'Sui Dhaaga' stars Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma were a riot in the t2 house
Ushnota Paul (Team t2): This is your first film together…
Varun: Are you sure this is our first movie together?
Ushnota: Yes! Do you remember the first time you met each other?
Varun: I don’t think it was for this film… We didn’t actually know each other that way. The first time we met was at a coffee shop…
Anushka: It was at a coffee shop right under the old Dharma (Productions) office (in Mumbai). I was talking to Tarun Mansukhani. He’s a friend of mine, and my brother (Karnesh Sharma) was there.
Varun: Anushka had obviously done a lot of work by then. Not lots, but two-three films…
Anushka: (To Varun) Your first movie had come out?
Varun: No. My first movie’s (Student of the Year) trailer had come out and I was very nervous.
Anushka: Oh yeah! You had said something like, ‘I’m very stressed out. The trailer has just come out and I have to go and do something’. And I asked, ‘What are you gonna do?! It’s already out’. And you were just stressing!
Varun and Anushka pose for the t2 camera. Varun also clicks the moment for his Instastory. Anushka then starts cutting the base of the cake, urging Team t2 to sing along. Her choice of song? Baar baar din yeh aaye! We sing along, Varun goes “Sab badhiya hai, sab badhiya hai,” and some Sui Dhaaga-themed cupcakes — again courtesy Paris Cafe — make an appearance.
Rushati: We have to ask you about the memes that the trailer has generated. Did you see that coming?
Anushka: No, not really. But I think we are living in a generation where memes get made for a lot of films. Usually it happens after the movie releases, but when it happens this way I think it’s amazing. They are extremely funny and tongue-in-cheek, but what is incredible is that it happened so organically.
Priyanka: Do you have a favourite?
Anushka: The (Super) Mario one!
Varun: I think the jagrata one! That was the one I really cracked up on. Priyanka (Chopra) had just had a roka ceremony. And suddenly this meme came about where the engagement is going on and Mamta’s sitting in the corner and clapping her hands! (Mimicks a jagrata scene and everyone cracks up)
Priyanka: What about the scene in the trailer where Mauji imitates a dog at a party? Did you have fun doing it?
Varun: I had a great time… I think somewhere people expect this from me!
Team t2: What?!
Varun: Ya! They’re like, ‘Yeh toh natural progression hain Varun ke liye. He’s done all these other things in other films, ab kutta toh banna tha usko ek movie mein!’ I have played a dog before, mind you. And I say this with a lot of pride. I have done a play at Barry John (theatre guru) where I played a dog and Arjun Kapoor was my master! This was during acting class.
Ushnota: Arjun and you have done a short film as acting students too…
Varun: Yeah, yeah we have done a lot of acclaimed work! (Laughs) The dog scene is very important in the film. It’s a very serious part. I have done this film for that scene. You’ll see the film and realise why. It is one of the most liberating scenes to do as an actor. It’s crazy, and I had to make it believable also. It’s not supposed to be a funny scene in the film…
Priyanka: Mamta reacts to the scene very adversely in the trailer…
Varun: Ya! But I can do whatever I want. As long as she (points to Anushka) reacts, I get a lot of credibility. It’s cool.
Ushnota: Like Mauji, is “Sab badhiya hai” the philosophy that you follow in life?
Varun: I try to. As actors, we all have off-days personally in life, but you still have to smile because that’s nice. And then there are times I have not smiled and I’ve been flooded with questions from fans asking, ‘Are you okay? What happened?’ And I’m like, ‘Nothing happened. I’m just a normal person. I don’t feel like smiling sometimes’.
Priyanka: Anushka, have you ever been a fan of anyone to the level that Varun is of The Rock?
Anushka: I don’t think I’ve ever been a die-hard fan of anybody. Even before I came into films, I would like actors for the films they had done. I was never like, ‘Oh, I like this actor and I am going to like him for everything that he does now onwards’.
I like certain things in certain people. Like I saw an interview of Rani Mukerji and I was so impressed with the way she speaks. At the same time, I saw Swades and Shah Rukh (Khan) was wow! If someone was doing really well, it kind of resonated with me as a human being… it was more of appreciation and reverence.
Varun: I got lucky over there, I think. I was a fan of his (The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson) wrestling and no one predicted back then that he’s going to be one of the biggest superstars in the world.
Priyanka: Have you met him?
