Actors Govinda and Varun Sharma talk to Bhavi Gathani about their upcoming comedy film FryDay, and their experience of working in the film
Govinda sir what was it that attracted you to the film?
Govinda: What I loved best about the film is its potential to achieve cult status. The entire film is set in one house. It is such a nice feeling to act in the same place and yet not get bored. I liked the thought behind this film. At some point in everyone’s life, there comes a girlfriend and you experience the same situation everywhere. Yeh jo Varun aur maine start kiya hai, iski pyaas bujegi nahi jaldi. This film will remain in people’s hearts.
Actors say it is difficult to perform in the comedy genre. Do you believe comedy is innate and cannot be learnt?
Govinda: Yes, making someone laugh is very tough. It is like creating something out of nothing. Today, when people barely smile, it is very tough to make them laugh. In other genres, it is not as difficult to play on emotions and bring tears to people’s eyes, but doing comedy is very tough.
Varun Sharma (VS): A single comedy scene is the result of a combined effort… production design, the timing, the action-reaction, how a director presents the film and how the editor cuts that film. As sir said, making someone cry is not as difficult as making someone laugh.
Govinda: I can bet that yeh pyaas kabhi bujhegi nahi. Whoever watches this film will eagerly wait for the next one to release.
While acting, do you improvise or do you prefer to stick to your script?
Govinda: Varun strictly goes by the script. Woh shareef hai (Laughs). I try to tweak my character here and there and finally stick with whatever I feel is perfect. I tweak my character also because I have done 155 films and people should not feel they have watched this before. Varun was very cooperative, very polite and very decent with me. Our bonding helped the film.
What is it about FryDay that sets this film apart from other comedy films?
VS: I found the script very interesting. After a long time, I had read something set in one single location. We have not seen situational comedy for a long time. It is not only a situational comedy, but it has a blend of many different things.
Govinda: It was not easy for the writer and the director. Jaan le li hum dono ne milkar unki.
VS: The way they have ideated, written and presented the script is very interesting. For me, the bigger thing was that I got a chance to share screen space with Govinda sir, and act with him, aur unke saath ek film mein jo dance steps hai woh match kar paun. It was one of my biggest highs. Meri zindagi ka jo madhyam hai aur meri zindagi mein jo mod hai woh I think iss film ke through hai. Ever since I started my career in the industry, Govinda sir has been a mentor and an idol that I look up to. I never thought I would get a chance to work with sir in the initial stages of my career. Besides content, the most exciting part was to work with him.
Varun, since Govinda is such a senior actor, were you intimidated by him at first?
VS: Actually, no. When I met sir for the first time, he was very sweet and made me feel very comfortable. I did not feel intimidated. When you have watched someone in many films, multiple times, it is not fear but respect. If there was any fear, then sir made me quite comfortable during our first meeting itself.
Govinda: I never felt a distance with him. By the time we were on the set, we were relaxed and cool.
VS: It flowed very easily. From our DOP to our writers and technicians who were on the set, all of us enjoyed ourselves a lot.
Govinda: The way Abhishek Dogra handled everyone in the film and on the set was too good.
Varun, as an actor, what have you learnt from a senior actor like Govinda?
VS: More than as an actor, I have learnt a lot from him as a human being. As sir mentioned, 155 films is a very big number for any actor to be part of. So many years have gone into that. Spending time with someone with so much experience automatically teaches you so much. My approach to doing a scene has changed. When sir reads a scene, woh alag alag lehzo mein usko perform karke dekhte hain. Even today, he does rehearsals six to seven times before a take. And he doesn’t rehearse alone. He discusses it with others and he also takes a lot of inputs from his director and co-actors.
As an actor, I have learnt a lot. I look at a scene very differently now. On top of that, as a human being, it is very important to be grounded and to spread love and warmth. That energy is going to convert and you are going to see it on the screen.
Govinda: It is very important for a film to be successful. One needs to create a good atmosphere and while watching the film, you should feel like you should watch it again and again. Even if you watch a film after years, you should feel that there was this kind of energy on the set during the shoot. Honesty and loyalty like that creates history.
Govinda sir, what was it like to work with Varun?
Govinda: Varun is very sincere and loyal. What I say about Ranveer Singh, I would like to say the same thing about Varun Sharma. He prepared well for this role and played it with honesty. I feel that if he works a little more on his acting, he will attain superstardom. Varun is very smart and he understands the language of cinema.
What, according to both of you, is the formula to make a successful comedy film?
Govinda: It has to evoke natural laughter. That always works.
VS: Whatever you do, you should do wholeheartedly and with a lot of love. Eventually, that will reflect on screen and will be absorbed by people. If you make a project, it will not work but if you make a film, it will work.
Varun, you have largely worked in comedies. Do you worry about being typecast?
VS: For me, to get cast as an actor on a regular basis is a big deal. Being typecast comes much later (Laughs). More than being typecast, I am afraid that if I keep doing the same thing, I will not last long.
Govinda: It is possible that by doing the same thing continuously, with a bit of innovation, you might become a legend in that domain.
VS: According to me, comedy is one of the best genres. It is a genre that is enjoyed by every age group.
Are you apprehensive about breaking out of your brand of films?
Govinda: I have been very lucky that for 14-15 years I have worked in some good films. I even got some good songs. In the initial years of my career, I was tagged as a ‘masala film hero’. After the awards trend started, there was a separate category for comedy. They did not have one for romance or action, but they created a separate category for comedy. At that time, I felt as if people were trying to sideline me and did not want to label me as a hero any more. But I also believe that if you are successful at something and if you want to try something new, you have to work hard to succeed in that. I had done different films like Marte Dam Tak, Sindoor and Hatya and those films also worked. I had to work very hard for them.
In 2016, in an interview, you said, “I never selected subjects to win a National Award. I did films that made the masses happy.” Is box office performance so important to you?
Govinda: Everything is important in life. You cannot say that a National Award is not important. I believe that when you are at the top, you should constantly push your limits and move out of your comfort zone. If people get to see you in a different form, they will feel good. At the same time, do not move away from your forte.
So, how diligently do you follow box office numbers?
Govinda: It is very important. It is an art. People who understand it keep tabs on the collections of films. The language of box-office collections is worth understanding. Box office numbers are like an award.
VS: It is important. It is a part of business.