Varun Mitra. (By Arrangement)
Varun Mitra made his big screen debut with the Mahesh Bhatt backed Jalebi, which didn’t do well. Not one to be fazed, the actor continued his journey with a smile. He declines to use the word "struggle" for his experiences, as he thinks it is overrated. But now, the role of the suave but crafty lawyer Deepak Rana in Guilty Minds has changed his life — the compliments are flowing in.
"A lot of people are surprised how someone who is on the wrong end of the moral compass and has two romantic relationships, is liked. But then it is hard not to like that character. For me, Deepak was not on the wrong side. He looked at the truth of the moment — that’s why he is likeable. I once spoke to the director about how swiftly he moved from one woman to the other. But the role was written so well, and luck was in my favour. I must have done something right," he says.
After the Rhea Chakraborty starrer Jalebi flopped Varun did some introspection. "It was my first big project and the expectations were very high. All of us were upset about the film not doing well. But then there was no option but to pick oneself up," he says.
I thought about how I could get back. I started auditioning again. But something was not right about my performance and I worked towards bettering that and giving it my all. Even during Jalebi, when I was working on the character of Dev Mathur, I knew it was written with a lot of love, and I did the best I could. But after a debacle like that, something changed for the better," he adds.
The Delhi boy, who graduated in Commerce from the Delhi University, says, "I watched English and Hindi films and the acting bug bit me. But it was a suppressed dream because I went off to work in an export firm, making and selling wallets and other leather goods." He also started modelling in Delhi. A leading talent agency saw his pictures and offered him a contract. And off he went to Mumbai.
I didn’t understand exactly what happened, I just listened to my instinct and took a spur-of-the-moment decision. And enjoyed the ride," says Varun. "I landed here on January 2, 2012. I found myself doing ads and travel shows. The first three years were a bit of a blur," he reveals.
Varun does not want to think about the rough days in his 10-year long ride. "I don’t think it was a simple journey. But I think my mind just perceived it in a very straightforward manner — that I need to do this — my mind was ready to deal with all the hardships and I ended up making the most of the situation and having fun. I had good experiences on my ads and travel shows."
Acknowledging external influences on his success, the actor says, "I cannot discount the support I had from my parents and people close to me. I think if your core group is strong, you can get through anything. I’m also a serious Vipassana student — I have to say it has changed my life. I would encourage everyone to do it once in their life. It gives you a perspective that you cannot get from anywhere else."
"It took me ten years to achieve the success of Guilty Minds, but I am happy," Varun adds.
The actor now wants to work with some good filmmakers. "I have tasted blood with Guilty Minds and I know what a good maker can do to extract a performance out of you. You see yourself through someone else’s eyes and give something you never thought was there in you. So I am not looking at roles — I want to work with makers who can get the best performance out of me."
Varun is now working on Tejas opposite Kangana Ranaut. "I play a musician, a rockstar, while Kangana is a pilot. I am also doing a show for Maddock which I can’t talk about. I am keen to play an army man. I am putting that out in the Universe, so someone can cast me in that role," he says.