Actor Varun Dhawan says the meaning of life and success changed for him post Covid-19 pandemic. The actor, who tied the knot with his childhood sweetheart Natasha Dalal during the pandemic, called himself a “complete family man” who has a fresh perspective on life now. He believes that coping with stress of “chasing success” can affect one’s acting and he now wants to start from scratch and do content-heavy cinema.
The actor, who made his Bollywood debut with Alia Bhatt and Siddharth Malhotra in Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year in 2012 has completed 10 years in the industry. He, however, feels the need to reinvent and start from ground zero.
On being asked if he is satisfied with his career graph, he said, “I don’t feel satisfied, but I feel happy because I got an opportunity to do so much. But now, after the pandemic, I feel that everything is restarting… starting from scratch, so I feel like a newcomer right now. I feel like I have to start all over again and get back into things, but I don’t want to do it the same way I did back then. In my first eight years, as an actor, I was very stressed out. Of course, I was also having fun because I was in that age, but I would constantly feel some stress. Now I want to enjoy it and concentrate on good content.”
When asked what the nature of stress he was dealing with, Varun says it emanated from success. “Society puts a kind of pressure on all of us and defines what success is, and whether you are successful or not. You are made to feel that if you are not successful, you are no good, not a good person. And one starts believing it too, ‘am I a failure?’ Then you run behind success so much that your relationships suffer, you forget how to enjoy life, and that can also affect your acting. This was my introspection during the pandemic. I have realised how important it is to be happy in life. If we become upset, we’ll not be able to our day-to-day work also. If you are happy, you’ll do good work and if you do good work, you’ll be happy. If you work only for money, you won’t have fun working.”
Varun tied the knot with Natasha in February 2021. Talking about marriage and how he has turned into a family man now, he shared, “After marriage, there is a kind of patience and understanding of different viewpoints. I’ve learnt that marriage is like a partnership, and family is everything. My family is of utmost importance of me, I don’t take it for granted anymore.”
He calls wedded life amazing. “It is how you look at it — I am enjoying it, and we are happy together. It is my responsibility that I should be a good husband and she should be a good wife. We are having a good time as we are getting more time to spend with each other.”
There have been reports that Varun’s father, filmmaker David Dhawan, has not been keeping well and was rushed to hospital recently with diabetes-related complications. “Every moment I spend with my father is priceless. When I was younger and if I wasn’t keeping well, he would get me a new GI Joe figure as I loved the toy. Once I was very unwell, and he got me three of them. But now, when I am growing older and when my dad falls sick, it is a different kind of worry, I understand now what one goes through when a loved one is not well. I am in my 30’s I finally understand this, maybe because the relationship changes over time and we have all been through it,” he said.
Varun is coming off Coolie No 1, Kalank and Street Dancer 3D, all of which failed to work as expected at the box office. The box office business has also been in a flux post-pandemic with only a couple of Hindi films managing to attract the audience. Does this put pressure on the actor with Jugjugg Jeeyo? “Good films will work; we have to only keep that in mind at this point. Everybody is stressed about films not doing well. But there would be more stress if people were not going to cinema halls at all, whether it is a south film or a Hollywood film, but that’s not the case. People are going to watch films, and overall the box office is healthy. People are watching films, they are watching Hindi films, they are watching Top Gun Maverick, Jurassic World Dominion. So, it is a good sign. Now it is up to us how we entertain them and attract them to our cinema.”
About the changing preferences of moviegoers, he said, “I have changed, evolved… everybody changes. Any cinema that showcases Indian culture and is rooted in Indian emotions, people will connect to it, because then there is a shared feeling of it being ‘ours’. We can get inspired by the west but emotions have to be ours. We can’t serve emotions in a subtle and nuanced way, people won’t get it.”
On a parting note, Varun says JugJugg Jeeyo is the “most massy Dharma film” ever made, and is hopeful that people will come to watch the film. “This is a massy film. There is Anil Kapoor and I. Even if you make us do classy work, it will look massy. It only has a Dharma logo, but the film is very massy,” Varun says.