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Posted at: Apr 15, 2019, 8:40 AM; last updated: Apr 15, 2019, 8:40 AM (IST)

In a happy space

The Kalank jodi, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt, do Bhangra in Jalandhar, and plenty of soul-searching too...
In a happy space
COUPLE CHEMISTRY: Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt in Jalandhar

Aparna Banerji

At a very young age, Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt, celebrated as ‘the’ Bollywood pair for their sparkling on screen chemistry, have earned respect for their unusual and challenging roles. The duo stopped over in Jalandhar for their short, but simulating gig at the Lovely Professional University. 

Despite an extremely politically charged Bollywood, and the ongoing controversy over the Modi biopic, the duo — known to keep a distance from politics - said as young actors they were happy to be in their own space.

Both dressed in a traditional attire (almost colour-coordinated) in blue and pink, they spoke at length about their ‘mutually’ intense and ‘consuming’ outing in the period drama Kalank for which Alia gave up coffee and Varun, chicken. Here are excerpts from the conversation: 

What amount of hard work did Kalank take?

Varun: After Badlapur, many people were asking me why I wasn’t doing an intense character. With Zafar, I felt those things after many years. I play a lohar (blacksmith) in the film and had to look ribbed on certain areas. I requested the makers to get a gym on sets. I followed a scientific diet and gymmed thrice a day. During the making, my personal life took a backseat. 

Alia: This role was particularly challenging for me. A lot of Roop (the character Alia plays in Kalank) — is internal. She can’t be external. I used to call Abhishek the ‘inception’ of directors because he would ask me to give an emotion within an emotion within an emotion. I have scraped through so many layers within myself. Playing Roop made me reach corners and points within myself, which I probably never knew till a few days ago.

What do you admire about each other?

Varun: Her sehensheelta (patience); the way she conducts herself in public. At her age, she has achieved the success others can only dream of. The choices she has made have paved the way for other actors to think outside the box. She has lessened the gap between Indie and commercial.

Alia:  His dedication. His ability to listen. Despite being a successful actor, he has no arrogance. Whether he does anything bad or cracks a joke, we always refer to Varun as pure. He comes from a pure place.

Polarisation in Bollywood?

Varun: Let me put it this way. There are two people on different sides — whether it’s Anupam Kher and Vishal Dadlani. And they are very vocal about their political sides. I have worked with both of them and I have spoken to both of them. In personal interactions, they don’t seem to have any kind of polarised notion in their mind. It’s just that if you feel any certain political party should come into power, you support that. 

Alia: I don’t think we have been polarised. At the end of the day, we all believe we are in a democracy. Part of this is having your own thoughts and freedom of your thoughts. So, honestly, polarisation will exist because we all are entitled to our own opinions and thoughts. 

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