At 29, Varun Dhawan is at the top of his game, having understood that the audience no longer appreciates the same, stereotypical performances. He isn’t worried about disappoint ing his fans and doesn’t try to play safe. He surprises with a dark Badlapur and will next be seen in an action-packed Dishoom, written and directed by brother Rohit Dhawan, and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala.”People have been asking me why I’m doing another two-hero film, immediately after Dilwale (alongside Shah Rukh Khan). The fact is, the narration gave me gooseflesh and there was no way I was going to say no,” he admits. Varun plays Junaid Ansari, a small-town Indian living in Abu Dhabi in the film, which raises concerns about national security. He reminds you that in 2009, the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in Pakistan and wonders what would happen if Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma were kidnapped today? “People would go crazy, cricket is our religion!” points out the actor, who trained with an Arabic tutor and studied Islam in-depth to play this `reluctant hero’, who goes from becoming a boy to a man, convincingly.
He’s candid enough to admit that he couldn’t fake a single emotion this time, since, his brother knows him too well. “He told me he didn’t want me to be over-smart, in fact, he didn’t want to see `Varun Dhawan’ on his set because he saw him every day at home. He wanted the rookie cop. His brief was clear and he pushed me to deliver my 100 per cent,” reveals Dhawan Junior.
The fall-out of this was that after pack-up the brothers stopped interacting, even speaking. “I’d go out to dinner with my bhabhi (Jaanvi Dhawan) who was also in Abu Dhabi.For 40 days, I ceased to be a brother because I needed to be an actor,” Varun reasons.
He will also be moving out of his Juhu family home.”My brother is married and he’s going to have kids soon. There are too many clothes here, too many things. This house is bursting at the seams. As you grow older, you want a place that’s bare, that’s yours. But I’ll be back for my favourite meals,” he winks like a true Punjabi.
After Dishoom releases on July 29, Varun takes off on a multi-city, month-long Dream Team tour of the US in August, with mentor Karan Johar and an ensemble of actors. “I’ll be performing for a live audience outside India, that’s a difficult market to win,” he muses.
Once he returns, he will kick-start the second schedule of Shashank Khaitan’s Badrinath Ki Dulhania in October, a sequel to the 2014 comedy, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. Buzz is, his co-star Alia Bhatt, her steady beau Sidharth Malhotra and Varun had a major tiff over her reuniting with him professionally and all is not well with the `Students’. Steering clear of controversy, Varun says, “We always knew this film was happening.The title was not locked until this year, but the script was being worked on since last year. When Dharma Productions makes a love story with Alia and me back together, it is bound to be one of the best. But the story, characters and set-up are completely different this time and people will be surprised.”
After that he’ll get busy with another sequel, Judwaa 2, with director-dad David Dhawan. “We will begin mid-2017,” says Varun, but adds that besides these two films he has turned down every other offer and is not doing Dil 2.
“Every day I’m cast in a new sequel. How can one person do so many sequels?” he says exasperatedly. Prod him on the biopic on Indian shooter and Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra, and he says, “Everybody is making biopics.I’m not doing the Abhinav Bindra biopic. More than a biopic, I’m keen to do a fleshed-out, meaty role. I’m still the clean-shaven chikna who is doing college romances. I still feel like a college student, because directors keep taking me back to college. But I have different facets to my personality, all of them thoroughly entertaining. I hope someone taps them all,” he says hopefully, looking towards the distant horizon
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