What do you get if you lock up a Bollywood hunk with four sultry bonitas in a hotel suite? We did exactly that with Varun Dhawan and it was absolute mayhem! Our man was doing what he does best– with an icy enough demeanour–so that the girls couldn’t keep their hands off him. We barely managed to get the pictures past the sensors for your viewing pleasure. Don’t thank us just yet!
After Badlapur, which was a complete thriller, you had to switch big in terms of the role that you’re playing for this movie. Right?
Varun Dhawan: Yes, it was a massive switch! After Badlapur, I was so screwed in the head that when I came to the sets of ABCD 2, people thought that I was one crazy bloke. But when I got my feet moving, started dancing and sweating it out and laughing with everyone around, I gradually started moving into the character. Shraddha was a great help too!
Speaking of Shraddha… how was she as a co-actor? Keeping up with your dance steps or was she getting left behind?
She is way more graceful than me and is someone who loves music and is really passionate. I think everyone in the movie is a better dancer than I laughs). But I dance to express and not impress, and I’ve followed the same in the film. Therefore, if my character, Suresh, connects with the audiences and they feel that they are watching something that could actually happen in reality then, as a dancer and a performer, my job was a success.
You’re chilled out and it seems you carry that off the sets also. But how is Shraddha to be around? She comes across as someone who is a little bit serious. Is she?
Shraddha is serious because she is very sorted in her head about her career. And I think that is because she has been through a lot of troubles earlier on in her career when a few films of hers bombed commercially. However, she came back strong with back-to-back hits. This has resulted in her being one of the most sought after actresses in our industry. She is serious about her career because she wants to hold on to what she has worked so hard to achieve, which, I think, is phenomenal. Just to add… I also think that Shraddha and I, as a couple on screen, are a perfect balance because I am the one with a funny bone and she’s the one who’s a bit of the serious type. And when she is in her prankster mode, I am sober and have my act together.
Are we going to be seeing you two together sometime soon?
I really hope so. She is actually one actress who I want to work with again.
Rohan in Student of the Year, Sreenath Prasad in Mein Tera Hero, Humpty in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya, Raghav in Badlapur and Suresh in ABCD 2… which character is closest to you in real life?
Honestly, there is a bit of me in every role that I have played to date. Hey! Don’t count Raghav from Badlapur… that’s not me at all. But I think where the other four are concerned, there were very strong shades of the real Varun Dhawan in their characters. To give an example, there is a scene in ABCD 2 where I was not given any dialogues and was asked to improvise impromptu. Remo told me to give this long monologue about dancing. That was really me talking my heart out.
Remo told me to give this long monologue about dancing. That was really me talking my heart out.
Tell us a bit about your next few upcoming flicks. What all should we get excited about? Ram Lakhan remake? Half Girlfriend?
You can get excited about the Ram Lakhan remake. It’s just that I am not in it. (laughs). I have not been approached for it either. There is Rohit Shetty’s next, Dilwale, which is with Shah Rukh sir. I am very kicked about it. I mean, who wouldn’t be to share screen space with the SRK. Next, I am doing a movie of my brother’s, called Dishuum, with John and Jacqueline. I am not allowed to talk much on the story so you have to wait and watch. There is also Shuddhi–but that is still some time away.
What remains? How is Varun Dhawan as an actor going to transform in the next few years?
I’m excited about Rohit Shetty’s flick because I am getting back to comedy again. I did it for Mein Tera Hero and for Humpty a little bit. This will take me back to the genre that I love. Dishuum will be again quite different. I cannot talk about the movie much. But they are all different genres and as my career progresses, I am trying to mix it up.
You have done funny flicks, and then you did Badlapur and now ABCD 2… Which has been the most challenging genre for you?
Toughest is comedy. Simply because it is not easy to make people laugh. It’s rather tough to do genuinely good comedy. When I say that I mean without being vulgar, crass and slapstick. I am talking the stuff that probably Will Ferrell or Jim Carrey would do. We are missing that in today’s cinema.
You’re younger of the two brothers. Usually the younger ones are the pampered ones. Was that the case with you too?
If anybody at all pampered me it was my older brother himself. We used to get into a lot of fights as well too. But I am glad it was the way it was.
Who’s your choice to discuss something with… Mum or dad?
Mom was stricter than dad. Dad did whatever I wanted but mom kept both brothers grounded and made sure that we realised the value of money and relationships. If I had to really open up and discuss something then it would be mom. First her, then dad. Oh wait! First it would be my brother.
If I had to really open up and discuss something then it would be mom. First her, then dad.
How were growing up years? What do you remember?
I remember living in this one bedroom flat on Carter Road. I remember getting up early on Sundays and having mango milkshake and going down and playing cricket with other cronies and getting completely sunburnt. Coming back totally dirty and mom getting after me to go bathe. I remember watching Dekh Bhai Dekh as a kid. I also remember not being allowed to watch it during my exams and me crying (laughs). I remember playing pretty much every sport and everyone telling me that I was Jack of all trades.
Any fondest memory?
Something that is really huge for me is when I was in fourth standard and I won the interschool running championship. I remember in the final race of 100m, I banged my head on into the teacher and fell. Because of that someone else won the race. My brother went and complained to the management that it was not fair and that there should be a new race. School accepted and I actually won it the second time around. I think that was the proudest moment for my parents. I can still remember how excited I was about the whole thing!
Do you still run?
I don’t get a chance to run competitively but I still run as it’s an excellent exercise.
Did you ever accompany your dad to movie sets? Did you feel enamoured by the entire experience?
