Varun Dhawan on doing Shoojit Sircar’s ‘October’, his takeaway from the film and more

From a ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ and a ‘Judwaa 2’ to a ‘Sui Dhaga’ and an ‘October’; Varun Dhawan has been not only making the right equilibrium, but is on a spree to reinvent himself as a performer too. He sat down for a candid conversation with the press, and gave away pretty much!

‘October’ is quite different than your previous films…

It is! But when you work with Shoojit Sircar, you know you’re with a great captain.

We heard you had to work on yourself quite a lot. Has it been a challenging experience?

With Shoojit da, you really have to forget that you’re a star. Otherwise, he gives you hell lot of love! Not just me, but to everyone, right from the cameraman to the staff. He’d always greet you with a smile and his voice would never raise.

The first thing he did to me was to lower my voice. He’d be like, Kyun Itna Chilla Raha Hai?’ Usne Mujhe Itna Calm kar Diya Tha, Ke Main Sirf Kaam Hi Karta Rehta Tha.(Laughs)

The film claims to NOT be a love story. Did you relate to the story on a personal altitude, while filming?

Too many real-life moments. I believe such moments belong not just to me, but you must have experienced them too. There are tiny moments that you don’t pay attention to, but they form you as a human being. But more than that, the film is also about time. How much time do we devote to each other, these days? Everyone got a phone. You just drop a text or a WhatsApp message. Do you make the effort to go, meet someone? Would you spare some time to sir beside your ailing grandmother? Dan (Varun’s character in the film), throughout the film, doesn’t use a mobile phone. His friends can’t get through him. He is away from it. And I say this while I endorse a mobile brand!

But I will also be brave enough to say that what Dan does is right.

You just did ‘Judwaa 2’, and now you’re doing ‘October’. Shoojit says this has been a brave step from your end. Can we call it an actor’s requirement to establish his own versatility?

This is totally an actor’s requirement. It is rather an actor’s hunger. I am not proving anything to anyone else. Creative satisfaction is of utmost important to a performer. I am not on a 9-6 job wherein I come to the factory, work and earn money. If I was that much money-minded, I’d have rather become a producer. But that’s not me.

I did a ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’, I did a ‘Judwaa 2’. Then, I couldn’t smile yaar.Camera Laga Ke Moi Mujhe Bol Raha Tha Smile Karo, Joke Crack Karo. Ho Nahi Raha Tha.

You’re also doing ‘Sui Dhaga’. Among your contemporary ones, you’re the only one who’s balancing so correctly between both the forms of cinema…

The time when I was not an actor, I wanted to own a TV channel. I wanted to own my TV channel wherein I’d be interviewing directors. Kind of a late night show, like Jay Leno used to host. Then I asked myself why I wanted to do that. Then I figured, what interested me was to meet different characters. A comedian, a villain, a serious man. Actually, I wanted to become all of them! Cinema is so vivid these days. There are thousand variations to comedy itself. David Dhawan’s comedy isn’t similar to that of Shashank Khaitan. I never thought Shoojit Sircar would instill humour in the film. But when people watched the film, they laughed at some points!

I try to think like a studio. If I am a studio and if I am coming up with 7 films, What kind of films would I choose?

Shoojit also said he was looking for a new face to introduce. Was he aware you were going to meet him for this?

No! But I went up as a newcomer only. I had just woken up. He said,Aa Jao. Main Nikal Jaunga.I was wearing a pair of torn jeans, my hair wasn’t combed. I saw him like that only. I think that was worse that how a newcomes appears!

He hasn’t watched my films. He didn’t sit and check out ‘Main Tera Hero‘ aur ‘Judwaa 2’ aur ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’. Hence, he doesn’t have an image of me.

It seems quite unlikely of a star to go and approach a director for work. Are you trying to change the usual perception?

I was doing this since my second film. I was always approaching directors. And it’s not just me. A lot actors who message directors, asking for work. When my father was making films, he’d receive messages from actors and he’d feel good about the fact that an actor believes in him, and his likes of cinema. I understand the psychology of a director. I know I have to look for work the right way. And throwing attitude at a director is definitely not the right way.

You ‘unlearned’ quite a lot while you filmed for ‘October’. But box office success is something you’ve already tasted…

Box office doesn’t matter to me. That’s the reason I am not promoting this film like I promote my other films. It is a very new thing for me, and I don’t thinl anyone else (apart from Shoojit Sircar) functions like that.

I told him, ‘Dada,Kuch Promotions Kar Leta Hoon!Should I go to colleges and all’? He said, ‘No, let the film’s integrity remain as it is. The less you promote it, the better. I was wondering why! Ronnie (Producer Ronnie Lahiri) was also present. I asked him, ‘you guys aren’t even tensed’? Film should open to a good number right?’ He answered, ‘you haven’t invested any money. Why are you so worried?’ I was like, yes, true that I haven’t invested, but still’! Then, Dada told me one amazing. He said, ‘See Varun, you’re an actor, you’ve acted. I am a director, I directed. Together, we’ve created a film. But we won’t sell the film. People shouldn’t drop in at theatres because you’re begging them to. They should genuinely want to. Let the art speak for itself. Otherwise, where’s your belief on what you’re doing?’

