Monday, February 23, 2015

Varun Dhawan

“I feel more confident now”

By Ankita R. Kanabar

(This interview has been published in the February 21, 2015 issue of Super Cinema)

On one hand while Varun Dhawan exudes star-like quality, on the other, he’s just like any other guy in his 20s with no air about himself. Fun, full of life, yet equally focused. These days though, he’s a bit in his ‘Badlapur’ avatar, displaying some shades of the ‘angry young man’. Ask if he has lost some weight, as he enters in a simple black t-shirt and a pair of jeans, and he laughs, “It’s because of the dancing for ‘ABCD 2’.” In between several other promotional activities and a shoot to go back to, Dhawan settles down for a quick chat, fending most questions with quick and precise responses. Excerpts:

Is it true that everyone from your family was against you doing ‘Badlapur’ initially?
Yes, my father was a bit scared when I signed the film, but he’s happy now. At the end of the day, he’s a film-maker so he understands a character and the intensity of a film. He obviously knew that the film was really hard-hitting. My elder brother really encouraged me to do it. And I’d like to say that the media really has supported the film a lot. When the first promo came out, I didn’t expect such a response. This is a very small, low-budget film. It’s made under Rs. 25 crore, it’s actually my lowest budget film, but people have supported it in such a big way, ever since the promo came out. I think there’s more acceptance now from the audience for films with such kind of themes.

Despite the initial apprehension, what was it about ‘Badlapur’ that made you do it?
We haven’t seen a film like that in recent times. First of all, it’s Sriram Raghavan’s film, and he makes films with a very different tone. I react more to stories and the connection I form with the director. I always thought Sriram was a good director and the story was very good. It has that common man connect, and I thought every common man would relate to it. Sometimes the audience feels that their intelligence is insulted. And as an actor, I want to cater to the audience of various age groups, so it’s important to do different kinds of films.

But, it also must have been one of your most challenging films, mentally, emotionally?
It was very tough because I’m not this guy at all. I’ve usually become what my character was in my other films. But Raghu, I’m nowhere close to, and I don’t even wish to become anything like that. I don’t get angry so easily, so to get that angst was difficult. Just understanding that someone can actually go through so much pain, and actually experiencing that kind of pain was really difficult. I had to really go deep into that zone. I played a father for the first time, which was also an extremely emotional experience for me.

Getting into that zone might have taken a while…
A lot of preparations went into it. Sriram Raghavan had planned it all. We shot in Igatpuri and they had purposely kept me there all through, just so I’m in my character. There was no place to roam around, the area was pretty secluded and at times there was no electricity. I went through that kind of process for the first time, so it really affected me. Sriram told everyone not to speak to me, and he himself talks very less. So, I was all by myself. When I sign a film, the beginning process of discussions and workshops, is not something I’d like to miss. There are a lot of inhibitions if you don’t understand your character well. For ‘Badlapur’, we spent around eight months for the preparations.

Because the story is so hard-hitting, and you were so involved, did it affect you? What do you take back from this film?
I usually don’t get affected but with this film it happened to me. It has made me more serious in life, which I don’t like myself to be. Now I think I’ll probably have to do one or two comedies (laughs). Obviously it’s fun to make people laugh, and when you’re doing a comedy film, you’re also in that happy zone. A serious film like this makes you serious. But I think, my family, and then of course, getting into the preparations for ‘ABCD 2’ helped me get out of it. What I take back from this film, is the realisation that family means everything to me. If I had to even imagine my life without my family, it would be a bit too much for me.

Have you developed a method or process thus far?
For me, the acting process changes from director to director. Karan Johar is different from a David Dhawan, and Sriram Raghavan is completely opposite. I try to follow the process which the director follows. So, it keeps changing, as per the director’s style, more than the genre even.

Has your confidence level gone up along the way because, picking up a film like ‘Badlapur’ in the initial few years of your career does require confidence?
Definitely, I feel more confident. But more than confidence, it’s important that you find connect with the audience. Once that increases, you feel that everything you’re doing is connected to them. Many people said that doing a film like ‘Badlapur’ is a risk, but the only reason I did it, is because somewhere I feel connected with the audience, and I believed the audience would also like to see me doing something like that.

How else do you think you’ve evolved?
I’ve learnt to disconnect now when I’m not shooting. I’ve also learnt to disconnect from the technical process. When you’re doing films which are action-oriented, or gimmicky then you need to be aware of the technical aspects, but when there are emotions involved, you have to forget the techniques. So, over time I’ve realised that I’ve had to unlearn a lot of things.

And how was it straight away jumping on to ‘ABCD 2’ from ‘Badlapur’?
Very difficult, but luckily with ‘ABCD 2’, we started the shoot with two songs, so I just had to learn the dance form. And slowly of course, with the music I got into the groove. Like I said, ‘ABCD 2’ was actually like a rehab for me after ‘Badlapur’. I signed it because it is all about dance, in fact, dance in 3D, so the shooting style was completely different and new for me. There has to be at least one new angle to a film, for me to do it.

Of course, one is physically demanding, while the other emotionally and mentally. What’s more difficult?
I think both. When I did ‘ABCD 2’, I thought it’ll be very easy, but it’s actually very difficult because the dancing is so different. Both have their own set of challenges.

What’s next for you?
I’ll soon be starting with my brother’s film ‘Dhishoom’ with John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez.

No comments:

Post a Comment