‘I HAVE NO TIME FOR COMPETITION’
Varun Dhawan enjoys his new phase of success in contentrich cinema
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.