For the next 5 days, I diidn’t call him only!

Dan works at a hotel, does cleaning, and what not? How similar his life is, to Varun Dhawan?

(Laughs) When I was a kid, I would try to do things at home. I used to try to make the bed, and create a mess out of it. I’d tell my mom, see, I’ve done it. She’s look at tme, and do it all over again! But I’d not say I was born with a silver spoon. I’ve spend first 15 years of my life in a 2BHK at Carter Road. My father’s career had taken off, but he hadn’t started making that much money yet. I’ve witnessed his growth. I’d take an auto to school. I remember I loved it as we passed by the sea at Juhu. The fare would 8.5 rs but I always felt bad for the rickshaw driver and would give him 10 rs full. I enjoyed those days the most.

That innocence was gone. An actor leads such a protected life!

For the first time in Hindi cinema, a writer’s name is going to appear just after the director…

I am so glad! For the first time, I’ve done a film where the relationship between a director and a writer is this intense. Juhi (writer Juhi Chaturvedi) was there during every shot, every day. She’s been there throughout the film. She has not only witten the film beautifully but has helped me understand my own character a lot. Dan is from Delhi. So are Dada,and Juhi. But I honestly feel I needed a woman to make me understand the sensitivity. So many times, I didn’t understand things. When I was done asking Dada, I’d start asking Juhi.

Do you somehow see glimpses of Hrishikesh Mukherjee in Shoojit?

My dad always this. ‘Anand’ is his favourite, and mine too.He’d get really shy if I say this, but Shoojit Sircar is one of the best minds and best hearts that we have right now. I haven’t known Hrishikesh Mukherjee first-hand. But this guy, is special. He needs to be given more power.

You always wnated to work with Shoojit. Is the hunger satisfied?

No, it’s not! I’ve just worked with one side of him. But he has also made a ‘PINK’, a ‘Madras Cafe‘ and a ‘vicky donor‘ . I am yet to see all his shades, and I am yet to show all my shades too! I hope we can come together again, soon…

You’re a youth icon. But will ‘October’ appeal to the youth?

This film is just for the youngsters. After ‘Student Of The Year‘ I am playing this young a character for the first time. Hardly 20-21 years old.

I went into a special diet. I stopped working out, and every morning, I’d drink a glass of sugacane juice. I wasn’t consuming sugar in any other form, but sugarcane juice was a regular. That gives you immense energy and a beautiful glow on your face.

Why is the film titled ‘October’?

I can’t reveal the reason. But I call tell you, that I was offered the film in the month of October. We’ve shot it in the month of October. Shiuli (Banita Sandhu’s name in the film) is a flower that gorws in October. You’ll be able to find 3-4 more reasons yourself…

Stardom comes with a price. What price have you paid?

I think, time.Waqt Kam Pad Jati Hai Pure Din Mein, Saare Insaan Ke Liye.I mean, my parents.I come home, my mom calls me, and I am like, mom, one minute! I can’t spend any time with my mother. My brother is okay, my bhabi is okay, even my father is understanding. He has lived this life. But I think my mom is having a hard time. For the first two or three years, it was okay. I still had time. But now, I almost see her not liking it.

You come from a family that understands cinema. What kind of cinema do you discuss among yourselves?

Regarding this film, they’ve been discussing a lot. I don’t know after how many years, my uncle (Anil Dhawan) is excited about a film! He keeps saying, ‘I want to watch this film’! Rumi uncle (actor Rumi Jaffery), who is very close to my family, is also very excited. They have these discusisons about my film. My dad already spoke to Shoojit Sircar. Dada wants him to watch the fiished film.

What motivates you to keep going?

The people. Yesterday, I performed at the IPL opening ceremony. I haven’t danced in ‘october’; neither in ‘Sui Dhaga’. But when I was dancing with Prabhu sir (Prabhudheva) at Wangkhede stadium before live audience, it was electric! You get them excited, you get them expecting something.

‘October’ is a very different school of cinema for you. What lessons do you take back?

Faith on the content, faith on the director, faith on the audience.

Is it it difficult fitting into different forms of cinema at the same time?

It is. Coming from a ‘Judwaa 2’ and doing an ‘october’ has been a big jump for me, I can’t tell you how big. But hopefully you figure out. To try and reinvent yourself, repush yoursself, re assmelbe can only happen when you work with new directors.

Actors have their own niches. Like Tiger Shroff says he wants to be known as an action hero. What’s your niche?

An actor. An Aamir Khan do one ‘Dangal’ and one ‘Ghajini’ both. An Irrfan has done a Hindi Medium’, a ‘Pan Singh Tomar’, and a ‘Jurrasic Park’. If I am a good actor, I should be able to do a comedy, an action, and what not? As an actor, you play characters. You become your characters. My forte should be that I do everything well.

Something about Banita? (Debutance Banita Sandhu, his co-star in October)

It’s her first film, but she is extremely composed, calm and sweet. She is actually a Shoojit Sircar Heroine. I am not, on paper. But she is. I hope she does more films.

