Varun Dhawan

Varun Dhawan (Hindi pronunciation: [ʋəɾʊɳ d̪ʱəʋən]; born 24 April 1987) is an Indian actor who works in Hindi films. One of India's highest-paid celebrities, he has been featured in Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list since 2014. The son of film director David Dhawan, he studied business management from the Nottingham Trent University. He began his work in the film industry as an assistant director to Karan Johar on the drama film My Name Is Khan (2010), and subsequently made his acting debut in 2012 with Johar's teen drama Student of the Year. Dhawan has been featured in eleven consecutive box-office successes between 2012 and 2018.[2][3][4][5]

Varun Dhawan
Varun Dhawan graces the HT Style Awards 2018.jpg
Dhawan at the HT Style Awards 2018
Born (1987-04-24) 24 April 1987 (age 34)
Alma materNottingham Trent University[1]
Years active2012–present
Natasha Dalal
(m. 2021)
RelativesSee Dhawan family
AwardsFull list

Dhawan rose to prominence with starring roles in the romantic comedies Main Tera Hero (2014), Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014), and Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017), the action comedies Dilwale (2015), Dishoom (2016), and Judwaa 2 (2017), the dance film ABCD 2 (2015) and the drama film Sui Dhaaga (2018). He received praise for playing an avenger in the crime thriller film Badlapur (2015) and an aimless man coping with loss in the drama October (2018). Following the success of these films, he has since headlined the period drama Kalank (2019) and the musical film Street Dancer 3D (2020), as well as the Amazon Prime Video comedy-drama Coolie No. 1 (2020), all of which were critical and commercial failures, impeding his career.

Early lifeEdit

Dhawan was born on 24 April 1987[6] to David Dhawan, a film director, and Karuna Dhawan.[7][8] His family is Punjabi.[9] His elder brother, Rohit, is a film director known for his debut venture Desi Boyz, while his uncle, Anil, is an actor.[10] He completed his HSC education from the H.R. College of Commerce and Economics. He has a degree in Business Management from the Nottingham Trent University, United Kingdom.[11] Prior to his acting career, he worked as an assistant director to Karan Johar on the film My Name Is Khan (2010).[12]


2012—2016: Debut and successEdit

Dhawan at the trailer launch of Student of the Year in 2012

Dhawan made his acting debut in 2012 with Johar's romantic comedy drama Student of the Year alongside Sidharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt.[12] He was confident as Rohan Nanda, the teenage son of a rich businessman, who competes with his girlfriend Shanaya (Bhatt) and best friend Abhimanyu Singh (Malhotra) to win an annual school championship. Film critic Taran Adarsh from Bollywood Hungama found Dhawan to be "a talent one can't help but marvel at" and CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand added: "It's Varun Dhawan who stands out with a confident, charming turn, able to tackle both comical and vulnerable scenes with ease".[13][14] Student of the Year was a success, grossing 970 million (US$14 million) worldwide, and his performance earned him a Best Male Debut nomination at Filmfare.[15]

Following a year long absence from the screen, similar to that of co-stars Bhatt and Malhotra who had their second releases before him in 2014, Dhawan appeared in two films, the first of which was the romantic comedy Main Tera Hero (2014), a remake of the Telugu film Kandireega, which was produced by Balaji Motion Pictures and directed by his father David.[16][17] He played Sreenath "Seenu" Prasad, an impetuous brat who is involved in a love triangle between his true love interest Sunaina Goradia, played by Ileana D'Cruz, and his one-sided lover Ayesha Singhal, the daughter of a dreaded gangster-cum-don, played by Nargis Fakhri. Raedita Tandon of Filmfare commended Dhawan on his comic timing and compared him favorably to Govinda and Prabhudheva.[18] The film emerged as a commercial success[19]

Dhawan then played Rakesh, a flirtatious Punjabi boy who engages in a romantic affair with an engaged Punjabi woman, in debutante writer-director Shashank Khaitan's romantic comedy Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. Starring him alongside Bhatt a second time after Student of the Year and debutant television actor Sidharth Shukla, the film was described as a tribute to Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) by Johar, who served as producer and had briefly cameoed in the blockbuster.[20] Rohit Khilnani of India Today praised his screen presence, and Nandini Ramnath of Mint noted how much he stood out in the "few quieter scenes" of the film.[21][22] Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania emerged as one of top-grossing Indian productions of the year, earning 1.11 billion (US$16 million) worldwide.[15]

Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor at a promotional event for ABCD 2 in 2015

The crime thriller Badlapur (2015) from director Sriram Raghavan saw Dhawan play Raghav "Raghu" Purohit, a man from Pune who over the course of 15 years avenges the murder of his wife and son in a robbery-gone-wrong.[23] Portraying Raghu was a "terrifying" experience for Dhawan, who "slipped into depression as after a point it no longer felt like I was acting in a film".[24] Raja Sen of praised his acting range, writing that he "sheds his easy-breezy charm — but, crucially, not his slightly hapless natural likeability — and bubbles up volcanically, his eyes frequently doing the talking."[25] He received a Filmfare Award for Best Actor nomination for his performance.[26]

