Varun Dhawan, who made his acting debut with Karan Johar’s college-romance-drama Student Of The Year in 2012, has 9 acting credits to his name spanning 7 years and all of them have been big hits at the cash counter. His 10th film October releases in cinemas today. Helmed by distinguished Hindi filmmaker Shoojit Sircar, the movie has been highly anticipated by fans and critics as it presents Dhawan in a never-seen-before avatar. Recently, our Mumbai correspondent, Mohnish Singh, sat with Varun Dhawan to talk about his new film, the price he paid for fame, and why working with Shoojit Sircar in one film is not enough for him.
He also spilt beans on some never-heard stories about his childhood.
What was the response of your fans and well-wishers after October trailer was unveiled a couple of weeks ago?
There were a lot of people who didn’t appreciate my previous work. They all came out to praise me. I got a lot of messages from industry people and my friends. All of them are like, “We want to see this film.” A lot of my friends, who mostly watch Netflix or Amazon Prime, reacted majorly. They are dying to see the film. So that was a very big thing for me. The story and the way it unfolds attracted everyone a lot.
At the trailer launch of October, you said that you had this hunger of working with Shoojit Sircar at least once. Has that hunger been sated or you want to work with him more?
No, that hunger is not satisfied as yet. I have worked with one side of Shoojit Sircar. Shoojit Sircar has also made a Piku. He has also made a Madras Café. He also made a Vicky Donor. He has yet not shown his true self to me, nor did I. So I hope we come together again after October.
You are hugely popular among youngsters who love to watch you in commercial potboilers. Do you think they will connect with October, keeping the niche appeal of the movie in mind?
I did this film for youngsters only. This is a very young film. I believe that after Student Of The Year, I am playing this young for the very first time. To look younger in the movie, I went on a special diet. I was having sugarcane juice every morning. It gives you a lot of energy along with making your face glow more.
Why is the film titled October?
I cannot talk much about that. The only thing that I can say is that Jasmine flowers bloom in October. This film was offered to me in the month of October. We started shooting for it in October. These are just two coincidences that I remember. There are some more. There are many reasons why this film has been titled so.
Tell us something about your co-star Banita Sandhu.
Banita is wonderful. I like him as a human being. She is very sweet and cute. It’s her first film only and yet she is very composed. She is truly a Shoojit Sircar heroine. I hope she does more films here in Bollywood.
In October, we see you work in a hotel industry where you sweep the floor and do everything that a hotel staff is supposed to do. How is Varun Dhawan in real life? Does he ever do household chores or has been fed with a silver spoon his whole life?
When I was a kid, I used to make my bed and fold clothes, very badly though. Then I would ask my Mom to come and see it. She would then make her face and do everything on her own. She would refold all the clothes again and place them neatly in the cupboard.
Talking about being fed with a silver spoon all my life, I would like to say that I was born in a 2-bedroom flat in a building at Carter Road and spent formative years of my life there. My father’s career had taken off, but he hadn’t started making that much money which he did later. I have seen the growth of my father. I used to go to school by auto or bus. I would prefer auto because of the cool morning breeze that used to stream in from the Juhu beach and buffet my face. I used to be sleepy in the morning and that breeze would awake me. I still remember that. I enjoyed that period the most.
Stardom comes with a price. What price have you paid for it?
I think time. There is a dearth of time now. I am unable to spend proper time with people close to me, especially my parents. Whenever I reach home and my Mom calls me for food, I am always busy on my phone. I cannot spend time with my mother. My brother and sister-in-law are okay with it. Even my father is okay with it to an extent because he comes from the same business. But I think my Mom is having a hard time adjusting to it. In initial 2-3 years of my career, everything was perfect. I had time to spend with her and family. But now there is no time. I can see her not liking it almost. She misses her son.
Is there anything that you want to improve as an actor?
I think I can improve the quality of my voice. There are a lot of people who have told me the same. When I talk, I myself can feel that it sounds a little different. I want to make my voice better. Hope it improves as I age.
Your contemporary Tiger Shroff wants people to remember him as an action star. What do you want to be remembered as?
As an actor! An actor can do anything. Aamir Khan cannot do Dangal only; he can do Ghajini and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. He can do everything. Even Irrfan Khan falls into that category. If he can do Hindi Medium, he can also do Paan Singh Tomar and Life In A Metro. He can do Jurassic Park also. If I am a good actor, I should be able to do comedy and I should be able to do an action film. As an actor, you need to perform characters of any sort. So basically, I want to be an actor and do everything.