Would love to do a sports-centric film: Ranbir Kapoor

Would love to do a sports-centric film: Ranbir Kapoor

Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor, who is set to play a football match for a cause, says he would love to do a sports-centric film which tells the inspirational story of any Indian athlete.

If he had to do a film on a sportsperson, who would it be and why?

“It’s a tough question! We’ve a lot of athletes in the country and every story is worth listening to (and) will inspire others. I would personally love to do a sports-centric film sometime on any athlete who has made the nation proud,” Ranbir told IANS in an email interaction.

The actor is one of the 18 Bollywood celebrities from the All-Star Football Club (ASFC), including Abhishek Bachchan, Arjun Kapoor, Kartik Aaryan and Dino Morea, who will play a friendly match to support Magic Bus Foundation’s goal to help 2,000 underprivileged children.

Varun Dhawan on doing Shoojit Sircar's 'October', his takeaway from the film and more

Magic Bus Foundation has associated with crowd-funding platform in an initiative backed by GS Worldwide Entertainment to create awareness and raise funds for underprivileged children in 77 districts across 22 Indian states. The campaign, #GivingGoals, aims to raise Rs 60 lakh towards these programmes. (Also Check: Back in the city, Ranbir Kapoor enjoys playing a football match with his pals. VIEW PICS)

Ranbir is an ardent football fan.

“Everything about football excites us (ASFC members)! Playing induces adrenaline, explains the basics of teamwork and its importance. As a viewer too, it is the most involving game for audiences. Every minute, every second of it has something exciting for both the players and audiences,” Ranbir said.

The film industry keeps playing friendly sports matches off and on for noble causes.

“Sports in India is picking up and growing exponentially as a culture. We’re lucky to be a part of this process and it makes us proud whenever we can contribute to this positive trend,” added the actor, who is training hard to beat his seasoned opponents, who he believes have an “athletic edge” over his team.

There’s an opportunity for fans of AFSC stars to join the celebrities in raising funds.

Jayant Rastogi, CEO, Magic Bus India Foundation, is overwhelmed by the support pouring in from some of the well-known celebrities of Indian cinema.

“We have been fighting against poverty by ensuring children and young adults have a holistic education. Through this association, we hope to continue developing the skills today’s children require for a secure, stable and bright career,” he said.

Celebrity support in coming together to mobilise their fans from around the world to raise funds for a cause is heartening, said’s CEO and Co-founder Piyush Jain.

Being seductive is part of womanhood: Urmila Matondkar

Being seductive is part of womanhood: Urmila Matondkar

Urmila Matondkar who has been missing from the big screen since long is back with a bang. The Rangeela stars recent appearance in the song “Bewafa beauty” from Irrfan Khan starrer Blackmail was much loved by her fans. The beauty opened up on the dance number in an interview to IANS.

“Lyrically and contextually, the song is very interestingly put out and I liked that part. Having said that it was not my conscious decision to be a part of this song, but I was just trying out something very different that has not happened in the recent past,” said the actress, known for some superhit dance numbers like “Hai rama”, “Tanha tanha”, “Chamma chamma” and “Ruki Ruki”.

Urmila Matondkar has never failed to prove three strong elements as an actress in her career – power of acting, unmatched dancing skill and image of being desirable. The actress says as a woman, she always finds the tough but right chord to be seductive and not vulgar as the line is very thin.

“Being seductive is a part of womanhood and if a woman feels it strongly as a part of her personality, it is never represented in a wrong way. There is a very thin line between being seductive and vulgar, but it comes from the performer. I think I never fell in the grey area or went over the top because I am a strong-headed actor and I feel seductive as a woman.

“So whatever bold dance that I performed on-screen, it never looked vulgar,” Urmila told IANS in an interview.

In times of social media, several actresses who wear bikinis and bold outfits get criticism.

Asked if people are becoming over critical and bully actors, Urmila said: “Yes, that is happening. But in the era of social media, when we are putting out our videos, photos for promotional purpose and giving our audience a chance to share their opinion, we should expect both good and bad. Otherwise, one shouldn’t put it out there at the first place.(Also Check: When Urmila Matondkar’s first thought was that the news of Sridevi’s demise was a rude joke

“Having said that there is a difference between constructive criticism and personal attack. As actors, we should identify that before considering the opinion. One should never take the latter to their heart, never”, she added.

Urmila’s career has been a mix of films in the commercially successful space as well as those with strong content with titles like “Bas Ek Pal”, “Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara” and “Pinjar”.

Was it a conscious decision to balance out both kind of cinema?

“Not really, because for me, every character that I play is an experience. So, the criteria were to try out something that I have never done before… Then of course overall story, the director… But it was never a strategy to balance out commercial and art house cinema. It was never that.

“Look, our film industry now is going through a transition where some films are made on a middle-aged woman. I think it is a combination of what the audience wants to watch and what makers can deliver. I do not think there is any dearth of stories, but with the success of each film, makers will gain confidence to make more films on women of all ages,” said the 44-year-old who is not really planning for her next film outing with any filmmaker soon.

“Life goes on between what we plan and what the situation offers us. Like the way I did not plan ‘Bewafa beauty’, my next film will come to be when it is destined to happen,” she winked.