Success is a double-edged sword: Varun Dhawan says why, despite the hits, he disappoints people

ByMonika Rawal Kukreja, New Delhi
Mar 28, 2018 03:28 PM IST

The Bollywood actor talks about October, the film he really needed in his career; the pan-India mood of Sui Dhaaga; and the reunion with the ABCD gang... and through it all, the challenges of fame.

Promoting Shoojit Sircar’s October; shooting for Sharat Katariya’s Sui Dhaaga; and prepping for his next film with Remo D’Souza... actor Varun Dhawan has his hands full and is enjoying it. Just six years old in Bollywood and with a huge appetite for work, Varun says that it hasn’t been a “smooth ride” for him to reach where he stands today. At present, shooting in Delhi, the actor takes a break for a candid chat and talks about why he so desperately needed a film like October in his career, his upcoming projects, and Student of the Year 2.

Actor Varun Dhawan is currently shooting in Delhi for Sui Dhaaga with Anushka Sharma.
Actor Varun Dhawan is currently shooting in Delhi for Sui Dhaaga with Anushka Sharma.

So, you’re back in Delhi. How’s it now?

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It’s great! Last time, when I was shooting here for October, it was very cold and smog had kicked in. I had never seen something like that. Apparently, people were saying it happened last year, too, and I was like, ‘Why are we okay with something like that?’ But Delhi is like a character in [October] and Shoojitda always has different types of Delhi in his movies. We shot in Dwarka and a few portions in Connaught Place and Defence Colony, too.

You said that more than anyone else, you needed a film like October in your career. Why’s that?

As an actor, when you progress, you start chasing your career. There are goals and benchmarks for you, sometimes set by others. A lot of people asked me why am I doing this film at this stage, when I have done 100-crore budget films? But, I was looking for something very real in my career; and when I heard this story, it came from such a different space.

What moved you so much?

I kind of started thinking why I became an actor in the first place. It was not for money or fame or admiration. It was to tell stories. The emotions that you bring into a character sometimes change your mindset. October has that power. It has a very deep moral, which I hope people can relate to. I want that people — those who keep telling me that I’m a youth icon — should learn from this film, though it’s not preachy.

Six years, nine films, and not one single flop, does this ever give you a sense of entitlement?

Not at all! It’s very difficult to keep all this going. There’s no time for family or loved ones and that’s worse than anything in the world — to let down my mom or dad, because I can’t give them time; to let down any cousin who’s unwell and I’m not able to see them... that’s way more disheartening than anything else. I just feel that now, I’m not there [for them] anymore. I’m there for the public in a way, and I’m working for them and giving them what they expect. So, being successful is a double-edged sword. It’s not possible to have it all. Aakhir mein kuchh na kuchh toh kam pad hi jaata hai (After all, you do fall short somewhere). No matter how hard I try, I do end up disappointing a lot of people and I know I have to live with that.

Still, you seem to be on a constant high, with these back-to-back successes...

Really? Is this what it looks like: that everything is rosy? Even I’ve had my shares of lows. Very recently, my personal life was in a big dilemma, and I was going through a lot of other issues that took me time to come to terms with. I learned a lesson that life is too short. But, yes, as for hits, I feel blessed and lucky to have worked with the people I’ve worked with.

We heard you are in talks with Imtiaz Ali for a romantic film?

No, there’s no truth to that. I haven’t even met him or been offered anything. I’ve already announced my other films, so nothing else than that.

Your next is with Katrina Kaif — the biggest dance film. Is that the third instalment in the ABCD franchise?

This is the third time, after Remo made two dance films, that he’s making this, and the entire ABCD gang will be in the film as well. We’ll announce the title of the film soon by the end of the year.

Sui Dhaaga looks very different from the body of work you’ve done. How’s it going so far?

It’s a pan-India film with lots of humour and music. Sharat’s take on commercial cinema is very different from [that of] others. But it’s a very tough film and physically very challenging, as a lot of practice went into preparing for our roles. But, I found a good partner in Anushka [Sharma] and we both have really relied on each other.

Student of the Year, your debut film, is set to have a sequel, and Tiger Shroff is in the lead. Are you happy?

It feels great. I think for almost five years in my career, I was only in college and people literally thought, ‘Arrey yaar, yeh to student hi hai (Oh man, he’s always a student).’ Finally, now that Tiger is doing the role, people will think that I’ve graduated! But yeah, SOTY is always going to be known by [the names of] Karan Johar and the three actors he launched. As a franchise, I’m glad it’s moving forward.

Interact with Monika Rawal Kukreja at Twitter/@monikarawal

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