Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR
There’s been this void perhaps in Hindi cinema when it comes to a great comic actor for a while now, after we’ve had some iconic actors in that space earlier. But here’s Varun Sharma, who now seems to fill in that void and how! It’s been commendable on his part to shine in all the films he’s been a part of and make a mark for himself so soon! His next is the recently released ‘Chhichhore’ which is getting some great response from all over. We catch up with the ‘Fukrey’ actor to talk about this film and more…
The feedback for ‘Chhichhore’ has been so good, but what did you think of the film when you read it?
I was obviously very excited. As an actor, I’m a huge admirer of Nitesh sir’s body of work – whether it’s ‘Chillar Party’ or ‘Bhootnath Returns’ or ‘Dangal’. And to add to that, this film is being back by Sajid Nadiadwala sir. For any actor, it is a dream to be in this film. On top of that, the script is so relatable and nice that immediately we jumped into it and started the process. There’s a beautiful message in the film. For me, it’s one of the most soulful films told in the most entertaining manner. It will make you laugh, cry, introspect and make you feel a lot of things. When I saw the film for the first time, my family saw it for the first time – we realised that it’s one of those films which stays with you for a very long time.
So what is it that you had to work on, for your character?
For me, one of the things which came easier to understand was that I’ve myself studied in the boarding school. I’ve lived that life and so I could add those nuances. The most interesting thing was to play the middle age of your own self. This is the first time I’m playing a 45 year old and I saw myself looking like that. Your body, your thinking changes with age. There’s a maturity which comes in. For me, to go into that and live that for those many days that we were shooting – that was the most fun part!
Nitesh Tiwari has such a varied body of work and his style of film-making. So, what was his brief to you and how was it getting into his mould?
His process is beautiful. It’s the calmest process I have been a part of. We used to read a lot before we went on floor. We used to discuss so much and just have fun while doing that. We did that for two months and then when I went on the sets, I wasn’t Varun. I went on the sets only as Sexa. Then when we had to go into the middle-age part, we just didn’t jump. He gave us two-three months to prepare for it and go into that thinking. The process and prep was so strong and everything done in the film is with so much honesty that it reflects on-screen.
You’ve got ‘Chhichhore’ for the audience, after something as unique as a ‘Khandani Shafakhana’ which got its own share of appreciation. How has that been?
It’s beautiful. As actors, we get to live so many different lives in one life so for us to shuffle between one character to another – the journey is beautiful. For me also, Bhooshit was a beautiful character, I got to learn a lot from it. Sexa again was such a unique character from which I learnt as well. Every character is very personal and close to me as an actor.
How confident have you got, over the years, after working with the great actors and directors you’ve worked with?
Experience teaches you so much. I was 23 when I started with my career and now it’s been about six years. I’ve evolved as a person and I choose to believe, I’ve become wiser. But I hope the kid in me doesn’t go away. The innocence in me doesn’t fade. I want to enjoy it as much as I can.
Do you think it’s this innocence which has connected with people ever since ‘Fukrey’ and made you strike that relatability with the audience?
I feel blessed and happy that there is this connect with the audience. The amount of acceptance and love I’ve got, makes me feel grateful. Now that they’ve accepted me beautifully, it’s my responsibility to keep them happy on a larger scale with every film. The notch keeps getting higher so the pressure is obviously there. So, I hope I keep living up to it.
You’ve done theatre earlier and a lot of serious roles perhaps, as opposed to your comic actor image now. I believe, you might, want to get back to the former now!
I never thought I could make anyone smile or laugh. But I think, destiny had that for me with ‘Fukrey’. That genre became the front runner for me. I’ve enjoyed the process all these years. And of course, I want to do something that’s different. That’s why you want to be an actor.
Tell us about your line-up of upcoming films.
So there’s ‘Chhichhore’ which has just released and then I’m shooting for ‘Roohi-Afza’ produced by Dinesh Vijan and Mrigdeep Singh Lamba. It has me alongside Rajkummar Rao and Jahnvi Kapoor, directed by Hardik Mehta.