Dhanush on VIP 2: I always had Kajol in mind, no one else could have done what she did
When Dhanush's 2014 release, comedy-drama, Velai Illa Pattadhari (Unemployed Graduate) garnered huge success, it made the film's crew team up again for the sequel in both Tamil and Telugu. With Kajol coming on board, they decided to explore the Hindi market as well.
“The story continues where part one ended. While part one was about an engineering student finding it difficult to get the desired job, the sequel is about how challenging it is to fight against the corporate world,” says the film’s lead, Dhanush.
Velai Illa Pattadhari 2 aka VIP 2 is Kajol's comeback film in Tamil and she will be seen sharing screen space with Dhanush, who has not just co-produced but has also written the story and dialogues for the sequel.
“Once I finished writing, I had somebody like Kajol in mind, and finally we thought of getting her on board. We were aware that in last 20 years she has not done films in any other language but I didn’t want to give up. We narrated the script to her and purely on the merit of the script she decided to do it. That gave us even more confidence. I don’t think any other actress would have pulled off Vasundhara’s character the way she did. She was perfect for the part,” says Dhanush, adding that, like Kajol, he too believes in spontaneity in a performance.
Dhanush further says, “It was fascinating working with her. I grew up watching her films — Gupt, Fanaa, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge are some of my favourites. It was great to work with such talented, fine and seasoned performer. It elevated my performance as well.”
Did he ever get intimidated by the senior actress? Pat came the response: “I am a very confident actor so I never get intimidated by anyone. I have faith that I can do justice to the characters I play. If somebody is better than me then I learn from them quickly and I try to match them.”
Dhanush debuted in Bollywood with Raanjhanaa (2013) opposite Sonam Kapoor, followed by 2015 release Shamitabh (with Amitabh Bachchan) making VIP 2: Lalkaar his third Hindi film. However, he says that he’s still in the process of learning the language.
“I want to learn but it becomes difficult to learn a new language after a certain age. I can pick up words here and there and can understand 50 per cent but speaking is difficult," adds Dhanush.
However, he doesn’t find much difference between the two industries, and further, while referring to Baahubali’s tremendous success, he says, “Films have a wider market now. Language is not a barrier, only content is important. That is a very healthy and necessary change and it doesn’t matter with which film it has happened. Both, Baahubali and Dangal have set a great example. What Dangal did internationally was phenomenal. Even when I was shooting for my Hollywood film, the crew was talking about Dangal.”
Dhanush is playing the lead role in the Hollywood film, The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir, which is the big screen adaptation of the bestselling novel of the same name.
After Raanjhanaa’s success, it was felt that Dhanush would take up more Bollywood projects, and the actor has his own explanation for that not happening. “You can see, I have a very unique look (laughs while pointing at his body and physique). I have to choose my roles carefully. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I had to wait for the right script to do justice to the film and box office as well. But I will do something very soon,” he informs.
Wouldn’t he want to bulk up like Prabhas and try something off-beat? “I feel this physique of mine is my strength. If you step out and take a walk on the streets, you will see hundreds of people like me. They relate to me. I am their representative,” he says with a hearty laugh, further revealing that he might take up Aanand L Rai’s next project once he has wrapped up the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer.
“I have already worked with two of my favourite directors – Aanand L Rai and R Balki. Next I would like to work with Raju Hirani. He has inspired me a lot. Every time I walk out after watching his film, I feel life is beautiful,” says Dhanush.
During the 80s, superstars from the south like Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, Kamal Haasan and Venkatesh tried their luck at capturing the Bollywood market, so can one say that Dhanush is setting his eyes on the Hindi heartland.
“It’s a great honour. But it is not about who is doing the role, it is about the content. Film and content is any day bigger than the star,” says Dhanush. Does he want to be known as a star or as an actor? “I want to be both. There is a thrill in being called a star,” he grins.