‘I HAVE NO TIME FOR COM­PE­TI­TION’

Varun Dhawan en­joys his new phase of suc­cess in con­tent­rich cinema

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Monika Rawal Kukreja monika.rawal@htlive.com

If you talk about con­tem­po­raries, yes, it’s all a very healthy com­pe­ti­tion. It was so in­spir­ing when I saw Ran­veer [Singh] in Pad­maa­vat... So, I don’t feel there’s any race here. It’s too much ef­fort, I feel. Ac­tors are sup­posed to glide. VARUN DHAWAN AC­TOR

Happy, con­tent, and gear­ing up for more — this pretty much sums up ac­tor Varun Dhawan’s cur­rent state of mind, as he has been get­ting rave re­views for his lat­est film, Shoo­jit Sir­car’s Oc­to­ber. Even though the film has been Varun’s low­est box-of­fice opener so far, the re­views for his per­for­mance make up for ev­ery­thing. The ac­tor talks about healthy com­pe­ti­tion, the tags given to him, and the hunger to do more.

Oc­to­ber has been get­ting such great re­views... How’s the feel­ing sink­ing in?

This film was al­ways be­yond num­bers and the love it has got from peo­ple has been tremen­dous. Peo­ple have con­nected and are feel­ing proud that such films are made in In­dia. So, that feels good that I’m a part of this cinema as well.

When you’re called a bank­able star, fu­ture su­per­star, hero ma­te­rial... do you feel spurred or pres­sured?

It’s a lot of pres­sure and I can’t take it head-on be­cause all this is very new to me. I think af­ter Jud­waa 2 and Badri­nath Ki Dul­ha­nia in 2017, which was prob­a­bly my best year, I got flooded with [tags]. Strangely, the amount of praise I’m get­ting for Oc­to­ber is way more than what I col­lec­tively got for those two films. A new set of peo­ple, who prob­a­bly never ac­knowl­edged my work un­til now, are call­ing me.

And how do you re­act to this?

Well, I just keep smil­ing be­cause I’ve al­ways tried to do this. It makes me think, ‘Damn, there is such a big au­di­ence, which I haven’t tapped.’ My fo­cus shifts to them now.

When­ever the new crop of Bol­ly­wood ac­tors are re­ferred to, names such as Sid­harth Mal­ho­tra, Ran­veer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, Ran­bir Kapoor, Ar­jun Kapoor also pop up. Do you feel there’s a con­stant pres­sure to make a mark?

I have no time for com­pe­ti­tion. I’m busy with films back to back, so there’s no time to think about what some­one else is do­ing. I was pro­mot­ing Oc­to­ber while I was shoot­ing for Sui Dhaaga [in Delhi]. And I’ve al­ready an­nounced my next [a dance film with Remo D’Souza].

But com­pe­ti­tion does ex­ist?

If it’s about con­tem­po­raries, yes, it’s all a very healthy com­pe­ti­tion. It was so in­spir­ing when I saw Ran­veer in Pad­maa­vat. He put in a tremen­dous ef­fort and it was a su­perb act done by him. When I saw Deepika [Padukone] and Shahid, they were so good in the film. So, I don’t feel there’s any race here. It’s too much ef­fort, I feel. Ac­tors are sup­posed to glide.

Ca­reer­wise, you’ve ex­plored a va­ri­ety of gen­res in a short span of time. Was there a hunger to do more in less time?

I love films. I can’t ex­plain how pas­sion­ate I am about cinema. What­ever kind of cinema it is, I en­joy it and love the process. And in the ’80s and ’90s, when I was grow­ing up and see­ing my dad (film­maker David Dhawan) work, all ac­tors were do­ing three to four films at a time and the foot­fall in cin­e­mas was more in that era than [it is] to­day.

The money has grown ob­vi­ously, be­cause of in­fla­tion and ticket prices, but the num­ber of peo­ple en­ter­ing the­atres was more back then. So, peo­ple in those years were do­ing some­thing right.

So now, do you make a con­scious ef­fort to take up more films at the same time?

You see, I have to look at the in­dus­try as a whole. It’s very easy to say, ‘Okay, I will do my one big film and that will make me this big su­per­star.’ Hon­estly, I’m very young right now and I have the stamina to do two or three films in a year. It’s very dif­fi­cult, but I try and push my­self to do that. I know for a fact that it takes care of a lot of peo­ple’s salaries and sup­ports a lot of work­ing hands in [Bol­ly­wood], and you have to work for every­one.

PHOTO: CHARLES SYKES/ INVISION/AP

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