Varun Dhawan is to the manor born. The younger son of yesteryear commercial pasha David Dhawan, this youngster grew up on a regular feed of mainstream cinema. Having watched him and his older brother Rohit (he directed Desi Boyz) as youngsters, we knew that even when Varun was knee-high, he had an opinion on all kind of cinema.
In all fairness his parents David and Lali didn't want him to join showbiz until he had a sound education and packed him off to Manchester to enrol for a course in business management.
But like they say when your heart beats for the movies, then seeing your face on the marquee is all you really care about.
So he took the flight from Manchester to Mumbai, or should we say, straight from Manchester to Karan Johar's office and impressed upon the filmmaker how he'd like to assist him on My Name is Khan.
And one day when he was standing in for Shah Rukh Khan, Karan looked through the lens and realised that Varun had the "cinema-face'' that could well make it to the silver screen.
Karan recalls how Farah Khan had walked in on the MNIK sets, saw Varun and Siddharth Malhotra and said to KJo, "God such nice-looking assistants you have.''
But Varun isn't all about good-looks alone. He had also done a few acting workshops and when it was time to audition for Student Of The Year (SOTY), he was completely and totally prepared.
Karan remembers signing Varun, Siddharth and Alia in a matter of one week.
"My instinct and impulse is the main reason why I make films,'' says the 40-year-old filmmaker. "The boys knew each other well because of their work experience in MNIK. And their camaraderie helped fuel their screen interaction in Student of the Year. The story of SOTY is about two friends. And these two share a certain bond because they had done their internship together.''
Karan put all three of them in his flat in Mumbai and conducted workshops. Singing, dancing, dialogue delivery, action; they went through the motions relentlessly. And of course they were rewarded when Karan decided that he would produce and direct this film because Dharma Productions should leverage and launch new talent. "As a filmmaker I had always worked with big stars. This time I wanted to work with fresh talent. SOTY is the subject that is perfectly suited to newcomers.''
Student Of The Year, produced by Dharma Productions and Red Chillies Entertainment, releases on October 19.
More on David Dhawan's Sons Rohit and Varun >>