Dhawan next starred opposite Shraddha Kapoor in a Walt Disney Pictures-produced sequel to the musical dance film ABCD: Any Body Can Dance, titled Disney's ABCD 2, in which he portrayed the real-life character of Kings United India founder Suresh Mukund, a dancer from Mumbai who went on to win the 2012 World Hip Hop Dance Championship.[27] Critic Shilpa Jamkhandikar of Reuters criticised the feature, finding Dhawan to be the only asset of the film, writing that "except for the honest note he strikes, the rest of the film could have been just a bunch of music videos".[28] ABCD 2 earned 1.57 billion (US$22 million) worldwide;[15] the film's commercial performance led Box Office India to consider it an emergence of Dhawan's star power; he and Kapoor were eventually the only actors among their contemporaries to star in a live-action Disney film.[29] His final appearance that year was in Rohit Shetty's ensemble action drama Dilwale, co-starring Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Kriti Sanon, in which he played the younger sibling of Khan's character, as well as Sanon's love interest.[30] Despite mixed reviews from critics, the film proved to be a commercial success, grossing over 3.75 billion (US$53 million), emerging as Dhawan's highest-grossing release and one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films.[31][32] In May 2016, he dubbed for the voice of Captain America in Hindi for the film Captain America: Civil War. He next appeared in the action cop comedy Dishoom (2016), directed by Rohit, alongside John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez, as Junaid "J" Ansari, a rookie Indo-Emirati cop.[33] Despite mixed reviews, the film proved to be successful at the box office grossing over 1.2 billion (US$17 million).[34]

2017—present: Established actor and setbacksEdit

Dhawan and frequent co-star Alia Bhatt promoting Kalank in 2019

Dhawan reunited with Khaitan and Bhatt for the romantic comedy Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017), a spin-off to Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, in which he played the titular character, a chauvinist fiancé to Bhatt's prtagonistic character. Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express wrote that Dhawan "impresses as a boy-struggling-to-be-a-man".[35] In addition, Tushar Joshi of Daily News and Analysis noted that "Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt prove that on screen chemistry can be enough sometimes to keep you engaged in an average plot with a predictable narrative".[36] He received his second Best Actor nomination at Filmfare for the film.[37] Later in 2017, he starred in David's Judwaa 2, a reboot of his 1997 Salman Khan starrer Judwaa, alongside Fernandez and Taapsee Pannu.[38] Both Badrinath Ki Dulhania and Judwaa 2 proved to be commercial successes, earning over 2 billion (US$28 million) each.[31] Forbes published that with nine consecutive box office hits and a 100% success ratio, Dhawan had established himself as a "bona fide Bollywood superstar".[2][3]

Dhawan had two releases in 2018, Shoojit Sircar's drama October and Sharat Katariya's social problem film Sui Dhaaga, both of which earned him rave critical acclaim for his performances while being modest commercial successes.[4][5] October, written by Sircar's frequent collaborator Juhi Chaturvedi, saw him portray Danish "Dan" Walia, an aimless hotel management trainee whose life undergoes a series of changes when his co-worker goes into a coma. In a highly positive review, Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost commended Dhawan for "effac[ing] his starry swagger and trademark cutesiness to play Dan"; Rohit Vats of Hindustan Times considered it to be his finest performance to date and wrote that "his humour is innate, but his understanding of pain and how it affects the human behaviour is even better".[39][40] Sui Dhaaga featured Dhawan and Anushka Sharma respectively as Mauji and Mamta, a newly-wed couple in rural India who begin their own small-scale clothing business. Udita Jhunjunwala of Mint reviewed, "Dhawan has perfected the template for playing a simpleton. He brings a similar naiveté to Mauji, albeit endearingly."[41] For October, he received a nomination for the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor.[42] The same year, he cameoed alongside Kapoor in a special appearance for the music video of "High Rated Gabru", a song by Guru Randhawa, whose recreation by Randhawa was featured on the soundtrack of Nawabzaade, the production debut of his ABCD 2 director Remo D'Souza.

