He can be funny, he can be intense and he can also be that realistic macho man, Varun Dhawan, with his versatility, has become one of the most successful young stars in today’s generation. The actor, who is gearing up for the release of Judwaa 2, is hopeful that the audience would accept the comic caper just like the original film in 1997. Varun believes that the social media buzz seldom translates into the numbers and it is still the audience’s word of mouth that draws people in the cinema hall.
Ahead of the film’s release, Dhawan in a group interview spoke about daddy David Dhawan, Salman Khan, his upcoming films and a lot more. Excerpts:
Ever since the trailer of Judwaa 2 was launched, there have been comparisons with the first film. How do you see that?
I had to think about these things before signing the film. It is obvious that these things would happen and I knew that such things would come, especially on the social media. As an actor, I knew that all this would result in an incredible buzz. There would be a comparison, there would be chatter. People would say ‘Acha Kiya‘, ‘Kharab Kiya Hai‘, and ‘Bahut Acha Kiya Hai‘, but to come to a conclusion, people would at least go to the theaters on September 29.
But does that add a certain amount of pressure on you?
Comparison with Salman Khan has been happening since the first day of my career and hence, it doesn’t put pressure on me. What matters the most is people buying tickets and coming to watch my film. And honestly, mine is a fresh approach as I had to play it in my own way. You can’t have exactly the same circumstances and we have made a lot of changes in the screenplay.
There are four to five scenes which we have retained, but that apart, there is a difference in writing.
Judwaa as a film is still fresh in the minds of Hindi film audience. What made you act in a remake that released 20 years back?
It has been 20 years since the release of Judwaa. There are children who are 14,15 or 16, who have not seen Judwaa and they are the new cinema-goers. My dad made this film because the genre is not being made anymore. This is a conventional Hindi film genre, which isn’t made internationally. Manmohan Desai has given birth to this genre and my dad is a big fan of him. There are many successful films made in this genre, but since a few films didn’t do well, we come to a conclusion that the genre is finished. But, we need to evolve with time within a given genre as well.
Do you think David Dhawan would have made Judwaa 2 without you?
It was Sajid Nadiadwala’s idea to make Judwaa 2. He was wanting to make the film before and it never got made then. My dad had a conversation with him, and I wasn’t a part of it back then, but I don’t think he would have made Judwaa 2 with any other actor. I also feel that he wouldn’t have made Judwaa 2 with me as my first film because he likes working with big stars.
When he decided to work with me, he said, now you are a star, so we can work.
What’s your take on comedies and commercial films being looked down upon on the social media?
I totally agree and think the same, but you cannot let Twitter decide the films you choose. Definitely, there is a need of newer ideas and fresh treatment, like I really liked a few scenes in Bareily Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Savadhan, which were comical yet fresh. Overall, we should look inward instead of looking outward.
But does social media reaction affect you in any way?
Unfortunately, I feel yes, that is happening but at the same time, I don’t think the big actors get influenced. Social media is something that makes me think. I would actually reverse this question when you write something on social media, even you would think twice fearing the backlash. I am sure, even you get influenced by social media. Having said that, we cannot rely on social media for the opening (Box Office) as that does not translate.
Social media popularity will not translate in your film’s opening.
There was a time when audience used to go to the cinema hall to merely watch a song, but in today’s era, the entire song is out on YouTube much before the release. Do you think, even that takes a toll on Box Office collections of the film?
That’s a nice question. We did one thing if you see the duration of Tan Tana Tan promo, it is 100 seconds. Even Suno Ganpati Bappa is 110 seconds. It was planned from the beginning that we won’t show a lot of units as everyone is seeing everything for free. We are going back to the past now.
Is there an overemphasis on film promotions in our industry because down south, we see films being promoted for not more than 2 weeks?
It is incredible how they work. They have a great strategy close to the film release. You learn. When I came five years back, promotions were the new cool. I have promoted my films like a mad guy for five years. But, for Badrinath Ki Dulhania, we did a five-week campaign. By the time we came to Judwaa, I realised that there is a fatigue. The translation of people standing for you in the crowd coming to the theatre is not happening. It is same as the social media hype. People on social media would bash a film left, right and center, but that is the one going houseful in theatre.
The basic funda what I believe in is, the audience would go to the theatre, watch a film, recommend the film to their close friends and relatives. That’s how the word of mouth spreads.
Is it right to blame only the director for failure of a film?
I am a director’s son and if he gets to make a film the way he wants to, then it is only his film. So, you should blame the director. Actually, it is unfair to blame the actor because he is not writing the film, he is just following the vision of the director. I see a lot of ‘actor bashing’ happening because they are the face of the film, but eventually, actors are just following someone else’s comment.
Lastly, when do you start shooting for October, Sui Dhaga and ABCD 3?
October will go on floors in October and that’s a conscious decision. After October, I will start shooting for Sui Dhaga and after that, there is something else. ABCD 3 is something that has been in work for a long time and I would definitely like to do that film as well.