Without a doubt, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan are one of the most-loved on-screen couples today. Their adorable chemistry on celluloid and an equally easy off-screen camaraderie have made them an instant hit amongst youngsters, so much so that they are popularly known as #Valia on the Internet. However, all this love and adulation comes with the weight of expectations. But our Badrinath and his Dulhania, unlike many other actors, are not one bit stressed by it; rather, they are embracing it. What’s more, with their third film together – Badrinath Ki Dulhania – they aim to charm the older generation this time around.
What was it like to team up with each other yet again? Any new discoveries about each other?
Alia Bhatt (AB): It’s always a pleasure to work with Varun. It’s very comfortable, it’s all those good things which you want in your co-actor. Varun believes in team effort and he loves encouraging everyone on the sets, not just me but even the DOP, the choreographer… everyone. He always wants to do better. And it’s always nice when you are working in a film which has so much energy, so much joy, so much laughter, so much fun, emotions… everything is at its optimal level.
Varun Dhawan (VD): You know, it brings out the best in people when they feel it’s their film or that they own the film. And, by this, I don’t mean economical ownership, more an emotional right over the film. That’s the way I like to do all my films, especially with Dharma, where I feel as if it is my banner, at the end of the day.
I feel as if it is mine, and that’s exactly how Karan (Johar) treats us. While the film was being made, he left it up to Alia and me, and said, ‘Go with your instincts. Tell me what you need and I will do it as a producer.’ When someone has so much faith in you, it’s a very big deal. He was the first person who believed in us, he was the first person who got us here. That’s the most beautiful thing… to have someone believe in your talent, in your capabilities, when the world doesn’t.
VD: Now the idea is to get even the older generation involved and that’s why Badrinath Ki Dulhania.
Good enough, but people are expecting plenty from this one. Does that make you nervous?
AB: I think we were always aware of the pros and cons of doing Badrinath Ki Dulhania. It has its pros because people who loved Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania will want to watch Badri. And people who haven’t seen Humpty but have heard about it, will probably come and see Badri. So it has its pros. But the challenge for this film is that people will compare it with Humpty, and since we are aware of that, this one is not a continuation. It’s a different kind of film. It’s a different story, different emotions.
This film didn’t even start off being Badrinath Ki Dulhania, it started as a film we wanted to make together and then we decided… I mean Karan and Shashank, they came up with the idea of making it into a franchise. And, again, it’s India’s first love franchise.
VD: It is India’s first love franchise after Aashiqui 2. I keep telling this to Karan and joking about it.
AB: No, but Aashiqui 2 had the same story, Varun, only the ending was different.
VD: Oh yeah, they were both singers. I feel more than having high expectations, you know what’s worse – having no expectations at all! The fact is you want expectations.
AB: No, I don’t think that’s worse.
Varun: No, I feel that’s worse. From the beginning of my career, I have always wanted it to be a very big deal that my film is releasing.
AB: Yeah, of course, you build up to that. When we started with Humpty, people didn’t expect much and that helped.
VD: But we were trying to build our careers. As actors, we are always trying to build that, and now when we’ve reached this stage, we should not be afraid, we have to embrace it.
AB: Yeah, we are not scared, we are embracing it.
VD: We can’t be afraid because it has to be a big deal. ‘My film is releasing’ should be a big deal. My film with her is releasing should be an even bigger deal. Obviously, we have decided to come together for something special. The audience will decide whether we are right or wrong but, honestly, we thought it was a very big deal, so we both signed this film.
What did director Sushant Khaitan unlock in you as actors this time around?
AB: A lot of emotions in Varun, for sure. I don’t think Varun has cried as much as he did in Badrinath, in a good way. And I think I have become a more mature person after playing this character.
VD: Yes, I feel I have become more emotional.
AB: It has brought out an emotional side to Varun, and since I played a… not an older girl, but a strong-headed girl, it brought about a little more maturity in me.
VD: I have become more understanding, I was never this understanding before. My patience levels and sense of empathy have increased.
AB: Bang on, it has affected us.