agree with what he is doing.
Badlapur does have entertainment,
but it is a mature drama. It is not an
action film like Taken or Ghayal.
I would like viewers to come on time,
watch the beginning and then be a little
attentive to the movie.
Why did you cast Varun Dhawan?
Varun was the first actor we met for
this role. I had not seen Student Of The
Year (Varun’s debut) as it is not my kind
of cinema. I saw it after we cast Varun.
Varun was enthusiastic. I liked the
way he responded to the story.
Someone else would have said, ‘I have
just started my career. I don’t want to
do a serious film and I have an image
to maintain.’ His only question was ‘Do
you think I can do it?’
I told him to take a few days to think
about it, though he had instantly
agreed to do it. I was worried that his
father may not want him to do such a
film so early in his career. His father
was my senior in the Institute (Film
and Television Institute of India). I asked
Varun whether he had told his father. He
said he had told him a little bit, but he had
told his elder brother (Rohit) everything
and he encouraged him to do it.
I think Varun took a bold step by signing
this film. If it works, it will give him a lot
Varun’s character is very dark...
Yes, the story was like that. Other than
in the flashback, he smiles only once in
the movie. Otherwise, he is a totally serious character.
Did you take any inputs from your docu-
mentary on the serial killer Raman Raghav
No, the only connection was that Nawaz
(Nawazuddin Siddique) had seen the
Working with Nawaz I felt very much
like I was working with Raghuvir Yadav
(who played Raman Raghav). They have
the same method of working — you give
them any scene, they will study it, digest it
and improvise. You see the same thing but
in a different version, which I could have
Since Nawaz was improvising, Varun
was forced to do better. I got a lot of interesting performances in this film.
How did Varun prepare?
When I lost my father many years ago, I
remember that my own breakdown happened three to four days later. I told him
to check with people how they dealt with
loss, how people react to sad situations.
He talked to people who have lost some-
You are a Vijay Anand fan…
one in their life. I was happy with his
Yes. The movies that you watch when
you are 12, 14 years old are the ones that
stay with you.
My favorites are Johny Mera Naam,
Teesri Manzil and Guide. I understand the grammar and technique
of his films. You have to watch
those films to understand filming.
I think he is the most under-rated
filmmaker in India. He was ahead
of his time. He was the most successful and expensive director.
(Producer) Vinod Doshi told me
that in the early 1970s, Anand
charged Rs 75 lakh (Rs 7.5 million
or $120,500), which was a huge
amount of money then.
… And Varun has said you men-
tioned Vijay Anand on the sets
almost every day. Did you ask him
to watch Anand’s films for
I told Varun to see lots of films,
not to copy, but to understand.
I asked him to watch the kind of films he
doesn’t usually watch, like Dead Man
Walking and 21 Grams. Also, 1970s and
1980s films, as they are more serious.
He started watching Vijay Anand films
on his own as his father (director David
Dhawan) is a huge fan.
You launched Neil Nitin Mukesh
in Johnny Gaddar (a film that paid hom-
age to Anand’s Johny Mera Naam), but his
career never took off. What went wrong?
He was very good in my film, but what
happened after that I don’t know.
Sometimes, it is just bad choice of roles.
He has worked with many big and good
directors, but his career didn’t take off. If
he is a good actor, one right film will bring
him back in the limelight.
None of your films have worked at the
You are right. But people have
seen Johnny Gaddaar and Ek Hasina
Thi afterwards on You Tube.
Many people saw Agent Vinod and didn’t
like it. But that is the only one that made
some money. I did many things so that the
film would make money. Like when
Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan are trying to escape, they do a mujra in Pakistan.
I thought if there is Kareena, I should get
her to do a mujra. These are the little dis-honesties that I did. We do it for all the
right reasons, but it backfires sometimes.
I can you tell you 10 films where people
have done worse things and the audience
did not mind it.
You have done only four films
in 11 years.
Yes, I am trying to hurry up
I met Kamal Haasan after Agent
You wanted to make a franchise
Vinod and he said, ‘You have
found the secret, please tell me.’
He said, ‘You are going to live
for 200 years, na That’s why
you are taking so much time to
make one film!’
He told me to make films
faster. Now I have understood
what he meant and I am making
of Agent Vinod.
Had the film turned out well at
the box office, I would have
made a franchise. I still want to make a
good spy film with Saif Ali Khan.
I am making a film based on Vikas
Swarup’s Accidental Apprentice. I intend
to fine-tune the script now.
Would you like to remake any of Vijay
I wouldn’t like to remake any film. If you
do a remake, it feels like you are doing a
job. A film has to be your adventure. n
BOLLYWOOD M14 THE MAGAZINE
India Abroad February 27, 2015 FOR THE THRILL OF IT
From left, director Sriram Raghavan with actor Varun Dhawan and Badlapur co-producer Dinesh Vijan.