Not all the movies but once in a while I did go with him. Seeing Govinda made me think that acting was the easiest thing in the world. Seeing him on sets actually started getting me more and more interested in acting.
When did you get your calling to join movies?
I remember seeing American Psycho in my university days and that changed my life. No kidding! Christian Bale is my favourite actor.
I remember seeing American Psycho in my university days and that changed my life.
How did you approach your dad when you got back?
I didn’t. Because I know how he is as a person and that he would never launch anyone. He doesn’t believe in shortcuts in life. My mom had made it clear that if I wanted to be an actor then I had to do it myself. So I approached Karan Johar and assisted and worked with him (Varun was the Asst. Director for My Name is Khan) and showed him a short film of mine and from there stuff happened.
Any movie role that you would love to see yourself do?
Aamir Khan in Lagaan was outstanding. I also loved Salman Bhai’s role in Tere Naam. I thought it was a kickass role to be anti-hero. I think a lot of work that Hrithik has done is splendid. I don’t think I can do that level of work. Dil Chahata Hai, all three characters were amazing!
Christian Bale in American Psycho. Also Bane in Dark Knight Rises.
Interesting. Why Bane?
I would love to play a villain. I have a side to me like that, I guess. I did Badlapur and that too had a dark side. I would like to go down that road again.
Any yesteryears role?
Dev Anand in Guide perhaps. That is one of my favourite films and I love it. Lot of Sanjeev Kumar and Kishore Kumar films. They were called the true-blue entertainers. Nobody could do the angry young man portrayal better than Amitabh Bachchan. Then SRK in Darr was outstanding.
Nobody could do the angry young man portrayal better than Amitabh Bachchan.
What does your typical day look like?
What it looks like is my getting up at 8 in the morning, perhaps getting into shooting or getting into rehearsals for shooting, and then whole day shooting. Taking a lunch break, also working out. In the evening, coming back home, reading a book or watching a movie. Basically the day revolves around work.
You’re in insane shape. Who are you training under and what’s your exercise regime like?
Thanks for the compliment. I am training under Prashant Sawant, who has been my trainer since day one of my career. He makes sure that I keep in good shape, no matter how strenuous my shoot schedule is or when I might have to go shirtless as I had to for today’s shoot. I do a lot of TRX and functional training. I have started doing a lot of cardio as I put on weight relatively easily. I make sure I work out every day for an hour at least to stay in this kind of shape.
Regarding your diet… what do you binge on and what’s a complete n -no?
A lot of egg whites, lot of watermelon juice, coconut water is what I have and love. I have jeera water in the morning nowadays because it is a strong anti-bacterial and kills harmful bacteria. I eat insane amounts of chicken. I totally love it. Also, since Mumbai is so hot, I am always sipping on water. Above all this, I love pizzas. It’s not a part of the diet but I don’t think I can live without it.
If we raided your fridge, what awaits us?
All sorts of things, really, because everyone in my family doesn’t follow this kind of diet. They are perpetually on mangoes, ice creams and are killing it as far as food is concerned. (laughs).
Must be torturous for you, right?
It really is. It’s not easy to see them go at it. But my mom makes sure that I don’t overeat or anything.
It’s not easy to see them go at it. But my mom makes sure that I don’t overeat or anything.
What are your stress busters?
Music. That’s my biggest stress buster. Sometimes meeting my fans calms me down. Meeting children, going for a swim, watching a good movie… those sort of things.
Bike person or a car dude?
I’m more of a bike person than a car bloke for sure. I don’t really drive my car as much. But whenever given an opportunity to ride a bike (in most of my movies I have ridden one), I thoroughly enjoy it. I don’t own any though. I am not allowed to. My parents don’t think I’m responsible enough.
Yan’t be serious.
I’m dead serious.
Which is the most kickass bike that you have ridden to date?
It has to be the Harley Davidson Fat Boy. I nearly fell off it close to five times when riding it (laughs) but I did get one good line and it was WOW! It is an exhilarating machine.
Any set of wheels you’re planning to buy soon?
I am just about to; one for my parents. It is the new Merc C-Class.
I am just about to; one for my parents. It is the new Merc C-Class.
Are you a fan of the really loud groany-grunty ones?
Honestly speaking, I really am not into those kind of cars. Because every time someone goes by in a car like that, I find it very irritating. I am more of a quiet smooth kind of a guy; get in and leave a place without anyone knowing. And that’s the E-Class.
What’s your taste in music like? Favourite tracks?
I listen to a lot of stuff (obviously). I do listen to a lot of Hindi film music. But lately I have been listening to a lot of house. I quite like the Fast & Furious soundtrack by Whiz Khalifa. I also love California Dreaming. Nowadays I’m tripping on the soundtrack of Mad Max. I really dig movie soundtracks.
Let’s talk about women now. If given a chance to date one famous celeb, who would it be?
No, I would not like to date any celebrity. (Really?)
Any Hollywood women perhaps?
I am really happy with the women in India as they are really beautiful. I have stated this before also that I find women who are not in showbiz far more attractive than the ones who are. It’s more interesting for me to have a conversation with them.
What’s your idea of a perfect girl and a perfect date?
Someone who will be real with me and put me in my place. I really like people being real with me and that’s the type of people who surround me. They are the ones who help me keep my calm and sanity. Perfect date? Without a doubt it has to be New York. I love that town. I think the girl I would date would love New York too.
How about dating someone who is already in New York?
Maybe. But it would get difficult because of the long distance. I would want her to eventually be with me.
But it would get difficult because of the long distance. I would want her to eventually be with me.