What do Varun Dhawan and Dilip Kumar have in common? David Dhawan points out

Veteran filmmaker David Dhawan and his actor son Varun were in conversation with screenwriter Rumi Jaffery at session aptly titled Dha.One. During this session at the 49th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa recently, the father-son duo made some candid revelations.

Sriram Raghavan’s Badlapur (2015) marked a change in Varun’s career. After doing mainstream, largely romantic films early in his career, the Dhawans were shocked as to why the popular actor would choose a dark subject. It was a huge gamble, but it paid off as Varun was appreciated for his intense role.

David and Varun discussed how the young actor went into a silent zone, limiting his communication with the world around him.

Asked about the impact of the role on him, Varun said he realized later why most people on the sets didn’t speak much with him.

“It was later on that I learnt that Sriram Raghavan had instructed people on the sets not to talk to me,” he said. “It was difficult for someone like me because I am a friendly, talkative person. It became very lonely during that period.”

Asked how he recovered from that phase, Varun replied, “After Badlapur, I had gone for one or two sessions to a psychiatrist. There is nothing wrong in speaking your mind. The psychiatrist only said that if you remain in such an intense environment there will be some effect.”

David interrupted him to remind Varun that he wasn’t the first actor to have to consult a psychiatrist.

“I wanted to tell you how a film can affect a person,” the veteran filmmaker said. “Dilip Kumar is the biggest tragedy hero. He did Devdas (1955). At one stage of his life, it started affecting him. He went to the doctor. Do you know what the doctor told him? Do some light films. Then he did light films like Azaad (1955) and Ram Aur Shyam (1967).”

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After Badlapur, Varun has done films like Anybody Can Dance 2 (2015), Dilwale (2015), Dishoom (2016), Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017) and Judwaa 2 (2018) — all mainstream, light-hearted films.

Varun, who was last seen in Shoojit Sircar’s October (2018), has shot for Remo D’Souza’s dance film and is currently shooting for Dharma Productions’ Kalank.

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