Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania is a love story with doses of comedy and your characters appear to be a bit quirky. Could you describe them?
Varun Dhawan: I play Humpty, the owner of Vidya Book Centre, whose world comprises of his parents and two friends. The entire film is about Humpty’s world and how it changes when Kavya (Alia Bhatt) comes into his life and Cupid strikes. Kavya is a fiery girl and I am this lazy guy who likes to write poems in English. But since I am not very adept with the language, there are some very interesting and funny scenes.
Alia Bhatt: Kavya Pratap Singh is a pataka from Ambala, and as Varun says, she is a very fiery and feisty girl. She has her values in place as she comes from a small town, is very bindaas and does not stress about life as she’s not very ambitious. Her only ambition is that she wants to get married in a Kareena Kapoor designer lehenga. She’s not really bothered who she will be getting married to, but she wants the lehenga at all cost. In her search for this lehenga, she happens to meet somebody and what happens after that is the crux of the story.
What are your your expectations from HSKD?
AB: On a Friday morning, I am generally busy with promotions so there is no time to think, but I know that Humpty… is an universal film. It’s a genre that will be enjoyed by all age groups, and I am confident that it will reach and connect with people. In that sense I am quite happy.
What was the most memorable part of the shoot?
VD: For me, it was this emotional scene at a railway station near the end of the film where I have to say a monologue while looking into Ashutosh Rana’s eyes. That was challenging because it was a three page scene that I had to do in one shot. Shashank Khaitan, the director, and I worked a lot on this scene. When I tried shooting it in parts, it just wasn’t happening, so I told Shashank to take it at one go. And that’s when the dialogues just flew. That was interesting.
AB: For me, it was the time when we were shooting the climax. We had to battle against weather as it was pouring incessantly. But the fun part of the shoot was when we were shooting at Delhi University where Varun and I had to eat this kulcha chole. We got so engrossed with that yummy meal, that we continued eating even when the director called for a ‘cut’! That was fun!
How would you describe your experience of working with Shashank Khaitan who is a first time director?
VD: Shashank comes from theatre, in fact from Naseeruddin Shah’s Motley group, so his take on acting is superb. And since he is an actor himself, every take is different and he never asked us to enact any scene in the same way. Shashank, I think is a brilliant director who extracts good performances from his actors. He really concentrated on Alia and me and you will get to see us in very different avatars.
AB: Shashank also feels that if you don’t push the button a little more each day, there’s no fun. You cannot be too satisfied with your work because when you work with him, you have to put in that little bit of extra effort. And that’s an amazing quality to have.
Both of you come from film families. Alia do you take your dad, Mahesh Bhatt’s advice when signing a film?
AB: No! I want to make my own mistakes. I go purely on instinct and when I select my films, I keep two things in mind: the quality of my role and how different it is from the others that I have done.
Varun, your dad, David Dhawan has made several comedies. How do you look back at his films and what have you learnt from him during the making of Main Tera Hero?
VD: I would repeatedly watch all of dad’s comedies. Haseena Maan Jayegi and Deewana Mastana were outstanding comedies. In fact, a lot of people have told me that we should remake Aankhen. Govinda was superb in the film and so was Kader Khan. I learnt a lot from my dad. I think he helped me get rid of all my inhibitions, taught me to be free flowing and enjoy a scene to the fullest.
And according to you, what makes for a good comedy?
VD: At the moment very few good comedies are being made. But according to me, a good comedy should have good actors, strong screenplay and some kick-ass music!
In a recent interview, David Dhawan had said that he shall only do films with you.
VD: We will definitely be doing something. I also hope to do a film with my brother.
And Alia are there any plans of you acting in your mom’s (Soni Razdan) film?
AB: Of course, it will happen sometime.
And what does your dad have to say about your acting skills? Does he comment on your films?
AB: No, but he is very happy with Highway and 2 States. He doesn’t say much because he doesn’t want to praise me too much.
You got a lot of appreciation as an actress with Highway. Has that raised expectations?
AB: There is a lot of pressure and expectations. It’s up to me that I don’t disappoint my audience, that’s why I do different films. After doing a film like Highway, I have to make sure that I select the right subject next time, because if it fails people will say she could only do it in Highway. I don’t want that to happen.
Who would you give credit to for helping you reach where you have?
AB: All my directors and co-stars. Obviously, Karan (Johar) because he got me here. But even Imtiaz (Ali), Shashank and Abhishek Verman, all of them have been very, very big influences in my life.
VD: For me, it’s been my brother. He sacrificed a lot of things for me. He always gives precedence to my needs and has been my guiding light.
What about Shaandar, is it going to be very different from the clutch of films that you have done, Alia?
AB: I can’t reveal much about Shaandar, because I am not allowed to talk about it or the other films that I have signed.
Varun, your next film Badlapur is also very different and one which required a lot of prep?
VD: A lot of mental and heavy duty prep has gone into Badlapur. Then there’s Any Body Can Dance 2 for which I am training in several different dance forms like classical, salsa, hip hop etc.
Which aspect of acting do you feel you are good at and which you feel you need to work on?
AB: I have to work on all areas at the moment. Most importantly, I have to work on my Hindi as I tend to eat up many words and there’s no clarity in my language.
Alia, how do you feel when you are compared to Kareena Kapoor Khan. Do you feel flattered or does it irk you?
AB: Everybody compares me to Kareena. I feel flattered of course, it’s a great compliment, but I do want to create my own space. Actually it’s more about the off-screen comparisons than on screen. People say that in real life I am like her, which is strange, since I have never really known her as a friend, and I don’t know how she is off screen.
Varun, you have a huge female fan following . What is the craziest thing any fan has done for you?
VD: One fan from Mumbai cut her wrist for me and sent me some pictures. I was very upset. I spoke to her mother after that.
Alia, you are a big fan of Ranbir Kapoor.
AB: Yes, I am a big Ranbir Kapoor fan and have met him a couple of times. I have been saying from day one that I would love to work with him. I think that I will learn a lot from him. He’s an effortless actor, has great energy and doesn’t try too hard; that’s what I like about him.
Did you ever imagine that you would reach where you have today?
VD: Yes, I did imagine I would be here doing films. But I am only halfway as yet, because I have imagined a lot more.
Alia, you saw stardom when you were barely 19. How do you keep yourself grounded?
AB: I have my family and friends to keep me grounded. I also feel that the minute I believe that I have achieved anything, the growth stops. And, I want to grow as an actress.
How has life changed for both of you after becoming film stars?
VD: Life changed during the making of Student Of The Year itself and then Main Tera Hero. Now, it’s going to the next level, where I have to keep moving and improving, otherwise you tend to get stuck in the same place.
AB: I have become very busy after I became an actress. I make it a point to spend time with friends who have been with me since my school days. It helps me to unwind.
Alia, how is Varun as a co-star?
AB: Varun is the only actor I have worked with twice. Besides, we have always been in touch so it was very comfortable for us to shoot together. But this time round, we were not too worried about the scenes and dialogues, and completely enjoyed working on adding different variations to the scenes.
Varun, how is Alia as a co-star?
VD: Alia is very caring and sweet. She takes good care of me. But I would want to change the way she walks. She keeps falling!