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Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan is keen to kick off 2020 with a family entertainer that has mass appeal. Ideally, he hopes that his new film will gratify adults, youngsters and children.

Enter ‘Street Dancer 3D’, filmed partly in Dubai, directed by Remo D’Souza and out in the UAE on January 23.

“This movie is a lot of fun and has action, romance, comedy and drama in plenty. There’s also a great cause that we touch upon. Often many people complain that Hindi films don’t [know how to] appeal to kids too. But this is a kid-friendly film … We are going through such difficult times, but this movie is an easy watch,” said Dhawan.

The actor, 32, who made his film debut with producer-director Karan Johar’s glossy college romance ‘Student Of The Year’ and has topped up his career with roles in movies such as the revenge drama ‘Badlapur’ and romantic comedy ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya’, has constantly reinvented himself.

In the more recent grim drama ‘October’ (2018) directed by Shoojit Sircar, Dhawan tried his hand at a movie that did not have the usual Bollywood razzle-dazzle or songs. He played an unassuming hotel management trainee who learns to grapple with a tragedy that strikes a colleague he barely knows. It was intense and dark, and not your run-of-the-mill ‘masala’ film.

But this year, Dhawan is back into the familiar groove of colourful songs and dance with ‘Street Dancer 3D’. The son of director David Dhawan plays a competitive dancer from an Indian troupe battling to take home a trophy in a global dance contest. His biggest rival is a dance troupe from Pakistan led by the winsome Shraddha Kapoor. Just like the troubled history behind the two neighbouring nations, things get heated up between the two dance troupes too.

It’s a familiar zone for Dhawan. In 2015, he played a dancer in ‘ABCD 2’ (2015) with Kapoor. The same team, along with director D’Souza, unite for another dance-centric film. Actress Nora Fatehi and dancer-director Prabhudeva also join forces with Dhawan.

Dhawan’s biggest cheerleader seems to be D’Souza, who believes that his main lead is bestowed with incredible talent and charisma. Plus, his hero is willing to go the extra mile for this role.

“Varun is just amazing and we gel well together because he is a great combination of great talent and looks… We discuss and rehearse before we are on set, and once we are one team. He has too much energy. Sometimes I ask him to control it and sometimes I just tell him to let go,” said D’Souza in an earlier interview with Gulf News tabloid!.

We were invited to the sets exclusively in June last year where the crew was busy filming important portions of the film at Bollywood Parks & Resorts. We spotted Dhawan high-fiving D’Souza after a hard day’s shoot in the summer. At that time, the director revealed that ‘Street Dancer 3D’ explores the world of street style dancing.

“Street style of dancing is a different world where the streets are the dancer’s stage and platform … Every dancer you see in this film are dancers in real life too. They are not actors who can dance. I was very particular about that,” said D’Souza. Two songs and a few scenes were set in the UAE.

As the movie gears up for release, Gulf News tabloid! caught up with Dhawan about his latest film. Here’s his take on …

Varun Dhawan on ….

‘Street Dancer 3D’, his latest film: “It’s a dance film that’s happy and positive. It’s purely fun and it’s one of the most family friendly entertainers of the year. And, there’s a lovely cause attached to it too. I play a professional dancer who competes with other world-class dancers. But what sets ‘Street Dancer 3D’ apart is that it’s not a dance movie alone. It’s a coming-of-age film. While all the dancers in this film are actual professional dancers, there’s a strong emotional core and content in here. While it is about two dancers from warring dance troupes from two different nations, India and Pakistan, that concept of their bonding will work wonderfully with the audiences in the UAE and beyond.”

Reducing Pakistan as villains of the narrative: “It doesn’t bash anyone. The movie highlights humanity, love and respect that feel for another country. Everyone will enjoy this film.”

His preparation for the role: “I used to practice dance for at least eight hours a day and for the first time I have done incredible stunts in ‘Street Dancer 3D’. I learnt gymnastics for those flips. To tell you the truth, all those flips and being flung around take a lot of hard work and isn’t as glamorous as it looks. Being a world-class dancer is like training to be an athlete on a competitive level.”

Filming in Dubai: “It was shot in some incredibly crazy locations. We shot in Dubai during the summer at the Bollywood Parks & Resorts. It was very hot, but there was an indoor set created. Dubai has some of the most beautiful locations and they are extremely accommodating and helpful.”

Exploring the murky side of dance contests in ‘Street Dancer 3D’: “These dance battles can get pretty aggressive. The unwritten rule to these contests are that there are no rules in underground dancing. So, seeing those battles being waged can be incredibly fun. These dancers have international level skills and it’s superb to see them perform. But the mainstay of the film is much more than dance … There’s even a song that describes how obsessed we are about winning and being number one and how we never know what we lose in the process.”

Upping his game for ‘Street Dancer 3D’: “I had to up my game because I was expected to do a lot of stunts in this film. I had to be very agile too. I am no small kid either. So I had to be agile for many of the sequence. It’s an art to be thrown around with style. Being flung is also about your craft and ability ... But both director Remo and Prabhu Deva believe that I have found my groove in this film and that I have found my beats.”

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Don’t miss it!

‘Street Dancer 3D’ is out in the UAE on January 23.