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Monday, 19 January 2015

Varun Sharma: I want to make my mother roam the entire world...........

Varun Sharma, 24, is simple, shy and affectionate. He has had a pampered upbringing and can get carried away easily, but he is also completely focused and hard-working. He is emotional, but shies from showing his emotions. He is religious and wants to make his mother proud. Ahead of his upcoming romantic drama comedy Dolly Ki Doli, he talks to Bombay Times about the warm Arbaaz Khan, why he misses his father and what makes him remain focused in life. Excerpts:

Let's talk about your background?
I am a Punjabi from Jalandhar. I did my schooling from The Lawrence School - Sanawar in Kasauli. I remember I was very young when I started dancing on my bed watching the song 'Yeh kaali kaali...' fromBaazigar and I would tell my parents that I wanted to get into acting. But my parents thought it was a kid's craze that I would get over within a month or two. Sanjay Dutt is an alumnus of Sanawar. On our Founder's Day, he was coming as the Chief Guest to my school. There was a play that was going to be taking place for him, so I requested my teachers that just make me do something in the play. I won't even mind standing just behind, but I want to act and be on stage. They put me as an extra standing on stage and while I didn't get to meet Sanjay Dutt and was just running behind him, I had decided that bas yeh hi karna hai mujhe. Post Class X, due to some family reasons, I had to come back to Jalandhar. I then went to Chandigarh to finish my graduation in filmmaking from there and did a course in Media Entertainment and Film Technology. I also started doing theatre and performed plays nationally. I thought the closest to acting would be casting, so post-graduation, I shifted to Mumbai to work with casting director Nandini Shrikent and assisted her in TalaashYeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and many other films.

How did you get Fukrey?
It's such a coincidence that the first film office I visited in Mumbai, was of Excel Entertainment with Nandini. who was casting for Talaash. I did not know anyone from the film industry even remotely. I was with Nandini for over a year- and-a-half. She knew I wanted to act and wherever possible, she would even take my auditions for a role. She was very supportive when I wanted to go for auditions and she asked me to audition for Fukrey. When I got the confirmation that I had been chosen for Fukrey, it was the happiest moment of my life. I called up my mom in Jalandhar and she said, 'Meri toh tapasya hogayee poori.' After that my life changed. Wherever I go, I am still called Choocha. I consider it my victory that I am known by my character name and I now hope that it will change to Manjot or Chaddha sahab after Dolly Ki Doli. I am extremely grateful to Nandini, as it is because of her that I got exposed to films and she allowed me to audition even when I was working there. And then Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani, as it takes a lot to give a chance to a newcomer and put your money behind him. Ritesh sir and Mrighdeep Singh Lamba sir really believed in me.

What is the family reason you left Sanawar after Class X for?
I lost my father. He had diabetes and high BP and so he died of kidney failure. My mother wanted me to come back, not because of financial reasons, but because she felt insecure about me and she felt that I should be at home. I had always been a very pampered child. He was into export-import of tools, while my mother was a lecturer of Fine Arts. She is a painter. So it's in my blood to be artistic, even though my handwriting is so bad that I can't even sign autographs.

Listen to songs of Dolly Ki Doli on Gaana.com

Who do you love the most in the world?
My entire world consists of just my mother and my younger sister, who now lives with me in Mumbai. My mom has done too much for me. It's not easy for a single mother to send her child to Mumbai alone, where everything is so uncertain. She knew that I won't have a fixed salary on a monthly basis. My father died in 2005. It was not easy for her to live alone in Jalandhar from that time. But I am happy that my mother is retiring this year and will then be moving to Mumbai to live with me. Just today, I have bought a new car and my mom is in Mumbai visiting me, so it's a big day.

Did you make friends working on Dolly Ki Doli?
Pulkit is a dear friend. Arbaaz sir also, I never knew that he is so humble. I can now just go talk to him about anything, even personal career-related stuff. Arbaaz sir selected me. I have grown up watching his family's films. I was all excited when I got the first call from him. It was a really big thing. He makes you so comfortable and gives you such a family vibe on set and would even sometimes send us food from his house. He has pampered us so much on the set that it will be hard for me to shift out and work in another place.
Is there someone you really aspire to work with?
With Salman Khan. I was studying in Chandigarh when they were shooting for London Dreams. That was the first time I saw him. I was asked to do a cameo, where I played a dulha. He saw Fukrey and hugged me. He is someone I would love to share screen space with.

Did comedy happen to you by design?
It happened accidentally. I never thought that I could make people laugh.

Special moments in your life?
When I got Fukrey, I called my mother and there was a beautiful two-minute silence. There was no emotion. In Punjabi I just said, 'Pairi pauna.' Then when I got my first award was a special moment. She felt very nice when Bombay Times chose me as the Best Actor In A Comic Role and she has kept the cutting. Every actor comes into Mumbai hoping to one day see themselves on the cover of Bombay Times. I will be framing this interview of mine.

Do you miss your father?
Of course. My dad too was self-made and yet, he gave his family such a good quality of life. I remember after the screening of Fukrey, my mother and sister hugged me after watching it, but I really missed my dad. He always supported me in becoming an actor. He always said, 'Whatever your dream is, follow that.' That day I just wanted to hug him and tell him, 'Dad, it's happened.' While driving back home, my sister and mom sat at the back in the car and I cried, sitting in the front. We reached home and I went down on the pretext of wanting to walk in my society and while walking, I talked to myself and cried.

What now?
We have seen tough times. My mother has stayed alone in Jalandhar for a long time and has done too much for me. Now, it's happy times. I shifted to Mumbai in 2011. I now want to work really hard to make my family happy. My mom has always been with me. For instance, when I wanted to come to Mumbai, everyone would say, 'Don't send the boy alone. Why are you sending him?' But she said, 'No beta, this is something you wanted to do for years, I am giving you the chance to go there and do that. Just remember that you can do that and have your share of fun and chilling and all that, but that it takes a lot of courage to send you there, so work towards that. Whenever I feel that I am not focusing, I remind myself of what she told me and am back to working harder. Now, when I go back to Jalandhar, kids come and see me before they go to school and my relatives will drive seven hours just to see me. That gives her a lot of happiness. When I came to Mumbai, I did not get a call back after any of my first five auditions. It was scary and it still haunts me. I broke down and would then talk to myself. I want to do a lot of films. I really want to make my mother and sister roam the entire world.

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