Varun: No I haven’t met him… but I’ve spoken to him (smiles).
Priyanka: What’s the craziest rumour you’ve heard about each other?
Anushka: I haven’t heard any rumours about Varun.
Priyanka: Does that mean he’s boring?!
Anushka: I think he’s very non-confrontational, non-controversial and extremely diplomatic.
Varun: Woh toh hain! I had heard quite a bit about Anushka (smiles and looks at her)…. When she worked with Karan (Johar), he spoke so highly about her and praised her a lot. In fact, he told me that she’s someone I’ll get along well with.
They are co-stars for the first time — in September 28 film Sui Dhaaga — but once Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma walked into the t2 office last Thursday, their friendly banter and easy charm made us feel they’ve been pals forever.
Anushka, dressed in a white and blue Jamdani sari, had us at ‘Hello’, while self-confessed “t2 veteran” Varun — this was his fourth visit to t2 — bowled us over yet again with that smile and his trademark warmth.
Over half an hour, the two chatted with Team t2 on being Mamta and Mauji in Sui Dhaaga and what they think is the craziest thing about each other.
Priyanka Roy (Team t2): Welcome back to Calcutta… and welcome back to the t2 office!
Varun Dhawan: Thank you, and to you also, welcome back! (Laughs)
Priyanka: We are very excited to watch Sui Dhaaga! What would you want to tell us about the film that will make us book first day-first show tickets?
Varun: Sui Dhaaga: Made in India! We are super, super passionate about this film. I play Mauji, she (points to Anushka) plays Mamta. It talks about entrepreneurship in India, that’s on the rise, and how, even if you’re from the underprivileged class of this country, you can still make your dreams come true. It talks about how this couple come together and become an unstoppable force. And we’ve got a lot going on for us… we’ve got memes! (Everyone laughs)…. We’ve got the Sui Dhaaga challenge (Varun and Anushka have thrown a challenge to their Bollywood colleagues and beyond to thread a needle in less than 10 seconds) that’s going viral…. And the director, Sharat Katariya, has made a very credible film. It’s serious, but also entertaining.
Priyanka: What was the toughest bit about becoming characters who are totally unlike you?
Anushka Sharma: I’ll be very honest. I thought it would be very difficult. The first five-10 days, when you’re really just getting into the skin of the character, are tough. This is the most different character to my own personality that I have played. But I felt like that I got her the first day itself. I think that had to do with the fact that Varun and I had done so many readings and rehearsals….
Varun: Anushka… she was like a tuition master!
Anushka: While we were staying in the house at Chanderi (a town in Madhya Pradesh), I would literally be like, ‘No, no, no, we have to do the readings again’. Everyone would be like, ‘We just want to go back,’ and I would say, ‘Nahin, nahin, nahin, we must read!’
Varun: I was scared the first day! Sharat said, ‘Anushka ko reading karna hai’. And she had like one line or something in the scene! And they were all my lines, so I felt that she thinks I’m going to mess up… and I actually didn’t know my lines at that point!
But one tip she gave me was that if you want to get Mauji’s character right, let’s not change the lines. Let’s just go with the meaning of the lines. That was very helpful. I improvise a lot, a lot… as an actor that’s my instinct. And I have improvised a lot in this film, but more like physical improvisations and not making up dialogue.
The Sui Dhaaga cake, courtesy Paris Cafe, is brought in. It replicates Varun’s Mauji and Anushka’s Mamta’s pose from a poster of the film.
Varun: Oh wow! This is a big one… this is special!
Anushka: (Picks up the knife and keeps it down) I can’t cut this! It’s so nice!
Varun: We can’t! We can’t cut Mauji and Mamta.
Anushka: (Examines the cake minutely and points to the Mamta figure on the cake) I look almost like myself. Varun, you look taller than me!
Varun: I really look taller!
Anushka: You’re looking like you’re at least 7ft.
Varun: I have been put on a pedestal…
Anushka: It’s very cool!
Varun: Yeh bahut badhiya banaa hai!
Anannya Sarkar (Team t2): What’s that one trait in Mamta and Mauji you wish you had?
Anushka: (Thinks) I wish I was… I’m planning to be as calm as Mamta (laughs).
