Sahil Vaid and Gaurav Pandey got their big break with Shashank Khaitan’s Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and also featured in Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Here are Vaid and Pandey in conversation with Rohini Nag Madnani, about their equation with their director, their co-actors Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt
What is the basic difference between the friendship in Badrinath Ki Dulhania and in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, vis-à-vis the lead character?
Sahil Vaid (SV): In Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Poplu, Shonty and Humpty were college friends, not childhood friends. No doubt, that too is a close friendship but it lacks maturity. In Humpty Sharma… we didn’t mind getting beaten up for each other but, in this film, not only do we get beaten up for each other, we beat up each other too when the need arises, to make one another understand certain things.
Poplu and Humpty were college friends but, here, Badri and Somdev are childhood friends. The audience may or may not have noticed but Somdev doesn’t have a family in the film; he is always with Badri, and they are like brothers. In this film, even the kind of friendship that Badri and Somdev develop with Gurmeet is very mature. Not only is the level of friendship in this film much more mature, all the characters in this film are very mature.
I am not saying that Humpty’s characters were not mature but their issues and problems were relatively insignificant, like the girl is unable to buy designer lehenga and the big thing in the film was that the girl buys a car for the boy, which was the interval point. That was a very innocent film. But, in this film, the issues are at a societal level.
Gaurav Pandey (GP): I don’t have a lot to play in this film. In Badrinath… when the story shifts to Singapore, they meet me. I am a sardar who is born and raised in Singapore and I work as a DJ. My girlfriend Akanksha is Vaidehi’s (Alia Bhatt) friend. That is how I meet them. I help Badri and Somdev when they end up in jail.
My character Shonty too had done similar things for them in Humpty… to get information out for them, guiding them… I feel this is the similarity between both the characters. Other than that, as far as screen space and appearance goes, there was a major difference between the two. There is a vast difference in the character sketch with, of course, similarities in nature. And, like he said, the age difference… In that film, we were in our early 20s and here we are in our late 20s. So, in a way, we are a step ahead.
SV: Now bus ye na ho ke third instalment mein hum 40 saal ke character play na kare. (Laughs)
How were both of you approached for the second instalment of the film?
SV: I will tell you how Gaurav got the film. When I first learnt about the sequel and its story, my first question to Shahank was, ‘Is Gaurav doing this film?’ He told me, ‘Although, I would love to have him in this film too, there is no substantial character in the film for Gaurav.’ I was upset that Gaurav would not be part of this film. And when we were approached for the film, the second half was not yet ready.
GP: Shashank sat me down and told me he was planning Badrinath… and I told him that I would love to help with the film, if not in front of the camera then behind the camera.
SV: (Cuts in) Actually, he knew
before I did that I was going to be part of Badrinath…
GP: Shashank was waiting for the right time to reach out to him. He had asked me not to tell Sahil, so I didn’t.
SV: When we finished shooting the first half of the film, we had no clue that we would be going to Singapore to shoot as Shashank was still working on it. As he completed the second half of the film, he called me to read the script as we were about to start shooting for it.
When I read the second half, there was a character of a policeman that I felt would be perfect for Gaurav. But later I found out that there were some changes and the cop was to be played by a woman, and later Gauhar Khan played that part. But the interesting thing is that no one had thought of Gurmeet’s character and auditions for the same were going on.
GP: I got a call from the AD of the film Raj (Mehta). He asked me if I had any pictures of me dressed as a sardar, which I sent him. Then I got a call from Shashank, who told me they had already shot the first half of the film and would be going to Singapore to shoot the second half. He said there was a character they wanted me to play. Shashank explained the character to me and it was an instant yes from me.
SV: And the day I got Badrinath… I was feeling low as I had lost my father only a few days earlier. I remember the phone call… Shashank had called and told me I was doing the film. I was not really happy that I had got such a beautiful film, given the circumstances, but the excitement gradually filtered in.