Rachana Dubey (BOMBAY TIMES; February 26, 2017)

Their chemistry on and off the screen is not make-believe. It's a refreshing change from the fake friendly banters we often see. At 23, Alia Bhatt exudes the confidence of an artiste, who has perhaps spent that many years in the business, while retaining her innocence and naivety. Varun Dhawan, at 29, has the qualities one would see in a mature star. Together, they're a house on fire, a lethal combination. A meeting with Karan Johar's brightest students can light up your day. Find out why...

Between Varun and you, who do you think deserves more credit for your camaraderie?
Varun: I think I should get all the credit!
Alia: It should be half and half.
Varun: Okay, I'll give her more. I think 60-40.
Alia: Okay, so 60-40 from me too. So, if anyone of us is down, the other is usually up. Both of us are not down and out at the same time. But if we're up together, then, we're really up (laughs).
Varun: Like in all great friendships, one of the friends must want to make up after a fight. We end up taking turns without consciously trying. Alia doesn't have ego issues, she just has a short temper.
Alia: I have a short temper when it comes to Varun. Usually, my anger fizzles out pretty fast, but with him, it doesn't because he has a habit of doing unglibaazi. He will keep saying, 'You're angry with me na?' till I don't lose it completely. He will make an effort to remind me (laughs) that I am angry. Sometimes, we have ego issues also, but I guess being the sort of friends we are, we quickly sort it out.

What are your memories of your first film together? Did you hit it off from the beginning or did the camaraderie develop along the way?
Varun: While shooting for Student Of The Year (SOTY), we were just trying to survive. We all wanted to sail through the film.
Alia: It was during the promotions that we really got to know each other. Varun and I were friends, but not best friends..
Varun (cuts in): Yeah, not best friends! She was very young while shooting for SOTY and she asked, 'Why can't we be best friends?' I said, 'No. I have a best friend. His name is Ankit.' But I didn't mean it in a bad way or something.
Alia: He's so mean! At that time, 'best friend' as a concept held some other meaning for me. But now, I know that it's about the closest friends you have, and there is no such thing as best friend. I think Varun and I got closer while shooting for Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (HSKD).

Considering the fact that both of you started your career together, did you imbibe qualities from each other?
Varun: While shooting for HSKD, I learnt a lot from Alia. She was doing it after 2 States and Highway. I observed that she was doing things differently. And I started shooting for the film after Main Tera Hero. By then, I'd become more observant and receptive. Alia doesn't know this, but the most I have learnt from a costar is while shooting for HSKD.
Alia: I have also picked up some of Varun's qualities. He's always unhappy with his work and wants to do better. Usually, we need someone else to push us, but he pushes himself all the time, which is something worth appreciating and learning. He's also good at comedy, I observe him when he's doing his scenes. One day, I want to be a comedy actress. My aspirations to become an actress came from watching Govinda and Karisma Kapoor. They were a lethal combination. Even Kareena (Kapoor Khan), Juhi (Chawla), Madhuri (Dixit) and Sridevi. They can all do comedy effortlessly. It's brilliant and not easy. It's in fact the toughest kind of acting to do. I am a funny person and I want that to come out on screen. I want people to laugh at me... sorry...with me.
Varun: Yes Alia, I laugh a lot at you and sometimes, with you also (laughs).

Alia, evidently, your character in Badrinath Ki Dulhania is pursuing a career, while Varun's isn't. In real life, how do you think couples deal with a situation like that?
Varun: I've seen so many women more successful in their spaces than their male counterparts. That's an area we draw a lot from in our movie. The point is that respect matters more than anything else in a relationship.
Alia: Yeah. Often, we say 'I love you' without realising what we're saying. Love comes with a lot of responsibility. HSKD had a lot of puppy love. In this movie, we're in a more mature space. It's a responsible love story. It's not easy to love someone because it entails a lot more than just love. When you grow older, you realise that a relationship is more than just loving someone.
Varun: Also, Vaidehi (Alia's character) is more mature than Badri, which is why she often treats him like a baby.
Alia: That's also a lot like my relationship with Varun. It wasn't the case earlier because when I was younger, he looked after me. But maybe, it is the effect of this film that now I treat him like a baby.

Generally, men, even if they are older, like being pampered in a relationship, don't they?
Alia: That's not true. But yes, men do like a motherly nurturing quality in their companion, assuming that they will take care of them like their mother did. I've seen that with my mother and father. Women have a sensitive side, which attracts men.
Varun: As a character, Badrinath lacks a strong female voice in his life. It's important for a male child to have a strong male as well as female figure in his life. My mother is an extremely strong woman. Without her, I would have grown up with a messed-up head. I would have seen the world differently. She raised two boys and grew old with one (husband David Dhawan). She was, she is and will always be the king of our household. With a woman around, especially in your formative years, you under stand how the other sex feels and reacts.

Would you both look for your parents' qualities in your partners?
Alia: Somehow, we all do, don't we? We end up seeking our parent's qualities in our partners. For me, respect is very important in a relation ship, it equals to trust and love. Trust is built on respect and love is built on a balance of both.
Varun: Sometimes, it could be the opposite also. We don't want to see our parent's qualities in our partners.
Alia: Yeah. My father is great and I love him, but I don't want his qualities in my husband. He's too learned and fabulous as a person. We've become friends now and we talk a lot to each other, but one Mahesh Bhatt is enough in my life. I really can't have two.
Varun: I want to tell all the boys that a woman is looking for respect from you more than anything else. A woman wants you to respect her for who she is, what she does and where she comes from. That is a must for any relationship, especially the ones we develop on our own. And girls, it's also vice versa. It cannot be one-way traffic.