Interview

I was told my character dies in Badrinath Ki Dulhania, says Sahil Vaid aka Somdev


The actor was at his hilarious best during an exclusive chat with Cinestaan.com. 

Keyur Seta

Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt aren’t the only ones to steal audience’s hearts in Shashank Khaitan’s Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Sahil Vaid, who played Varun’s best friend, Somdev, also managed to make heads turn through his hilariously cute act. The actor also played the main lead’s friend in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, the first film in the Dulhania franchise. 

In an exclusive chat with Cinestaan.com, Vaid shares minute and funny details during the shoot of both films in the franchise, all while displaying his sense of humour, much like to his character in the film. 

How did you get cast in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania?
I gave 16 auditions in total for that film. In the first one, I almost got rejected. Shashank knows me and we have done a play together. When he saw my first audition, he found it to be very bad. He called and said, ‘What audition have you given Sahil?’ At that time I didn’t know Shashank was directing the film. I thought he was an assistant director. For the first audition, I was given the brief that I had to play a character similar to the gay character in Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya. I was told Poplu is the same as that character and if I mimic him, I would bag the role. If someone sees that audition video, he or she would feel I am a terrible actor. It was nice of Shashank to keep auditioning me again and again. Varun also auditioned with me. People should know that even he and Alia had to audition for the role. 

Later, Shashank called me to the office and said, “Since you are a friend I want to tell you face-to-face that you are not selected.” I said 'that’s fine, we can work together later'. He asked if I would have coffee. I said yes, thinking that I will at least have their coffee. Ten minutes later he came and congratulated me for bagging the film. He said he just wanted to see how I react to it. He pointed out that my observation skills are very bad because behind me there was my photograph along with the name of the character. Then I was shocked to read ‘Written and directed by Shashank Khaitan’ on the script. It was embarrassing because after the last audition I had urged Shashank to see if I can get the role. On top of that, Shashank had said, ‘Don’t worry I will talk to the director (laughs).’

How did you bag Badrinath Ki Dulhania?
Shashank called me and said that the next film in the franchise is ready and asked me to collect my copy of the script. That’s it. 

Weren’t you hesitant when you were told that you would have to play Varun’s friend all over again?
Not at all. I have so much trust in Shashank, Karan sir (Karan Johar), Varun and Alia that even if I get repeated in the same role, I won’t have any problem. It was only after reading the script that I realised how different my character is from the first film. But I was not told the second half of the story. I only knew the story till Vaidehi runs away. These people were teasing me that my character dies after the interval and I will have a death scene. I asked, ‘Will I die? I won’t be seen after that?’ They said, no. I said, well that’s okay. But when I read the second half of the script, I was stunned. I hugged Shashank. 

Your comfort level and rapport with the cast and director must have increased in the second film.
Comfort level aasmaan chhoo raha tha [comfort level was sky high]. We had become close friends during the second film. Even during Humpty we used to do masti together. Once we were watching Hum Kisise Kum Nahin. Co-actor Gaurav Pandey and I were pointing out the errors in the film. We were saying things like, ‘This is so bad. How can this happen?’ Suddenly Varun said from behind (mimics him), ‘Hey that’s my dad’s (David Dhawan) film yaar!’ We thought this is one such moment that brings a rift between people. I said, ‘Yaar it’s your dad’s film. Sorry haan, but one of my favourite films is Swarg.’ He started laughing and said I don’t need to defend myself. During one of the scenes, I wiped my nose with his shirt. This was our comfort level.

Coming to that scene, you and Varun had to get close inside water. Did this make any of you feel awkward or hesitant? 
No, there was no hesitation for any of us. But there was one technical issue in the scene. None of us was able to hear each other’s cue. As we were inside water, we didn’t know when the other person’s line got over. We didn’t think about this when we were doing rehearsals. But Shashank said there is no need to get tense and we should just do our scene. We completed the scene in just four takes. There was no issue in timing because we both knew each other’s dialogues. We were reciting the other person’s dialogue in mind. Some amount of water did go inside my nose and the consequences landed on Varun’s shirt (laughs). Then Varun said, ‘Kya kar rahe ho?’ I said, ‘Ab nikal raha hain toh kya kare?’ This wasn’t in the script. It was improvisation. 

