatt)…
Usually, people in the film industry think about creating new controversies. But, the people in our film’s team aren’t looking to do that. Controversies get created on their own. We don’t want controversies. I don’t want to be in the news for anything negative. Everything around us has been positive. We have worked on a very good film and let people see that.
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Your chemistry with Alia is being talked about a lot in Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Is it due to the fact that both of you are great actors or there is something more to it...
I hope people feel that we are good actors. We always discuss this. I get upset when people think we have good screen chemistry only because of the chemistry in our real lives. We work very hard for our films. We probably have great chemistry because, sometimes, two actors’ acting styles match and sometimes they don’t, which creates magic on screen. It happens naturally. It’s not something that we think about.
Is there competition between the two of you?
There is competition, but it’s very healthy, which is a good thing. A lot of the friction and fights that people will see in the film are real. We both would get irritated with each other, but in a loving manner.
Last year, there were talks that Natasha Dalal (his alleged girlfriend) was upset with the rumours about you and Alia…
Honestly, nothing of that sort ever happened. Things have always been fun and easy. My personal life has never been affected because of my professional life. You have to learn that it’s all part and parcel of life and the profession. After so many years in the industry, I have learnt that. I don’t take any of it seriously. Especially, with the advent of social media, anyone can write anything. You can’t trust or get affected with such stuff.
But these reports are all over the place…
Yes, it makes for an interesting read. And that’s the reason it spreads fast.
There are also rumours that Natasha and you are now more open about your relationship…
The only reason I don’t talk about her is because I don’t want to be in the news for my relationship. I think none of the actors want to. I am fond of Shahid (Kapoor). I was invited by him and his wife (Mira), so I obviously wanted to go. And it’s a personal outing, so I don’t think people need to read more into it. When I am in a space where I want to reveal more about my personal life, I will do that.
Do you feel the constant spotlight on your personal life takes away a lot of fun?
Yes, it does. Due to this people’s attention gets diverted from what I am doing (professionally). But, you got to live and enjoy your life too. So, let’s not stop living your life. I am doing the same. I’ve never stopped doing something because I feel the press would be there. I have done a lot of things (laughs) but there is no proof.
You have bought a new house, which has led to speculation that you are thinking of marriage now...
Everyone buys houses. It doesn’t have to be related to marriage. I said the same thing three years back and I am sticking to it. If someone reads my previous interviews, they will find the same thing. The day I am going to take a serious step towards marriage, I will announce it to the world. So, no, I am not thinking of it now.