Varun Dhawan on Badrinath Ki Dulhania: 'Not just a time-pass film; its message is reaching people'

Seema Sinha

Mar,14 2017 12:07 10 IST

Varun Dhawan's  latest release Badrinath Ki Dulhania is minting money at the box office, and he is obviously overjoyed.

“It is a great feeling. It is not just a time pass film, it conveys a message and the good thing is that the message is reaching people. More than the critics it is important that the audience react to it. It was felt that March being the exam season, it may affect the film. But people are still thronging theatres and I am grateful for that,” says Varun, further adding, “I don’t know the figures and I have nothing to do with the collection or with these Rs 100 and 200 crore clubs. I do films just to entertain people and I am happy that the film is doing well.”

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Poster of Badrinath Ki Dulhania.

Going forward, the actor is excited about Judwaa 2, which will be helmed by his director-father, David Dhawan, and post that is Shoojit Sircar’s film on a dark, gritty subject.

Both, Shoojit and Varun are tight-lipped about the project, however, Varun says, “There is something that Shoojit has narrated to me which I really liked. I wanted to work with him ever since I watched Vicky Donor.  I also loved his Madras Cafe. Juhi Chaturvedi (writer of Piku and Vicky Donor) has written it.  I will start shooting for the film after Judwaa 2. It is not like Badlapur for sure, it’s a Shoojit Sircar film and he is very good at whatever he does.”

It was earlier reported that Salman Khan will do a cameo in Judwaa 2 and now it is also heard that Salman’s guest appearance will actually be a double role. He will appear in Judwaa 2 as the original characters, ‘Raja’ and ‘Prem’ 20 years later. Also, rumours have it that Salman will be sharing screen space with Varun’s two characters and the sequence is being designed as a highlight in the film.

On this Varun reacts, “I don’t want to say anything, I want people to be surprised.”  However, Varun reveals that he will bring in a variation to the character of 'Raja', as the tapori of the present era will be different from that of the 90s. “Taporis these days even send whatsapp messages (laughs)...it’s a shame that we don’t make tapori movies. We should. But there will definitely be a big change in Raja's character.”

Bollywood filmmakers David Dhawan, Sajid Nadiadwala and actor Varun Dhawan during the announcement of up coming film Judwaa 2 in Mumbai, India on February 6, 2017. (Nitin Lawate/ SOLARIS IMAGES)

Bollywood filmmakers David Dhawan, Sajid Nadiadwala and actor Varun Dhawan during the announcement of up coming film Judwaa 2 in Mumbai (SOLARIS IMAGES)

Karan Johar had earlier announced during the trailer launch of Badrinath Ki Dulhania that there most definitely will be a third instalment of the Dulhania franchise, and like its prequels, it will star Varun and Alia with Shashank Khaitan once again helming the project.

“This could start a new trend. What is interesting about Badrinath.. is that it is very unlike Karan Johar’s films. After Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, this is a family love story and it is set in the heartland. In that sense it is very new. As Karan has been saying, Badrinath is Dharma’s Rajshri,” says Varun.

But how much variation can one get to run the franchise further?  “We can do a lot, we are living in a country which has so many different cultures, religions. There is lot of scope to take it further. Badrinath is so different from Humpty in terms of dialect, style, behaviour, body language. Most of the problems in the film are not told for the first time. These are typical problems we face in India and it is unlike any character I have played so far.”

The last two times Varun and Alia came together, they delivered a hit, and even this time round the duo fared well and were able to recreate magic with their crackling chemistry. So what did Varun discover about Alia while filming?

“That she won’t settle. Alia wants to make sure that everything is perfect. Not just about her but also about other actors in the film. The first scene that we shot, she was not happy with our performance. We shot it long back. She felt we could do better, we didn’t appear too excited. She put her foot down and I agreed with her. I am happy that I am involved in the film because if she is good then my performance and film will also be good.”

Does Varun think he has an edge as compared to his contemporaries given that post the 90s there hasn't been a single actor who connected with the heartland, rural India?

“I don’t feel I have yet connected across the country because had that been the case, the box office of my film would have gone above a very high level. Actual connection with the audience means that everyone in the country is enjoying your film. There are so many examples of films enjoyed pan India, like Dangal, Sultan, Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Those films worked not only because they had superstars, but because the content connected with the audiences. Take Akshay Kumar's recent films for example — Rustom, and now Jolly LLB 2. I have a long way to reach that position but that is my direction, my goal for sure.”

He further adds, “I do try to play characters that are relatable. Also, my names in movies are not those typical hero names. I have played Humpty, Sreenu, Badri. No hero has been called by these names.”

Varun is the only actor in recent times to not have a flop in almost half a decade, that too right at the beginning of his career.

However, it’s also been noticed that he delivers better results when he does solo films. His last two films — Dishoom and Dilwale — were semi hits but they had him sharing screen space with John Abraham and Shah Rukh Khan respectively. Varun says that though he has always been very careful about selecting films, he did hit a roadblock post Dilwale. “Till the time I signed Dilwale, I knew exactly how I want to go about. I was very clear in my head and things too fell in place. But post Dilwale I hit a roadblock.”

Varun continues, “I had stopped being that guy who sits in theatre, eats popcorn, watches a film and enjoys with the audience. I was on the other side, and I was lost. I felt the need to do a film which was very different. Hence I did Dishoom which was an action adventure. I had never done that before. And that is the reason I took up Badrinath.. I will never remove the entertaining element in my film. I don’t want to bore the audience. I love music and dance, so I will continue entertaining the audience.”