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WELL KNOWN Bollywood star Varun Dhawan has been dazzling cinematic audiences in high-profile films, that have enabled him to shine on the big screen with a wide array of roles in different genres.

The talented actor will continue that impressive momentum with perhaps his most challenging role yet in this week’s big Bollywood release Sui Dhaaga: Made In India.

In the movie, he plays the role of an impoverished tailor who dreams big and sets out to overcome obstacles to start a business.

The actor has put his heart and soul into the movie, which is expected to entertain and inspire audiences.

Eastern Eye caught up with Varun to talk about the film, his character, tailoring skills, hard work ethic and more.

Is it fair to say you are happiest pushing yourself out of your comfort zone?
More than happiest. I think it is most exciting doing a different genre every time. Sui Dhaaga is a new genre for me, so I think that’s pretty much like Mauji (my character) for me. Because in the film, Mauji tries to do something which usually people in his strata of society can’t do – he goes out and becomes an entrepreneur with the support of his wife.

It’s not important where you have come from, it’s important where you’re going. So I think people might be putting me into a box, saying, ‘Oh, Varun is this type of an actor’, but every time a film of mine is released, I want to prove people wrong and show them that I’m more than what they think I am.

It seems as if Sui Dhaaga is the most challenging role you have done?
Sui Dhaaga is definitely a very challenging film. It took me to places in the heartland of our country. There was a lot of fun during the film shoot, like picking up the dialect and learning how to use a sewing machine. I had a great time doing the film. There’s a mix of comedy, romance, drama – everything. So it’s like a complete Hindi film for me.

What did you like most about Mauji?
I think it is that his name is Mauji, and even in the trailer, he says, ‘I am always happy doing every work.’

Tell us more about your character?
I think the character is almost like an animated character in a Disney film. He goes to great lengths to keep his family and boss happy. I played a dog in one scene – that was one of the most fun scenes I did. And Mauji has this never-say-quit kind of attitude.

What was the biggest challenge of playing this role?
The biggest challenge was coming down to that strata of society, because I am a boy who lives in the city. I had to become a man from the heartland, have a wife, have a family and learn how to use sewing machines. All these were challenges. But most of all, it was to keep that mindset of Mauji of always doing things and being animated and happy running around.

How did you decide on the look of your character and having that pretty impressive moustache?
The look was decided over some time. Sharat, the director, wanted a different look, and we thought about a moustache. I was apprehensive in the beginning, but once I had it, I didn’t get rid of it. I had it for like two and-a-half to three months. And when I had to shave it off, I was a bit sad.

Who are you hoping connects with Sui Dhaaga: Made in India?
I hope the entire world connects with this movie – especially the common man, the workforce of every city in every country, because they go to great lengths to provide for their family, to keep their family happy. And what do all those working men and women do? They sacrifice a lot in their lives to keep others happy. So I hope all the masses and classes can connect to it.

Do you have a favourite moment in the film?
I think the scene where I played a dog is my favourite moment in the film. Because it was something that was kind of improvised and when I finished the scene, everyone on the set applauded me.

You did a lot of training for the film, but what is the biggest thing you learned?
I think the biggest thing I have acquired from the film is learning how to use a sewing machine. I definitely learned what to do with a sui dhaaga (a needle and thread).

How are your tailoring skills now?
My tailoring skills are pretty neat. Recently, I made a shirt for my father and I’ve done a couple of other things. I’m also making patterns. So I think I am decent as a tailor now.

Entertaining movies with a message are doing well. Why do you think that is?
Definitely, entertaining films with a social message are doing well. I also did Badrinath Ki Dulhania. With Sui Dhaaga: Made In India, the message is massive. It talks about self-reliance and self-empowerment and lot of other things, so I’m hoping this movie connects with people.

What is Anushka Sharma like as a co-star?
Anushka is an amazing co-star. She’s been a delight to work with. She is very helpful, a really nice person. Both of us are always cracking up – we never get bored when we’re together. She always tells me not to embarrass her. We had a great time.

Also, I have to salute her because, she’s injured her back and yet she comes out every day with full zest to promote the film. Her attitude is perfect.

What can we expect next from you?
You can expect a lot of things. Kalank is coming up, and that’s a whole different film. It’s a massive period film. I’ll be working on that after I wrap this one up. And a lot of other stuff is to follow.

But I think, right now, I would like people to think of me only as Mauji.

You are very driven and hard-working. Where does that come from?
I think my drive and hard-work comes from the kind of upbringing I had from my parents. I was taught never to take anything for granted. Never believing the hype of my stardom and I always value my fans.

Is there a friendly rivalry between you and other actors?
I’m not sure about friendly rivalry. But you definitely get inspired by other actors when you watch them work.

You nearly lost this project as you were so busy. How hard it is to say no to a great project or working with those you admire?
It’s not easy to say no to a great project. If there’s something really great, I think I wouldn’t say no to it.

You have done a range of genres now, but which are you most connected to?
I love doing comedy and tragedy movies. I like doing these two genres the most. I know they’re opposite, but that’s the way I am.

If you could play a real-life character from history, who would it be?
I don’t know. I believe that picking a biopic is a very personal thing. I don’t want to say anything and jinx it.

Why should we watch Sui Dhaaga?
You should definitely watch Sui Dhaaga because I am playing Mauji in it, and I hope this
character becomes iconic once the film is released. It has already become massive with the
amount of memes on the internet. You can watch this movie with your entire family. It has
comedy, romance, drama and tragedy, so it’s a full-on, 2018 Indian family film. It’s a quirky film and I hope people connect with it.

Finally, would you like to give us a message for your fans?
Just be yourselves. Thank you for everything, thanks for the love, and I don’t take it for granted. I hope you like the choices I’m making. I hope you’re enjoying the films I do. I know it’s a variety. I’m testing everyone’s tastes, but I think my fans are quite cool. They like me doing all these things.

  • Anushka Sharma on her Sui Dhaaga: Made In India co-star Varun Dhawan: “I
    think every actor I’ve worked with has their own uniqueness as a performer and
    as a person.

“But what I really liked about Varun was the fact that he is an extremely driven person.
He is someone who doesn’t take himself that seriously, and he’s quite secure in himself, which I think is a very rare thing to have in this industry, and I think he is very good at it.”

  • Sui Dhaaga: Made In India is in cinemas now.