Before Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, you had done a few films and short films. You got noticed only after HSKD. How would you describe your struggle period before that film? 
There was no struggle as such. Of course, I did dubbing assignments and also ran taxis. But I did all that just to earn a living. If I would have asked for money from someone, then I would have called it struggle. By God’s grace I have hand and legs and a good attitude and heart. So why not earn? I thought if I have to become an actor I will. I haven’t been short on learning and hard work. I used to think, if I get a good film and character, I will do my best. So, I didn’t feel the struggle. However, I never told my parents that I am facing monetary issues because even they are facing the same. Before HSKD, I got a film, Bittoo Boss (2012). When I did that film I felt now my career is set. I had worked hard for it. I had six pack abs too. I was told that if I manage to look like a wrestler in 40 days, I would get the role. But the film didn’t do well. I had a good time, though. I am still in touch with its director and he keeps encouraging me. Following this, I went to National Geographic channel to write scripts and give voiceovers. 

Sahil Vaid with Varun Dhawan in Badrinath Ki Dulhania

I never had to ask for money after coming to Mumbai. I had asked for money just once from my father. He said he has Rs1500, out of which Rs800 he would transfer in my account. I felt this is wrong. Who would know that his father’s money is over? I never knew he would put in his everything to make me successful. He had said if you dearly wish to do something, just go (to Mumbai) and it would be his loss only if I accept defeat. For a person like me, it was almost impossible to become someone in the film industry. 

Where were you born and brought up?
I was born in Tamil Nadu. I spent the initial 10-11 years over there. I finished my school in Delhi and college in Haryana. And I am in Mumbai after that for the past 10 years. From this, you can guess my age (laughs).

If the third film is made in the Dulhania series and if you are again asked to play Varun's best friend, will you be okay with it?
I will (be) 100%! I am nobody to suggest changes to my role. I will do whichever film Shashank makes and writes. I know he will write from his heart and write well. If he asks me to do just one shot in the whole film, I will blindly agree and ask him when is the shoot. I think 10 times before writing ‘thank you’ to him thinking that it might appear as if I am working with him. He is a very special person. I am not saying this only because he gave me work. He keeps asking me why I keep thanking him. He feels his films wouldn’t have turned out so good if I hadn’t done them. He has a great mind and heart. Gaurav Pandey says he is ready to even give a passing shot for Shashank. I feel even Varun will be ready to do just one shot for Shashank. So will Alia. It is very difficult to make such associations. They are very difficult to break. Even if someone tries to create a rift between us, it won’t. I am also ready to play Varun’s enemy (laughs). 

After having this conversation with you, I have a feeling that your sense of humour in real life is similar to your character in BKD. Is this true?
To tell you the truth, after doing Humpty and Badri my sense of humour has improved. I have sucked the sense of humour from Shashank and his script. Earlier I was a very serious kind of an actor; I used to think of it in terms of ‘kirdaar’ and ‘abhinay.’ It was an influence of theatre. When we are young, we take acting too seriously thinking that it is something that will change the world and we need to read the script 150 times. Shashank used to tell me that I over-prepare at times. Now I am able to understand it. Everyone has this sense of humour, but it comes out only when you take life a bit lightly. It happens when you stop taking tensions and look at every situation in a funny manner. Some people take so much stress even if there is a tyre puncture. I was once changing my tyre. A man came and asked for a selfie. I said let me change the tyre first. He helped me selflessly. 

You are also starring in Yash Raj Films’ Bank Chor with Riteish Deshmukh and Vivek Oberoi. 
I have an important role in the film. But I can’t tell you much. Also because it will spoil your fun. I am as much tense before a film’s release as I was before board exams results, although the film doesn’t run on my name. Varun and Alia had the responsibility with BKD and they both were in a lot of pressure before the release. I was tense that people might come out thinking that Poplu was more interesting than Somdev. KRK (film critic and director Kamaal R Khan) said that my character will keep irritating people (laughs).