Dhruv Vikram: We have made changes in Adithya Varma to avoid criticism 

Dhruv Vikram, who is making his acting debut with Adithya Varma, gets candid about his first film, dad Vikram, future plans in interaction with Cinema Express 
Dhruv Vikram and Banita Sandhu in Dhruv Vikram
Dhruv Vikram and Banita Sandhu in Dhruv Vikram

Dhruv Vikram’s long-awaited debut Adithya Varma is finally all set for release this Friday. It has anything but a smooth journey for the young debutant, who was originally to make his debut in Bala’s remake of Arjun Reddy… until the film got shelved, making it the rare instance of a Tamil film getting dropped after being ready for release. The 24-year-old, however, sounds confident as he takes on questions about Adithya Varma, his father, Vikram, and the changes they have made to the Tamil version of Arjun Reddy.
First things first. Why opt for a remake for your debut film?
I found the personality of the protagonist (Arjun Reddy) and his habits challenging to recreate. There was a lot of acting potential. Maybe that’s why my dad wanted this script for me. Also, I think there is a lot of freshness to this character. As it is my debut, people could accept that I am Adithya Varma.
The story of the film is similar to Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh but we have tried our best to show something new too.
Going by the trailer, the tone of Varmaa and Adithya Varma seem different. How far has Bala’s film influenced this new version?
I think there was no such influence, but I did learn a lot of things from Varmaa (the original title), as it was my first film. For example, I learned how to be conscious of the camera, how to conduct myself on the sets… such lessons stayed.
Has your father been critical of you on the sets?
Absolutely! If he doesn’t like a particular take, he will call it ‘trash’ right away. He is pretty straight forward when it comes to work, and he can be critical, given his experience in the industry.
Vikram’s story is well-known for the long struggle he faced before success. Is it fair to say you have had it easier?
My father struggled for ten years in the industry before he could make a mark. I was a kid when Sethu released. Even at 36, having struggled for so many years, he was still brimming with passion. So, yes, I do think I have it easier. However, there is plenty of responsibility and a fair amount of fear about carrying forward his legacy. The ten years he struggled… he has saved me as much time. I don’t wish to waste it.

To be candid with you, I don’t think I have his dedication—not yet. I hope to learn those virtues gradually. I have seen what he has put himself through by losing and gaining weight for characters. It was painful to watch him go through such transformations. At this point, I don’t know if I can do such things.
There are rumours about you and Vikram teaming up for a Vetri Maaran film.
I think he (Vetri Maaran) has a script but we haven’t heard it yet. He hasn’t approached us either. During a conversation, Vetri sir had told my dad that maybe they could work together in the future. I wouldn’t miss a chance to act with my father but it is his call to take. I can’t ask him to act with me, it has to be the other way around.
I know I may have done it a few times already, but does it irk when people keep referring to your dad?
(Laughs) No. I know that it is because of who I am, and of course, I can’t avoid such questions. I don’t have a problem with it at all.
You have previously mentioned that you don’t drink or smoke. It must have been hard to play an addict in your debut film.

I am glad you asked this question. Speaking at a college event, I don’t think I said it in as many words. I was asked what was hard about doing Adithya Varma, and I was sarcastic in saying I was a teetotaler. I think it has since been taken out of context.
And now, we get to the elephant in the room. Arjun Reddy, and later, Kabir Singh faced a lot of criticism for being sexist and spreading toxic masculinity. How have you handled those issues in Adithya Varma?
I think when you watch the film, you will see the changes we have made. And yes, we have changed quite a bit to avoid such criticism.
Has acting been your calling, or do you have any back-up plans?
I want to be in the cinema industry in one way or another. I would love to direct a film and get behind the camera someday, but it is too early to settle on one aspect. I am also into music, having learnt it from AR Rahman’s KM Conservatory. I would love to compose music too, but yes, I have to learn a lot more of it.

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