India Abroad February 27, 2015
His last film, Agent Vinod, might have been a debacle, but when director Sriram Raghavan’s name pops up,
Hindi film lovers mostly remember his
remarkable earlier offerings: the thrillers Johnny Gaddar and Ek Hasina Tha.
Raghavan returns to the genre with
Badlapur, which released February 20.
What sparked the idea of Badlapur?
After Agent Vinod didn’t do well, I
was down for three months wondering
what to do next.
I read lots of books and stuff from the
Internet and came across this account by
somebody who was in jail for many years
and mentioned stories of other people
who were in jail. One story was about
somebody who married at a very young
age, but lost his wife and child. You can
move on and start your life over again.
But what if you can’t start your life again
and you are trapped in the situation?
Badlapur is the story of a man who
wants revenge, but doesn’t get a chance
for 15 years. During those 15 years he
lives in a small town, is alone and even
tries to kill himself, but he doesn’t suc-
ceed. After 15 years, he gets the chance.
People will root for him to take revenge,
but they will also question whether they
Like many of the actors of his genera- tion, Varun Dhawan is also experi- menting with his roles very early in
The 27 year old plays a 40-year-old in the
gritty revenge drama Badlapur. He talks
about how he approached a character that
is everything that he is not and how a role
like that can change the man and the actor.
Your role in Badlapur is a big change
from your usual loverboy roles.
It is necessary to be a loverboy to take
revenge in the end. You fall in love and
then you lose your love and take revenge.
That’s the reason the first few movies were
Were you fed up of the chocolate boy
I was bored laughing so I did
Badlapur. Now I am tired of my anger.
There are so many revenge dramas, how is
this one different?
There is not a single film like
Badlapur. I can bet on that. This is a Sriram
Raghavan film; his earlier films have had
How tough was this film?
It was very tough because I am not like
this in real life. I’m like Humpty (Humpty
Sharma Ki Dulhaniya) and Seenu (Main
Tera Hero) in some ways but not like Raghu
(Badlapur). And I don’t want to be him.
I don’t get angry in real life and to get this
anger out in front of the camera was tough.
It was difficult to understand how a common man can bear so much pain. To be in
the character, I had to go through that pain
and go deep in the character.
How did you prepare for the role?
Sriram had planned everything. We shot
How did you get the nuances of playing a
the film in Igatpuri. The place we stayed in
did not have AC or fans. They kept me
there on purpose so that I was isolated and
could get into the character. I have under-
gone this process for the first time in my life
and it affected me quite a bit.
It’s the first time I am playing a father, at
the age of 27.
I watched my brother who is married.
Lots of my cousins are married with kids, so
I watched them. I got to know that they
become like children in front of their wives
and how strictly they talk to their children.
What did you take from the character?
That family means everything. If I had to
imagine life without my family, it would be
Did it take you time to come out of the
character after the shooting was done?
Yes. I had become serious. Sriram had
told me not to talk to many people, so I had
to be by myself. My anger in this film is in
my eyes. I don’t like myself to be like that.
Now I will do a few comedies.
Which genre do you like doing?
Obviously, comedy. You make everyone
happy and you are also happy.
Your father David Dhawan did not want
you to do Badlapur, right?
My father was scared initially, but later he
was okay. He is a filmmaker and he understands it’s a character.
You were advised not to play this charac-
ter. What arethe reactions now?
My elder brother Rohit had encouraged
me to do the role. Once the trailer and
posters were released, I was shocked with
the response... I feel the acceptance for such
films has increased in our country.
You are not charging a fee for this film?
I have taken a fee cut. Not just me, many
people have. If Dinu (Dinesh Vijan) is ready
to produce a film like this, it is the least I
Do you know now your strengths and
I think listening to the director is the
number one strength an actor should
have. I would never be able to do a film like
this without a director like Sriram. He
believed in me, that after doing three comedies I could attempt a film like this, and
that belief has got us so far.
Raghavan’s last film, Agent Vinod, did not
do well. Was that a concern?
Not really. I react to stories and what kind
of connection I have with the director.
Directors have good and bad movies. My
You have a young fan following. Will they
father also made some flop movies... That
should not determine anything. Sriram is a
good director and this story was different.
Do you feel more confident doing films
Definitely, but more than confidence it is
about connecting with the audience.
Everything you do is connected to them.
To do a film like Badlapur is a risk. I did
it because I thought I could connect with
The film is for young people… This film is
not for kids.
From Badlapur to ABCD 2, is a big tran-
It was difficult. For ABCD 2, we started
shooting with two songs. I had to just learn
the dance and later slowly with the music
we started grooving. ABCD 2 is like rehab
I will be doing a film with my brother
Rohit, along with John Abraham. n
Varun Dhawan on his first brush with experimentation.
Patcy N listens in
discuss his new
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