This week’s big Bollywood release Dilwale may be reuniting iconic onscreen pair Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, but it also has Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon in key roles.
The two rising stars romance each other in the big-budget action comedy. Shot at exotic locations around the world, the film is expected to clock up huge numbers at the box office. The confident youngsters enjoyed playing key roles in the high-profile movie release and were in good spirits when Eastern Eye caught up with them over Chinese food at a hotel in central London.
What was it like being cast in a film with Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol?
Kriti: I was very excited. Of course I have grown up watching their films and never thought I would be an actor. So acting in the same film as them was a huge deal for me.
Varun: You know how when you think something is really cool, but it doesn’t live upto your expectations? This wasn’t like that at all, and exceeded all my expectations. I’ll give you an example – we were on set chilling when the song Tujhe Dekha came on in the background. Shah Rukh sir and Kajol ma’am were just fooling around, but then they looked at each other and did a small jig, and I just got goosebumps watching them. Dilwale is history in the making for me. A new generation who don’t know about the magic of Shah Rukh and Kajol will experience history. They both are magical in the film.
Varun, you seem to jump into the deep end with every film. Where does that courage come from?
Varun: Risks are more fun. It’s more enjoyable to do things that are unexpected because what is the worst thing that can happen? You can fail. My risks will be calculated. Doing a certain brand of comedy in a film that has Shah Rukh and Kajol is not easy for someone in my position. Acting with these big actors is a risk, but I put myself out there. Let’s see if I swim or sink.
Kriti, everyone is saying you’re incredibly confident in this film. What is the secret to that?
Kriti: I really don’t know. I think the reason I probably thought I can become an actor was when I was modelling and doing TV commercials. I somehow didn’t feel conscious in front of the camera. Also, confidence does come from a lot of people around you and actors you are working with. When you work with a Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, and Rohit Shetty is directing and telling you what you’re doing is right, you just feel a little more confident about yourself and think I can do it.
Varun: She is a very confident girl and doesn’t get fazed at all. I know this because I talk crazy stuff in interviews. (Laughs) I talk nonsense. But it doesn’t unnerve her or make her feel anything ill towards me. She understands the joke and gets back on with work. Kriti is that kind of a person. Even if you push her against the wall, she will come back stronger and will handle herself. She is meant for this business.
What can you tell us about your characters?
Kriti: We can’t tell you too much about the story because then there is no fun when you watch it. I can tell you about our characters Veer and Ishita, though. Their love story is very real and something today’s generation can relate to. It’s very honest, innocent and has got sweet moments.
Ishita is a simple girl next door. She is strong headed and independent. If she feels something, she says it. Whatever she feels is right, she says it, and I think the reason that she falls for Veer is the honesty that is there in him. He is pure at heart. I think that’s what kind of attracts her to him.
Varun: On the other hand, Veer, I think, is like a Dennis The Menace. He’s super confident and thinks he is very cool, but the minute he comes across this girl he doesn’t know what to say. He starts lying, starts making up things and a lot of comical situations arise from that. He is scared of his brother and doesn’t want to disappoint him. But he has got a heart of gold. He will never go against his family, no matter what. He might seem very jovial and mischievous, but he actually isn’t. So I think it was challenging in that sense. In the second half of the film there are a lot of twists and turns. The graph of my character totally changes.
Kriti: I love the fact how Veer and Ishita have this balance. He is totally crazy and she is soft. Ishita is a little more mature as compared to Veer and is a little calmer. I think the balance we all kind of look for in a relationship is there.
Varun: They say opposites attract and that is totally there in our characters. They are polar opposites. I teach her how to enjoy life, she teaches me how not to lie, how to grow up a little bit and take responsibilities for my actions. We fulfil each other in that sense.
Director Rohit (Shetty) is known to play practical jokes on newcomers. Did he do that to you?
Kriti: I think the maximum jokes were played on (co-star) Varun Sharma.
Varun: There weren’t pranks, but there was a little bit of bullying.
Kriti: (Laughs) With Varun, the one thing we all did was we told him Kajol ma’am was really upset because he was showing a lot of attitude. We told Shah Rukh and Kajol to play along.
Varun: They both shouted at him and he was nearly in tears.
Kriti: He was red. For one second we thought he was going to start crying. But then we would just burst out laughing.
Varun, is it distracting when you are acting opposite someone as hot as Kriti?
Varun: Yes, it can be a little distracting, but not really with Kriti because she looks and talks a certain way. (Laughs) I’m telling you she looks like a supermodel; the height, the way she dresses, the way she looks. She is incredibly great looking, but I think because of the relationship we share, we are so kind of free and real with each other. She’s like a tomboy and would be one of the boys even if she dressed in the skimpiest dress.
Finally, why should we watch Dilwale?
Kriti: It is a family entertainer and a complete package. It takes you through this rollercoaster ride of emotions. There are intense moments where you feel sad and might start crying, then there are moments where you laugh out loud. Then there is heart-warming family bonding, which will put a smile on your face. I think it’s got everything that a family would want to go together and watch.
Varun: It is an emotional rollercoaster, like she said. You won’t believe that you’ll laugh at stuff where you’re supposed to get serious. Rohit sir has played on those situations. There’s romance, drama, action and comedy. They say there are nine emotions in acting, and all those are there in this film and you will feel each of them. So that is why I feel Dilwale is a special film.
Dilwale is in cinemas now.