Dhawan's only screen appearance in 2019 was in Abhishek Varman's ensemble period drama Kalank, in which he was once again paired opposite Bhatt, while working for the first time with actresses Madhuri Dixit and Sonakshi Sinha, as well as actors Sanjay Dutt and Aditya Roy Kapur, in the lead role(s).[43] Set in the 1940s prior to the partition of India, the film featured him as a womanizing blacksmith named Zafar; for the physical demands of the part, he trained extensively despite suffering from a knee injury and hamstring tear, and insisted on performing his own stunts.[44] Labelling it as the "meatiest role of his career", Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV wrote, "Dhawan exudes zest as he ventures well beyond his comfort zone and consistently strikes the right notes".[45] He began the new decade by reuniting with Kapoor and D'Souza to portray Sahej Singh Narula, an arrogant British-Indian dancer who heads the titular dance crew, in the musical dance-drama Street Dancer 3D (2020), a quasi-spinoff to ABCD 2, which Namrata Joshi of The Hindu termed a "compilation of indistinguishable performances".[46] Neither of the two films performed well commercially, causing his career to suffer a setback.[47][48]

Dhawan next teamed up with David for a third time in Coolie No. 1, a 2020 adaptation of the Govinda-starrer 1995 film of the same name, also featuring Sara Ali Khan and Paresh Rawal, which skipped theatrical release owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and instead streamed directly online on Amazon Prime Video.[49] Critical and public reception to the film was embarrassingly negative, largely in light of the nepotism debate sparked off by the untimely demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.[50] A scathing review by Shubhra Gupta for The Indian Express called the film a "zero wit, no flair" disaster, noting that Dhawan had "channelled Govinda in many of his films much better", and criticized co-star Khan's act, calling it "as vacuous as the script".[51]

Dhawan has wrapped up work on Good Newwz director Raj Mehta's romantic comedy Jug Jugg Jeeyo, produced by Johar and co-starring Kiara Advani, Anil Kapoor, Neetu Singh and Prajakta Koli.[52] As of March 2021, he is busy filming Dinesh Vijan's comic horror film Bhediya with Sanon, directed by Amar Kaushik and post its completion he will jump into Sajid Nadiadwala's action thriller Sanki helmed by Kesari director Anurag Singh.[53]In September 2021, he will begin work on Ekkis, a biographical war film directed by Raghavan and produced by Vijan, based on the life of military officer Arun Khetarpal.[54] Varun will also be part of the Indian spinoff of the American drama series Citadel, which will be created by the Russo brothers, and directed Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K.[55]

Other workEdit

Alongside his acting career, Dhawan performs on stage and has co-hosted two award ceremonies. In 2013, he performed at the Filmfare, Screen, and Stardust award ceremonies, and at an event in Hong Kong.[56] He hosted the 2013 Stardust Awards ceremony with Sidharth Malhotra and Ayushmann Khurrana, and a segment of the 59th Filmfare Awards.[57] He was also part of the 20th Screen Awards, co-hosting the show alongside Shahrukh Khan and Richa Chadda.[58] In 2013, he performed at a special event alongside Malhotra, Bhatt, Kapur, Kapoor, and Badlapur co-star Huma Qureshi to raise funds for the flood-affected victims of Uttarakhand.[59] He also donated Rs. 30 Lakhs in PM-CARES Fund of Government of India during the COVID-19 pandemic in India.[60]

Personal life and media imageEdit

Dhawan has appeared in Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list since 2014, peaking at the 15th position in 2018,[61][62][63] when the magazine estimated his annual income to be 495.8 million (US$7.0 million) and listed him as one of the highest-paid celebrities in the country.[64] In the same year, the Indian edition of GQ featured him among the nation's 50 most influential young people and labelled him as the "most bankable star of his generation".[65]

On 24 January 2021, Dhawan married fashion designer Natasha Dalal, with whom he had attended school and been in a romantic relationship for 10 years.[66][67]


  Denotes films that have not yet been released

As actorEdit

Dhawan at an event for Stardust in 2013
List of films and roles
Year Title Role(s) Notes Ref.
2010 My Name Is Khan Assistant director
2012 Student of the Year Rohan "Ro" Nanda Debut film
2014 Main Tera Hero Sreenath "Seenu" Prasad
Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania Rakesh "Humpty" Sharma Also playback singer for song "Lucky Tu Lucky Me"
2015 Badlapur Raghav "Raghu" Purohit
ABCD 2 Suresh "Suru" Mukund Also playback singer for song "Happy Birthday"
Dilwale Veer Randhir Bakshi
2016 Dishoom Junaid "J" Ansari
2017 Badrinath Ki Dulhania Badrinath "Badri" Bansal
Judwaa 2 Raja Malhotra a.k.a. Raja Patekar/Prem Malhotra
2018 October Danish "Dan" Walia
Nawabzaade Himself Special appearance in song "High Rated Gabru" [68]
Sui Dhaaga Mauji Sharma
2019 Kalank Zafar Chaudhary
2020 Street Dancer 3D Sahej Singh Narula
Coolie No. 1 Raju Coolie / Kunwar Raj Pratap Singh Released on Amazon Prime Video
2021 Antim: The Final Truth Himself Special appearance in song "Vighnaharta" [69]
Jug Jugg Jeeyo   TBA Filming [52]
2022 Bhediya   TBA Completed [70]

As dubbing artistEdit

List of films and characters dubbed
Title Actor Character Dub Language Original Language Original Year release Ref.
Captain America: Civil War Chris Evans Captain America / Steve Rogers Hindi English 2016 [71]

Awards and nominationsEdit


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  55. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
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External linksEdit