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Friday, June 9, 2023

Varun Sharma: Understanding the Life Behind the Laugh

Comedy is a serious business but one person who seems to have mastered this craft is Varun Sharma.

The actor got his major breakthrough in 2013 with Fukrey as Choocha, which won him many awards including Star Guild Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role and the Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role.

Since then, he has not looked back and has proceeded to tickle our funny bones in films likDolly Ki Doli, Dilwale and Raabta, to name a few.

Varun has the knack of entertaining the audiences with his witty humour and energy, hence makes for an amazing host too for shows and corporate events.

Recently, the actor was recently in London on a mini-vacation, as well as shooting for Nitesh Tiwari’s Chichhore starring Shraddha Kapoor and Sushant Singh Rajput.

Acting being one of his talents, kindness and empathy are his distinctive qualities as a human being. Varun has every bit of compassion and cares for all around him.

In a special catch-up with Filme Shilmy, we get to know more about Varun Sharma’s journey and his craft. 

You seem to have a natural flair in comedy. What would you attribute this to?

Thank you! To be very honest, I always wanted to get into acting. It was always my passion since I was 7/8 years old.

When I was learning the skills of acting i.e. theatre and plays in school/college, it’s interesting how I never thought I could do comedy.

I used to do serious theatre. I never really attempted to do comical plays.

So before Fukrey, I never thought I could make people laugh or smile.

Once I auditioned for it, I got the part and the film came out, people accepted me for it. That’s when I realised that I could make people laugh.

I never realised that this was one genre which I think I would fit in.

Nothing was planned, but as I started doing more such roles, I started to enjoy it.

It’s an amazing feeling to make people smile.

After completing your studies, you did commercials. Was it quite a difficult journey to get your first film breakthrough?

It was. I was studying for my filmmaking course in Punjab and then came to Mumbai for an internship.

The closest field to acting is casting, so I went into that and assisted Nandini Sikand in the casting department of films like Student Of The Year, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Talaash (to name a few).

The process of getting my film breakthrough was tough. There were a lot of rejections that I particularly faced before signing my first film.

However, persistence is key. You just have to constantly persevere despite people rejecting or telling you that you’re not good enough.

Looking back, I can say that my journey has been beautiful. It’s magical because I still don’t know how it happened.

It’s been fun and I hope it continues being so.

The Fukrey character Choocha really put your movie career on the map. What could relate the most with him?

I would relate the most with him because he is this happy-go-lucky person. He just speaks out whatever is there in his heart.

That happens a lot with me in life. I’m one of those persons who will not think before I speak.

I don’t keep anything in my heart. That quality is something which I can relate to the most.

As an actor, how do you prepare for a role like Choocha in a balanced way as it can be easy to go overboard with comedy?

There is a certain format that I follow.

Once we get the script, I keep reading the script and going through workshops with the director and the writer.

After we’ve done the narrations and readings, I go into that particular state or city for a few days to stay and be with the locals out there.

I don’t read scripts or rehearse there, I just stay there so I get to understand the mannerisms of the people out there and get a vibe of their lifestyle, speech and body language.

So that is my technique and I follow it with every part that I choose to do.

I allow the comedy aspect to come naturally rather than solely focus on it.

You’ve also done Punjabi films. Given your experience of working in both mainstream and regional cinema, how was that transition for you?

I always wanted to do a Punjabi film and I wanted to do it at the start of my career.

I was blessed to do Yaaran Da Ketchup and then did a special appearance in a film called Angrez.

Hailing from Jalandhar in Punjab myself, it’s been an amazing experience of doing Punjabi films.

The experience of working in that cinema has been really good as the Punjabi cinema is making brilliant content.

The way Indian regional cinema, as a whole, make their films is fantastic.

It’s almost like the way Hindi films are made and regional is on par with the mainstream cinema.

There isn’t much of a difference between the two besides the languages.

Given that you have done so many comics roles, how do you feel about being typecast?

I started my career on my own and I’ve loved the process and the films that I have been (and will be) a part of.

If someone says “don’t do this or else you’ll get typecast”, it’s important to know that for an actor, to get cast on a regular basis in big films is a challenge in itself.

So typecasting comes later. Right now, my focus is to be cast in big and good films on a regular basis.

If I don’t do films in fear of being typecast, then there’s no point nor fun in it.

This particular genre of comedy has given me recognition, acceptance and love from the audience.

I enjoy making people smile and making them laugh.

It’s an amazing feeling when they come up and thank you for that. The feeling is beautiful.

What style of characters are you keen on exploring now?

I really want to try out some different genres like a grey or negative character.

It would be interesting to play a hard-core crazy/psychopathic character.

Now that I’m meeting people and looking for it, hopefully, it happens soon.

That is definitely the space I want to be in as it is totally opposite to what people have seen me do.

Finally, you also have Arjun Patiala and Rooh Afzah in the pipeline. In what way do you feel your roles in these films will stand out for you?

Arjun Patiala is a buddy-cop film. Both Diljit Dosanjh and I are playing cops. My character is very quirky and mad.

It’s set in Patiala (as the title suggests) and the flavour of North India is beautifully explored in this film.

Chichhore is an ensemble film which is very soulful and entertaining.

Rooh Afzah is a hard-core horror comedy, which is actually a new genre I am exploring.

I just finished doing a movie with Sonakshi Sinha and Badshah.

The flavour of each film is different, but one thing common in all of them is entertainment and making people smile and laugh.

However, I’m trying to do that through different dialects, languages and settings.

With his continuous endeavour to entertain the viewers, Filme Shilmy wishes Varun all the very best for his multiple projects!

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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