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Issue: June 2014
With just two movies, he’s stitched his position in Bollywood’s hot hunks club with a massive female following. But behind the sharp clothes, perfectly toned abs and movie star success, Varun Dhawan is just a regular guy who likes nothing better than slumming it at home with an episode of Game of Thrones. In a candid chat, he tells Farhad J Dadyburjor about the sexiest women in the industry, how he started working out to beat a deadly disease and why he can only laugh about his gaffe on Karan Johar’s talk show.
There’s no doubting it—Varun Dhawan is an abs-olute sensation. While his debut in Karan Johar’s teen opus Student of the Year happily flaunted every inch of his ripped body, his second film Main Tera Hero cemented his reputation as a dishy heartthrob. Dressed in only a towel post the photoshoot as he settles down for lunch in the hotel suite, his perfectly sculpted abs on full display with a large circular tattoo looming from one shoulder, it’s a visual most girls would kill for. So, I have to ask—has he gotten used to the oestrogen mayhem he seems to cause wherever he goes? “It’s always very overwhelming...but at the end of the day you have to remember that I never became an actor so girls could go gaga over me; I became an actor for different reasons. So my eye is always on the bigger picture,” says the 27-year-old. “I have gotten some very expensive gifts from fans. Someone gifted me Moët champagne, another gifted me an expensive watch, and I try to avoid taking them, but they just drop it off at the door. They send me their number, say ‘call me’ and sometimes use sexually explicit terms...but that’s all fine, it’s all part of being an actor. I’m sure if my films start to flop, they’ll start making fun of me.”
Has he ever had a stalker or someone who’s done something to freak him out? Varun nods and then gestures to slashing the hand. “That really did freak me out! I gave her a mindful, because it’s not cool. Usually I don’t reply but I had to reply to her because I got scared; it was the first time something like this happened. I spoke to the girl and told her that’s not the way to get someone’s attention. Also, it’s not healthy—don’t like someone so much that you need to do that for them!”
Personally, how much of a romantic is he? “Not at all.” Not at all? “I could be, but if you ask me off the top of my head I’m not romantic,” he says. “See, I don’t understand romance to be honest. I feel it’s more important if someone’s there for you when you need them. Actions speak louder than words... Sitting on benches and watching ducks and shit, no way!” Varun laughs.
Not someone who’s into “very girly girls,” ask him who’s the sexiest woman in the industry, someone he’d love to take out on a date, and Varun ponders. “Lisa Haydon. I think she’s quite hot! And what’s hot about her is her personality more than anything else—she’s very free and also spiritual,” he says, adding, “Also, Nargis (Fakhri). Again, it’s her personality that makes her hot.”
For now though that will all have to wait because if we go according to tabloid rumours, Varun is in a relationship with fashion designer Natasha Dalal. Ask him whether they’re seeing each other, and Varun says, “Very honestly, I’d rather not say because I’ve burned my fingers in the past talking about it.” So you both are seeing each other but you just don’t want to talk about it? “No, I’m not saying we are seeing each other,” says Varun. “All I’ll say is she is an old friend, which is not a lie—Natasha and me went to school together. People sometimes make things out to be way more or less, and it’s all about other people’s perceptions. Plus, she’s not from the industry so I’d rather not drag her into this,” he explains.
Having watched him scarf down a full meal of grilled chicken and vegetables with relish, often using the dinner roll to scoop up the remains of the sauce, one wonders how obsessive he is about working out in the gym. “I like the gym,” says Varun. “When I see the weights, I feel like it’s me against them—something that I need to beat. And by the time you are done, you will tire of the weights, but the weights will never tire of you. So I always feel like it’s something that I need to beat.
“While growing up, because my dad was slightly overweight and my grandmother had diabetes—it’s in my family—I was conscious about my weight. My dad had always told me that I had to make sure I didn’t get it, that I had to beat it. So that in itself was a challenge for me and inspired me to start working out,” he says, adding, “I don’t work out for films, I work out for fitness. It’s about being a healthy human being and I’m not on steroids or anything.” While he admits the pressure of always looking good as a movie star sometimes can get crazy, he’s just a regular guy in reality. “I’m not that vain, to be honest. I might have done stuff that puts me in that category, but I’m quite a bum in that manner actually. Like I had a body shoot the other day and after shooting straight for three days, yesterday I had two large pizzas by myself. I wiped them out. And there were three slices left—and since I didn’t get sleep, I ate the remaining slices watching Game of Thrones,” he laughs. “I was like destroying the pizza.”
Coming from a film pedigree (his dad is veteran director David Dhawan), Varun concedes that he was an extra bit competitive when he joined the industry. “I came in with that competitive edge. I had become so aggressive trying to get a break I think I lost a very nice side of mine in the process,” he says. “When I worked on Main Tera Hero, I saw that competitive side come back again and then go away because I was working with so many big actors and it’s so much nicer to be collaborating and working together. I enjoyed that process a lot.”
With three films on the anvil (love story Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, dance film ABCD2 and Sriram Raghavan’s dark thriller), Varun says the hardest part of acting for him is still the acting. “I did Student of the Year and that was tough in the beginning but then it got easy somewhere down the line. Then I did Main Tera Hero and that was very tough initially, really tough, and then somewhere over the last 15 to 20 days I was like, ‘I know this shit, I can do this’. Then I did Humpty Sharma...and I started off well and then there were three-four scenes that stumped me. So every time I think I know it, I fall.”
So what really drives him—fame, sex or money? “All shallow choices you’ve given me,” he laughs. “Fame is not that important for me...nor is money. So, sex naturally.”
When Varun appeared with his Student of the Year co-stars (Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt) on Koffee With Karan, his goof-up along with Alia in not knowing the President of India caused much mockery on social media and in the papers. “Poor Alia got a lot of flak for that. She’s taken it all, nothing has come to me,” he admits. “But honestly, I don’t care. It was a joke. It was a slip of the tongue—so often you know something but by mistake you say something else. I’m only going to laugh about it because obviously I was a dumb-ass. In fact I tweeted about it before the show aired that I’m stupid so you can make fun of me about it.”
He then goes on to add, “See, I can come and do an interview like that and pretend to be all deep and introspective and lower my voice and be serious and state the GDP of Brazil. But it’s so boring, man! I hate it when people do that, behave like they are something else than what they are in their living room.”
Read more in the June 2014 issue of Hi! BLITZ – the no.1 Lifestyle magazine.
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