In his Bollywood debut (Student Of The Year; 2012), Varun Dhawan came across as a boy-next-door, apt for candyfloss cinema. But in just three years, the young actor has shown his seriousness towards his craft by pulling off a dark character in his latest release, Badlapur.
Following his own philosophy of ‘going against the tide’, Varun, who is just four-films old, is sure about the kinds of roles he wants to do. "I’ve always been a bit of a rebel. I didn’t want to play a negative character for the sake of it. I wanted to get deep into it. Badlapur gave me the perfect chance," he says.
But this wasn’t the first time that he took a risk. "Many people questioned my decision to do a masala film like Main Tera Hero (2014), and then Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014) with a new director (Shashank Khaitan). But, they both worked," says the actor, adding that a lot of people warned him against signing Badlapur too. "People asked me, ‘Why are you working with Sriram (Raghavan; director) and Dinesh (Vijan; producer)? They’re a failed pair.’ But I saw a hunger in them to make a good film, which I didn’t see in anyone else," he adds.
Having proved his point and merit, Varun wants to keep up the momentum. But for now, he is just enjoying all the praise. "It’s been the craziest week of my film life because the type of appreciation this film has got is unprecedented. I’m shocked. I always felt that the youth of this country is ready to watch such films, but to accept it in this manner shows that the audience actually wants to see stuff like this," says Varun.
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While he was confident about playing an atypical hero, he admits that even his father, comedy director David Dhawan, was apprehensive. "But, now they’re happy that I’ve been able to pull it off," he says.
Presently, the actor has a lot on his plate. While he has been reportedly roped in by director Rohit Shetty for his next, which also stars Shah Rukh Khan, his 3D dance film with Shraddha Kapoor is also on the floors and is set to release this year.
Despite having his hands full with multiple projects, does he still harbour a sense of competition with his contemporaries? "I don’t keep track of anyone else’s work," says Varun, adding, "I’m going to have three releases this year, and last year I had two. So, while most of my contemporaries have been doing one movie at a time, I’ve been working non-stop. Having said that, I feel happy when someone’s film does well."
Coming back to his recent release, apart from his own performance, Varun says that he was also excited about sharing screen space with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who is known for his stellar performances. "I have said this earlier, too — this is a two-hero film. Nawaz has been really sweet and supportive," says the actor, not forgetting to show his gratitude towards the women in the film too. "I’m also grateful to the female actors. It was a great risk for them to do this project. They’ve been bold and beautiful, so I’m very thankful to Yami (Gautam), Radhika (Apte), Divya (Dutta) and Huma (Qureshi)," adds Varun.