Varun Dhawan seems to be following in the footsteps of Shah Rukh Khan, at least as far as being chivalrous goes. Shah Rukh had started the ladies-first trend in credits billings and for the last three years has insisted that his name appear after that of the leading lady’s.
Varun has gone a step further in his latest release October, where he not only takes the billing after Banita Sandhu, his name also follows that of Gitanjali Rao, the actress who plays Banita’s mother. Is this Varun’s token gesture towards women’s empowerment?
Varun says, “It is just something I felt was right. Banita plays Shiuli, the character around whom the film revolves. And, Gitanjali as her mother deserves just as much prominence. They are the stars of the film. The other stars of October are screenwriter Juhi Chaturvedi and director Shoojit Sircar. If I had my way I’d have placed my name after theirs, too, in the credits. They’re the real stars of October.”
Varun, it seems, is not just making token gestures. “I do respond to all that is happening in the country, especially atrocities against women and children, which are intolerable to me and should be for any conscientious Indian. I speak out about issues on Twitter. But, I don’t think that’s enough. I do other things to express my solidarity with the campaign to protect women and children. But, I don’t like to talk about these things.”