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Bollywood’s love for capturing stories set in small towns isn’t a transient phase, claims Sui Dhaaga’s lead actor Varun Dhawan, who plays a modest tailor in the film that releases in the UAE on September 27.

“There was a time when we were attempting to tell foreign stories and those films weren’t just working. Just going Western, Western, Western wasn’t helping any of us. We are Indians and we are making our films primarily for Indians to watch, and not some man in France. Eventually our target audiences are Indians living in our country and outside of it,” said Dhawan in an interview with Gulf News tabloid!.

Enter Sui Dhaaga, which ticks all his boxes.

In the trailer of this slice-of-rural life drama, the son of producer David Dhawan is seen roughing it out as the earnest tailor Mauji as he brings to life the trials and triumphs of his everyday struggles. He plays an eternal optimist who sets out to establish his own business along with his sari-clad wife Mamta (Anushka Sharma).

Here are 10 things you need to know about this romantic drama, gleaned from the hero’s voice notes...

1. Sui Dhaaga is directed by Indian National Award-winning talent Sharat Khatariya, whose credits include the immensely enjoyable romantic comedy Dum Laga Ke Haisha, a tale of an incompatible couple trying to make sense of their arranged marriage. Sui Dhaaga is described as a feel-good movie by Dhawan.

2. Khatariya’s Sui Dhaaga is set in Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh. Another film that was based in Chanderi was the recent hit horror comedy Stree, starring Rajkummar Rao and Shraddha Kapoor.

3. In the words of Dhawan, Mauji is an “innocent” character. “Sharat was very clear that he wanted to see a Varun Dhawan that has never been seen before. He’s your common man who likes to show that ‘sab badiya hai’ [everything is going great] although he has so many problems in his mind. He’s struggling like most people do.”

4. It’s the first time that Dhawan and Sharma will be seen together on the big screen. They live in a joint family and don’t get enough alone time.

“It’s one of the most wonderful relationships between a husband and a wife. This film will be a true relationship depiction of couples who live in joint families and they don’t get time to spend with each other. But their love blossoms as they pursue this goal of becoming entrepreneurs. Many couples will be able to relate to our characters here,” Dhawan said.

5. Dhawan, who has starred in hits including Badlapur and Badrinath Ki Dulhania, found it difficult to transform into a small-town tailor. To make his representation authentic, he tried to emulate the body language of a tailor in the way they sit and work on clothes. He claims the sheer exhaustion from the shoot also meant he fell a number of times and vomited from the heat.

“But I think the most difficult part was my becoming a Masterji [tailor] and mastering the tailoring skills,” he said.

6. Dhawan discovered Sharma, the actress and the person, during the filming in Chanderi. He’s now experiencing a fanboy moment with her.

“Anushka is super cool to work with. She’s today’s woman and she’s a great representation for a lot of young girls and boys today. She’s funny and very professional. She’s passionate about acting too,” he said. According to the actor, he found the press junkets in India less cumbersome as she made it witty and fun.

7. Sui Dhaaga will extol the virtues of self-reliance and taking pride in home-grown goods. The self-explanatory strapline ‘Made In India’ is one of the themes that has been woven into this tale of a couple’s struggle to set up their own modest start-up. So did this film pull at Dhawan’s patriotic thread where he is seen embracing Indian goods?

“To be very honest, I’ve always been patriotic. But I don’t need to say it or show it… Regarding using our goods, that’s a conscious decision that I made. But remember there are so many foreign goods that are made in India and which provides employment to our people. The whole idea here is not to alienate foreign goods. All we are saying is that the stuff made in India is very good and their quality is amazing. Just don’t be snobbish about things made in India,” he said.

8. Apart from it being a feel-good, wholesome entertainer, the romantic drama will remind you about how valuable your family is.

9. The makers of Sui Dhaaga are convinced that stories that spring from small towns in India will never go out of style in Bollywood. Recently, Bollywood has seen a spate of successful films set in Indian villages such as Bareilly Ki Barfi!, Padman and Shubh Mangal Savdhaan. And the trend is here to stay, believes Dhawan.

“I think the audiences are never going to get done with that because small towns are an integral part of our country and they relate to their stories… We have made such films in the past where actors like Govinda, Dilip Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar and Hema Malini have played parts where they are from small towns. They have been so successful and they are a part of the Indian cinema identity. It’s rightfully so.”

10. Shooting in the countryside also meant that the cast and crew of Sui Dhaaga got a taste of the simple, rural life.

“People in Chanderi are warm and friendly. And I loved riding around the countryside in a cycle.” The interesting bit? The stars weren’t hounded by frenzied fans for selfies.

“There was a lot of freedom and I got a lot of alone time, which is sometimes necessary for an actor to perform. I valued that… I didn’t miss the creature comforts either. As long as I was given a bed every night to sleep in, that was all I needed.”

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Don’t miss it!

Sui Dhaaga releases in the UAE on September 27.

Quote Unquote

“I’m not plagued by the fear of failure because I love to try new things whether it was Badlapur or October. Sui Dhaaga is a commercial film with pan-India, pan-world appeal. It has humour, emotions, love story and family at its forefront. And I don’t that any of my films has ever been dismissed outright. But failure is a part and parcel of our life. But you can never live life with the fear of failure or keeping that in mind.” — Dhawan on whether he’s scared to fail as an actor.