Varun Dhawan on his prep for Street Dancer 3D: I feel like I've become five years younger

Updated: Jan 08, 2020, 08:27 IST | Sonia Lulla | Mumbai

Varun Dhawan takes time off Street Dancer 3D's rehearsals to discuss the toil required for him to match professional dancers.

Varun Dhawan and the cast of Street Dancer 3D at the rehearsal. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Varun Dhawan and the cast of Street Dancer 3D at the rehearsal. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

A ketogenic diet prevents one from consuming carbohydrate-rich foods — think about a meal plan that eliminates rice, wheat, breads, and sugar. Intermediate fasting is an eating pattern that requires one to avoid eating for 16 hours straight, permitting food consumption only in the remaining eight-hour window. Individually, both the dietary methods demand a fair amount of mental dedication from an individual willing to give them a try. Imagine our surprise then when Varun Dhawan tells us he's following both, simultaneously.

"But they eat everything, ya! Even rice," he complains childishly, referring to the 20-odd dancers — including Dharmesh Yelande and Salman Yusuff Khan — rehearsing for Street Dancer 3D in a studio, a few feet from us. We've pulled Dhawan out from his practice to ask him how he blends in with dancers who've been practising the art for years. "Since I am not a professional dancer, training with those who are is certainly difficult. While training for our last film, ABCD 2, Shraddha [Kapoor, co-star] and I were given a little extra hand-holding. But, for this film, from day one, we were not given [additional attention]. We were told to rehearse with the team, so that the speed at which we pick up steps improves. Given that we're doing street hip-hop, and new school, the movements are fast [paced]. So learning them fast is [crucial]."

Varun Dhawan and the cast of Street Dancer 3D at the rehearsal. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

During the shoot schedule that concluded weeks before this interaction, Dhawan says he would couple his dance training and shooting stints with a workout. "There's enough cardiovascular [work] happening through dance, so in the gym, I'd train with weights for 60 to 90 minutes. I've increased the amount of physical training I'm doing, and have specifically started targetting my quadriceps. People who dance need a lot of strength in the leg muscles, so doing that is important," says the actor, who features alongside revered dance groups from across the globe in the third edition of Remo D'Souza's franchise. "Rahul Shetty has choreographed the 10 songs in the film, and groups like [V] Unbeatable and Wild Ripperz [are being featured]. There are troupes from the UK, US, and Germany. I have to say, India's right there among the dancers. We are leading the revolution." For several months leading up to this meeting in July 2019, Dhawan had been clocking in seven hours a day at dance rehearsals, waking up to messages in the dance troupe's WhatsApp group as they'd decide the day's schedule. "Living this active lifestyle, I feel like I've become five years younger. I'm 32, so doing this is not easy. But, I also have a lot of energy which finds an outlet through a film like this one."

As excited as he is for the new version of Bezubaan that will feature in this edition, Dhawan was also delighted to feature alongside Prabhudheva in Muqabla. So eager was he to share the space with him, that his energetic moves landed him with a tear in his hip flexor. While pulling off another high-octane stunt for the film in London, he also injured his hamstring. "I have to really push myself. Even with injuries, you still have to dance, and return to regular practice. These guys [other dancers] do it all the time. They're making me do a lot of stunts. They call me 'B-Boy Juhu'. I'm training with [calisthenics expert] Kuldeep Shashi [for it], and am doing things I'd never had thought I'd do. There's a stunt in which [I'm thrown] 20 feet in the air, and then they throw a [dancer] from down [towards me]. After Rahul made me do it, I learnt that the original stunt had been performed by a 10-year-old boy. I'm not. That makes a big difference. There's also a massive stunt coming up in the finale. Shraddha too has a lot of stunts."

Varun Dhawan and the cast of Street Dancer 3D at the rehearsal. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

7 - Number of hours Varun would practise

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