Varun Dhawan: Girls have started running after me!
'It’s an emotional decision to do Main Tera Hero. My dad is 60 plus and he has directed 43 films. How much work can he do?'
'Plus, I was dying to be part of a David Dhawan film.'
Varun Dhawan gets ready for Main Tera Hero, directed by his dad David Dhawan.
Varun Dhawan has graduated from Karan Johar's college caper Student Of The Year, and has moved on to David Dhawan's romantic comedy Main Tera Hero, out for release in theatres this Friday, April 4.
The film co-stars Ileana D'Cruz and Nargis Fakhri.
Varun gets candid about his comedy king father, his movie choices, and tells us who the hero in his life is. Rajul Hegde listens in.
The title of the film is Main Tera Hero. Who is the hero in your life?’
My older brother (Rohit Dhawan) is a hero because he sacrificed a lot for me to reach where I am today.
When I did my first ad many years ago, he told me how to go about it.
Rohit has studied films and has been an assistant director.
When I worked as an AD for Karan Johar, Rohit gave me pointers like how I can add value to the project. He wanted to be a director so he told me what a director looks for.
When I got the script of Student of the Year, the first person I shared the script with was him.
Anything I do in life, the first person I share it with is my elder brother. He always tells me the way to take it forward.
My brother starting earning early in life. I stopped taking money from my parents and my brother would give me the pocket money.
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Image: Varun Dhawan
'My father has screamed at me many times on the sets'
What’s your equation with your dad, David Dhawan?
I have an amazing equation with him.
It was very difficult to see him like a father because he has a unique and humorous personality. I became friends with my father very early in life. And he wanted it that way.
He always wanted me to sit with him and know my opinion, be it a cricket match or movies.
He is more like a friend; he tries to find out what’s happening in my personal life. He sits with my friends when they come home.
My father never raised his voice or his hand on me when I was a kid.
What was it like working with him?
He is very strict as a director. He is a task master and a no-nonsense guy.
He has a short fuse; if things don’t go the way he has planned, he can lose it no matter who is on the set.
He has screamed at me many times when he was not happy. In Student of the Year, I worked hard but during the first schedule of Main Tera Hero, I got a jatka because he kept asking for more and more.
It was getting very difficult. The more I started giving, the more retakes he asked for because as a filmmaker he is never satisfied.
Image: David and Varun Dhawan
'I was dying to be part of a David Dhawan film'
When did you actually think of becoming an actor?
I watched lot of western stand-up comedians like Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller and Chris Rock. I even watched Johnny Lever’s live skits on Michael Jackson.
I was intrigued by the performances of people on stage. I wanted to do something like that.
But as I grew older, I got interested in drama and more serious kind of cinema. I wanted to explore all these avenues as an actor.
What made you choose this as your second film?
This was not a commercial decision. It was not like the first film did well so now capitalise on it with a solo hero.
It’s an emotional decision to do Main Tera Hero. My dad is 60 plus and he has directed 43 films. How much work can he do?
For the last one year, his health has not been the best. For us, as a family, it’s very scary.
I wanted to act in his film and I thought it would maybe be my third or fourth film. But when he expressed his desire to direct me, I felt I have to do it now.
Plus, I was dying to be part of a David Dhawan film. I probably wouldn’t have dared to do this genre of film without him.
Image: Varun Dhawan
Photographs: Varun Dhawan/Twitter
'Being a fan of my father's cinema has helped me'
Going by the promos, one gets the feeling that you are doing the sort of role that Govinda and Salman used to do.
Nobody pointed out this similarity during Student of the Year.
In this film, it’s probably because the director has worked with both the actors in many films. He was worked so much with them that his style of filmmaking is similar to how we see them as well. Probably that is why there is a visible similarity.
So what makes your dad so timeless that he has worked across the generation of actors and his films are still working?
One is his passion and second is his discipline.
He is one of the most punctual people you will ever meet in your life.
If the shoot is for 9 o’clock and the AD comes in at 7.30, he is there at 7 am.
Even at the age of 60, he puts in lots of hard work. He does his shot break downs. He does preps before the artists.
How much has being a Dhawan helped you in your career?
More than being a Dhawan, being a fan of his cinema has helped me.
I have watched all his films and his favourite director, Manmohan Desai’s films.
All that is running in my head as a performer, as a reference, and that is obviously an advantage.
Image: Nargis Fakhri, Varun Dhawan and Ilena D'Cruz in Main Tera Hero
'I am bindaas; I eat and wear anything'
Did you give any kind of inputs to your dad during the shooting?
Yes. Out of the ideas that I gave, he must have used 20 per cent because he likes improvisation.
Who is closer to your dad in nature?
I am. But he takes Rohit’s ideas because he is a more serious type.
I am bindaas; I eat and wear anything. I am restless like my father and do two-three things at a time.
How close are you to your character in the film?
There isnt any similarity. When I walked into Main Tera Hero, the script required a young boy and I have done my best to get the same essence.
With two gorgeous women, my character was expected to react as anyone of my age would.
What change do you see after Student of the Year and after the release of Main Tera Hero’s trailer?
My first film Student of the Year was meant for a certain kind of audience, but Main Tera Hero is for all.
The biggest change came after the trailer release of this (Main Tera Hero) film.
Girls have started screaming and running after me, but that is to do more with the film than me.
The day my films stop getting good response, all this will cease to exist.
Image: Varun Dhawan and Ilena D'Cruz in Main Tera Hero
'The toughest job is to be a director'
What’s your special moment with your dad?
He was proud of me during Student of the Year.
Also, I think in the eighth standard I had won the championship trophy for running. That day he was very proud of me because he was an athlete as a kid.
Whenever I do physically better than others, he feels that it’s a big feat.
For some reason, physical activity which pushes you to extremes makes him feel happy. When I had broken my nose in Student Of The Year, he was very proud of me!
Are you inclined to film making?
Yes, after some time. I have made a couple of short films but nothing to talk about at the moment.
I think the toughest job is to be a director.
What’s in the pipeline?
Sriram Raghavan's thriller film. Unfortunately, I cannot talk about the film.
All I can say is it's a complete transformation from the films that I have done.
And another film from Dharma Productions (the Anybody Can Dance sequel).
Image: Ilena D'cruz, Varun Dhawan and Nargis Fakrih in Main Tera Hero