Varun Dhawan's journey from a 'star kid' to becoming one of the most bankable actors

Updated: 24 April, 2018 16:28 IST | Nikita Wagh | Mumbai

Here's a quick look at October star Varun Dhawan's career graph from his first film Student of the year (2012) to his last release Judwaa 2

Varun Dhawan and David Dhawan
Varun Dhawan with dad David Dhawan. Pic/Varun's Instagram account

Varun Dhawan is one of the very few versatile actors who has tasted both success and shown a variety of work in a quick span of time. With 9 films in 6 years, he already has four films in the coveted 100 crore club.

With Karan Johar's Student Of The Year, Varun Dhawan was launched alongside Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra. He was then introduced as filmmaker David Dhawan's son. After his debut vehicle, Varun was seen on silver screen straight after two years with father David Dhawan's directorial - Main Tera Hero. While the film was an out-and-out comedy, Varun Dhawan's comic timing was lauded by critics and audiences. Seenu took everyone by surprise as compared to what they saw him as Rohan Nanda in SOTY. While Main Tera Hero managed to tickle audience's funny bone, Varun Dhawan, in the same year itself, gave a tribute of sorts to Shah Rukh Khan's Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge with Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. Varun put up a great show as a 'Dilliwala majnu' opposite Alia Bhatt and the film went on to become a box office success. Well, by now, Varun Dhawan had created this chocolate boy image who is a complete package of someone who can romance well, someone who is acing at the comedy genre and to top it all he was killing it at the dance floor.

A still from Varun Dhawan's Badlapur
A still from Varun Dhawan's Badlapur

Come 2015, and Varun Dhawan almost swept everyone off their feet with Badlapur. His character portrayal of Raghu, who is shattered with the loss of his wife and son, seeking revenge was nothing but genius. After being a part of two diametrically opposite films - Student Of The Year (rom-com) and Main Tera Hero (comedy) in the early days of his career, Varun Dhawan cemented his position with Badlapur (vengeance drama). Clearly, Varun never showed signs of being one of those greenhorns who choose the easy road to success. He was pitted against someone like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and we must say it was a mighty task, and a risky one too. But, he put in a lot of effort and came up with a performance that far exceeded the expectations one would have from a 2-films-old actor.

Romance, check! Comedy, check! Intense drama, check! Play an 18-odd-year-old student, check! Play a 40-year-old man, check! What's left? Oh, a dance film, right? After Badlapur, Varun Dhawan was all geared up to show the Bolly-buffs how a terrific dancer he is. Remo D'Souza's ABCD 2, released in 2015, saw Varun putting his heart and soul into the role.

Also Read: Varun Dhawan: I Just Want To Entertain People

A still from Varun Dhawan's ABCD 2
A still from Varun Dhawan's ABCD 2

He perfectly got into the shoes of being the leader of a professional dedicated dance group and critics hailed him as the gen-x superstar. Within merely three years (2012-2015) Varun Dhawan ventured into various genres and enacted his roles with conviction and elan.

ABCD 2 became the actor's first 100 crore film and made a remarkable business at the Box Office. In an exclusive interview, he had mentioned "You can't take stardom for granted. After my first film, Salman (Khan) Bhai just told me, "Yeh toh chal gayi. Par ab kya karega? (This one worked. What'll you do now?)" Which is true. The first film chooses you. After that, if the choices you make don't tally with what the audience wants, they'll just throw you out."

"Stardom is a result of many people working behind the scenes, day-in, and day-out, so you look great on screen, and are loved by people. Stardom cannot be achieved without the film fraternity backing you. You can't fight the whole system and become a star. You have to get love from your family first, and then the others," said Varun.

Team Dilwale clicked during one of their promotional events
Team Dilwale clicked during one of their promotional events

In the same year, Varun played Shah Rukh Khan's younger brother in Rohit Shetty's Dilwale. The much-touted rom-com, which marked the reunion of the Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge couple Kajol and SRK, flopped badly at the Box Office. Since the film was an SRK affair, it easily managed to cross the 100 crore benchmark at the Box Office. However, the film couldn't recover its investments. Nevertheless, Varun managed to make his presence felt despite sharing the screen space with the senior actors.

Also Read: Sui Dhaaga First Look: Varun Dhawan And Anushka Sharma Look Perfect As The Small Town Couple

Little did Varun know that just as he waited for his next film with yet another senior actor - read John Abraham - he would get to witness another below average venture. Critics were at Varun Dhawan who they felt was getting highly repetitive. After Main Tera Hero, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, Varun's role as was once again the chirpy chocolate boy like. No doubt, his character was extremely likeable, who instantly grabs your attention in the film with his comic timing. But overall the film was partly enjoyable, as far as buddy cop films go. Other than the action, it was only Varun Dhawan's entertainment that was the highlight of the film, which was directed by Varun's brother Rohit Dhawan. Dishoom was the only Varun Dhawan film that released in 2016. The film did Rs 70 crore at the Box Office, still a decent number to his credit.

Varun Dhawan and John Abraham during Dishoom's promotional event
Varun Dhawan and John Abraham during Dishoom's promotional event

Talking specifically about Dilwale and Dishoom, it wouldn't be wrong to say that the scripts were not up to the mark and Varun's acting prowess paid a price for it. But well, 2017 proved to be a great year for the actor. He was back with a bang with Dulhania franchise's second outing - Badrinath Ki Dulhania, opposite Alia Bhatt. The couple once again proved, they are the new-age Raj-Simran. Varun returned to the adorable lover boy character in Badrinath Ki Dulhania and everyone knows the kind of appreciation the film got. The year was a game-changing year of sorts for Varun. Badrinath Ki Dulhania marked Varun's 2nd solo 100 crore film after ABCD 2 (Let's just say Dilwale was more likely an SRK-Kajol film). In the same year, he got his third 100 crore film with Judwaa 2. 2017 was another landmark year of his career.

Also Read: Varun Dhawan On October: There's No Repetition Of Expression Or Dialogue Delivery

In 2018, Varun Dhawan is part of films that belong to same genres, but with diverse background. While October is a romantic drama with an urban setup, Sui Dhaaga - Made In India is set in the hinterlands of India. Shoojit Sircar's October, that released recently, was more like a mature love story, touching love, life, and relationship aspects. Dhawan has been showered with praise for having "pulled off the best performance of his career". With critics and cinephiles reiterating what Sircar told him - Get ready for people to go crazy about you - Dhawan is still perplexed. "I wasn't sure of what I had done [differently]," he told mid-day.

View Photos: Wow! Varun Dhawan looks hotter than ever in these photos

Wow! Varun Dhawan looks hotter than ever in these photos

October's box office performance wasn't predicted high. Being Varun's first unconventional film ever since he burst into the Bollywood scene and without having a quintessential love story angle, the film managed to make a total business of 35.55 crore so far. Nevertheless, going by Varun's track record, the actor's films have invariably made profits for the makers. 

Here's a quick look at Varun Dhawan's career graph from 2012 to 2017:

Varun Dhawan career graph
Numbers above the bars in the chart represent the collections (in crore) of the respective film

In the times when audiences have become harsher to show love to films in theatres, Varun Dhawan boasts of an enviable record that none from the current or past generations have to their name. What will be October's box office fate? Well, let's wait and watch!

Also Read: October Movie Review

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First Published: 24 April, 2018 16:26 IST

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