Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In Conversation with Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan

From being the star kid, you're slowly becoming one of the most bankable actors in Bollywood. How has the experience been so far? 

Alia: This is something I've wanted to do ever since I was a child. It wasn't because my parents were actors. It has always been in me to want to be an actor. You can call it genes cause my father's father was a filmmaker, father's mother was an actor, my dad is a director, my mother and sister are both actors, so it does run in the family but I also work towards it a lot. I make sure the choices I make are different and at the same time entertaining and substantial.

What's your earliest childhood memory when it comes to films?

Alia: I recall sitting in front of the TV in my shorts and a gunjee. We had a small silver TV back then. I was watching Karishma (Kapoor) and Govinda (it has to be one of Varun's dad's films), dancing in the garden, and then on the road, and then in the bedroom, and I was just wondering how they were doing it, how quickly they were changing clothes, and why are they dancing on the road? Why isn't anyone stopping them? (laughs). And my first feeling was wow, I want to be there. I didn't know who I wanted to play - Karishma Or Govinda (laughs) I just knew I wanted to be there. That was my fondest first memory of knowing or realizing this was it. And from there on, my fondness just grew to a point where when I saw Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, I cut my hair 'cause Kajol had short hair.

Do you take advice from your parents? 
Alia: I take my own decisions when it comes to choosing films. I go with my instinct and if there's anyone I will need to talk to, it will be Karan (Johar).  

Varun: Not really. I think once I've chosen the role, and if my dad knows the character, he gives me a few references from the past that I can use, but I never take advice on choosing a film. 

This is your second outing together and your onscreen chemistry is quite palpable in HSKD. How comfortable are the two of you otherwise? 

Alia: We've known each other before we were anybody, before we were actors. So that ways we share a very special relationship. We've never lost touch. We just became better friends but doing this film together was not because we were such good friends but because we both really believe in the story and love our characters. The characters in the film share a love-hate relationship, which is pretty much our equation in real life. 

Any fun, memorable moments on the sets? 

Varun: I remember in Chandigarh, after we had wound up for the day, Shashank (director) had asked me to stay back to shoot a scene. There was this rope with which I was supposed to climb three floors. And he had scheduled this for five in the morning. I wondered why. Alia had already packed up for the day. It was freezing. I could barely move. Somehow, I eventually managed. To my utter shock, when we saw the film, the scene had been removed (laughs).

Alia: We were shooting in Delhi for a scene outside the Delhi University, where we were supposed to eat kulche chole. It was a montage cut for the song Samjhawan. And I was so busy eating that I almost forgot the camera was rolling. I think it is one of my favorite moments. It's come out so natural 'cause we were genuinely enjoying ourselves, eating and playing pranks on each other.   

A director you'd like to work with? 

Alia: Ayan Mukherjee

How do you take to criticism?

Alia: I think if one can accept praise, one should also accept criticism. Even if you don't believe in the criticism, you have a motivation to prove somebody wrong and that's the best feeling in the world, because that gives you the most drive.  

What does success mean to you?

Varun: Audience's love.  

Do you fear competition? Who is your biggest competition?

Alia: Without competition, there's no fun. Honestly, your biggest competition is with the last film you've done. If it is a hit, you try to make a bigger hit or at least as good as the first. Ninety percent of the time, the competition is with yourself and of course, looking at other people do good work, good films and make the right choices also inspires you to do the same. 

Varun: I second what she's said. I once told Hrithik how amazingly well he dances and acts, and he told me that the fact that you can see it in me and get inspired, means there's something of it within you. I think someone's success should always inspire you to believe that you can achieve it too. 

Of all your films, which has been the most special?

Alia: Each film, each experience gives you something different. It's tough to pick one. It's like having to choose between your kids. But I definitely feel each film changes you as a person and that process started for me with HighwayThat has been my biggest changeover as a person and as an actor. While all films are very close to my heart, Highway remains exceptionally special. 

Varun, would you do an adult comedy if offered? 

Honestly, I would have a lot of apprehension for the fact that Student of The Year and Main Tera Hero have brought along young fan following, most of who are children. I wouldn't want to disappoint them. May be I'd have done it earlier but not now.

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