Interview By: DEVANSHEE SINGH
Varun Dhawan is the only one among the young brigade of actors whose every film has been a hit. He is loved by all kinds of audience whether it’s single screen or multiplex audience. His latest, ‘Dhishoom’ released this Friday, in which he is sharing screen space with John Abraham. We had a nice interaction with Varun, where he talked about the film, his evolution and experiences as an actor and much more.
“I feel ‘Dishoom’ is a film which has brain and a heart”
How was the experience of doing an action film like ‘Dhishoom’?
It’s very cool. I think where action is concerned, this film is called ‘Dishoom’ but Dishoom doesn’t only mean punching somewhere, it can happen in many other ways. It can be a mind game that someone plays. For instance, Wagah, the Akshaye Khanna’s character plays lot of mind games with Kabir and Junaid. The action sequences were designed and storyboarded months in advance to executing them. They were very risky because the type of infrastructure you need to do them, we had to go to Morocco and Abu Dhabi. There is a bike sequence which was very scary for especially Jacqueline and me because I am in the middle of two bikes, one is John driving and other is Rahul Dev and I am catching Jacqueline in the middle. So, if I drop Jacqueline, she could have fallen and we were riding under a cave really. It was little dicey at that point. So, it was not even about my own safety, though I could have also got hurt, but if I got hurt, even she would have got hurt. I trained alot for a speed boat sequence in Abu Dhabi. Then there is helicopter sequence, which we all have spoken so much about. That was probably the most dangerous thing I have ever done or even John’s done ever.
Do you think that with every film you have to go that extra mile to make it special?
See, every film has to have something extra today, it has to have something important but I think the most important thing in a film is emotion and if that emotion connects, Kabir and Junaid’s camaraderie and cop work connects with people, then I think ‘Dishoom’ will click with people then. I am playing a cop for the first time and I really respect the armed forces and the Military, playing a character like that was a big responsibility and trying to understand the psyche of a police man who are from Middle east or Arab is very different from our Policeman in that sense. So, that was a challenge as well. The emotion is the same when they are doing their work.
Did you meet anyone to prepare for your character to make it more real?
I got very close to my driver over there. He was a 65 year old man from Islamabad and he has been away from his country from so many years. I am playing the character of Junaid Ansari, who is away from India from so many years and I was trying to portray that. It was difficult because I have not been away from home. I was trying to understand my driver’s psyche. I had a coach to train me for Arabic for 20 days but rest of the days I trained with my driver. I actually got pretty close to him. I was discovering Abu Dhabi through his eyes, he use to take me out. He used to tell me about culture and people. That was kind of my research and ground work.
Your brother has directed the film, how was the tuning with him on this professional level?
It was very good and fruitful I would say because the subject we deal with is serious, 36 hours to get India’s top batsman back. We all had to be very serious about this because there is an important person missing, and how we get him back. So, every time I was on set, Rohit was like “You are Junaid Ansari, You are not Varun Dhawan. You are Junaid Ansari.” I had to really believe that. Post pack-up, me and Rohit would not speak actually. Like he would go to do his own thing and I would go to do mine. We didn’t have connection because I couldn’t be his brother on set, I have to be Junaid Ansari. I think that was my mind set throughout this film.
Do you think stardom comes with a price?
Definitely, it’s not easy being perfect or projecting that. I never did that. It does come with a price. All the stunts we do, it’s not easy to be able to suddenly get up every morning and put your life on risk for doing these stunts. Promotions are too stressful for everyone; I know actors don’t enjoy it. But I love my film, that’s why I am okay with it. I am like let’s go out there and put it. With every film, you are putting all on line. For me, my film is most special film releasing in India during that period and if I only don’t believe that then people won’t. The price is that my whole concentration only goes on the film. There is no time for personal life or anything else.
From the audience’s perspective, do you think the industry is so competitive that an actor has to go an extra mile with every movie he does?
I think so. More than the audience, I think it is even the media. Sometimes I think there is very thin line between audience and media which we forget to see. Definitely, if an actor does that extra bit then people will be like let’s watch out because he has done this or that. I see a lot of people and even the media, they talk a lot about helicopter sequence because it’s something unique. They won’t discuss or celebrate the comedy or timings because probably they have seen me doing that but they will pick on this action scene thing more. This is something new I am doing. So, anything new or risk taken I think people will appreciate more but having said that old thing always work like emotions. I think crux of the film is me and John’s relationship, if that comes across very nicely, it will be very enjoyable for people to watch. That’s a very old school buddy emotion and I think friendship is something has worked, will work and always will work because as human beings we are always going to have that as long as we live.
How do you think you’ve grown as an actor?
This is something that audience has to say, but I feel I am calmer now than what I was. I think I was just an energy ball, bouncing off the walls when I started. Now, I try to understand the screenplay and emotion. Also I try to stay within the framework of the character and then do my scenes. There is always a restlessness and need to improvise, that is my instinct as an actor to react and try different things.
What are the things that prompt you to say yes to any film?
The plot of the film is the most important thing. ‘Dishoom’ has issue of kidnapping of India’s top cricketer and I am in charge of getting him back. That was really interesting. Plus the character has some goal, I know I am playing a boy but at the end of the film people will feel I am a man because of things I am doing. There were so many things to do in it. There were three different types of songs and different kinds of styles I could do in it. I love varieties. I really get interested if something is issue based.
How difficult or easy is it for you to slip into the skin of one character from another?
It’s very difficult. Specially, after ‘Dilwale’ suddenly to play a police officer, then learn and speak another language. It really throws you off. I think the one advantage and help that I had with this film was we shot it in the Middle East. So, I was in Morocco for 40 days. When you are in the place where you are shooting then half of your work gets easier but if you are just shooting in the studio then its little difficult. You can disconnect from the character fast. I was in Abu Dhabi and Morocco, it became a routine like I live there only, I use to visit places, mosque, watch film and observe people around there. When you are 40 days in that routine, it settles down in your mind. Then you have to convince yourself that this is me now.
Your films are a good mixture of content and commercial cinema. Is that a conscious decision or it’s just coming your way?
It is a little bit of conscious decision. Consciousness wants that there is a good mix that is I do a film which is commercial but yet there is content in it. That’s why I keep stressing on the point that ‘Dishoom’ has a story in it. Sometimes if its commercial film, people will think like “Haan, ye to aese hi hoga”. But I feel it’s a film which has brain and a heart.