Varun: I think I have this trait but probably not to that extent as Mauji has… ki haan, jo main karoon, woh karoon mauj ke saath. He also believes ki zindagi ke cycle pe toh maarna padega pedal, chahein miley ya na miley medal. By nature, I am a competitive (pauses)… animal, I was going to say! (Everyone goes LOL)
We are all animals, I guess! I am competitive in that sense, but I had to totally remove that part of winning gold or becoming the winner. It’s difficult to do. But I guess Mauji has that… he’ll keep trying no matter what the results might be. He’ll never say die.
Rushati Mukherjee (second year, MA English at Jadavpur University and a member of the t2 Campus team): Shooting this film took you to the heartland of India. Is there a memory from shoot that’s stayed on with you?
Varun: A lot, actually. As an actor, you observe a lot. The people, how they were dressed, how they were moving around, I think we put a lot of that into our characters. There was this boy, I remember him till the end of the 35 days… probably eight or nine years, he’d see me and he would be like (clicks his tongue, winks and salutes). Every time! He’d see me standing around and he’d be like (repeats the salute). And not talk to me more than that. We kind of formed a friendship during that time. I just found that unbelievable.
Anannya: Varun, what was the experience of learning tailoring for this role?
Varun: It was pretty cool. Very confidently I said, ‘Haan main kar loonga’. But Sharat was a taskmaster. He really wanted me to get it down to the ‘T’. He said, ‘Bade lambe shots rakhunga main and I’ll track out from you. And full figure mein you’re making something. It has to look like you’re doing it. I cannot just take a close-up of your hands. You have to know the rhythm’. I put in around three months of learning and became pretty good at it.
Anushka: I had to learn to do embroidery. There is an entire sequence in the film where we are prepping for this one particular thing and I knew that Sharat is going to shoot a lot of that. There’s another part where we are making the Sui Dhaaga ka label and that’s being done by Mamta. So these things I had to learn. I really enjoyed it. Even between shots, I would continue doing embroidery.
Ushnota: Now that you have been spending a lot of time together, what’s the craziest thing you’ve discovered about each other?
Varun: I think she had discovered that I’m crazy pretty early. Anushka wakes up very early… sometimes 5.30 or 6.30am. She has probably talked to me till 1am and then she sees me four hours later! She’s like, ‘I won’t talk to you!’ Then after two or three hours on the flight, she forgets that and she starts talking!
I think Anushka is a very funny person. She has to be in her space and with her people and then she’s like one of the funniest people. We were on a plane ride back from Lucknow and it was a flight on which we had to buy food. She kept saying, ‘It’s a party! It’s a party!’
She wanted to buy all the items of food on the flight and she was like, ‘Tum kya kha rahein ho? Main yeh kha rahi hoon. It’s a party!’
Anushka: Wasn’t it?!
Varun: It was a party. We made a lot of noise on that plane!
Anushka: This elderly couple behind us were completely in it. When we were leaving, they were a part of the group! (Everyone laughs)
Anannya: Varun, you’ve just become an uncle. Have you had any chance to spend time with your niece?
Varun: No matter what I’m doing, just seeing her face every day is unbelievable. I can’t even explain it… it changes you and I never thought something like that could change you. I’d always ask my mom, ‘Maa I know why I love you because you take care of me, you provide for me, but why do you love me? I don’t do anything, I just kept asking for things, when I was a kid!’ But I get it now, you know. My niece just turned recently… like she figured out how you turn. She keeps doing it again and again!
I talk to my four-month-old niece about my entire day… every problem of mine, everything I just tell her. I think kids are born so pure… it’s very spiritual for me. She’s someone I miss 24x7.
Varun: This is a flower. Okay, this is applique.
Team t2: No, this is shadow stitch!
Varun: Oh, shadow stitch. You have to do this in the shadow.
Varun and Anushka make the perfect screen pair because... Tell firstname.lastname@example.org
Anushka: (in a flash) Kantha!
Varun: Okay, let me say this for the camera… this is Kantha!
Team t2: Anushka guessed, by the way.
Anushka: Yeah he always does this! I always know the answers and he just copies me and screams them out louder!
Varun: So, this is a cat! Cat-stitch!
Anushka: This is easy… cross-stitch!
Varun: Haan, cross-stitch. Just edit it, haan?
Anushka: I know exactly how to do this… aise karke usko beech mein daalna parta hain. Like you make the shape like that and you put it like that to lock that shape. But I am getting confused about the exact name… I was taught in both Hindi and English. This is back stitch!