At a recent promotion for David Dhawan’s Main Tera Hero, actor Varun said it was not easy to work with his father-director

“It was difficult because of his expectations and his methods of working. He obviously pushed me hard. The character I play is not who I am as a human being. My character in the film is high in energy both physically and mentally, he performs physical stunts and he is expected to be comical at the same time,” said Varun who was in the city to promote the film with co-star Ileana D’Cruz. The film, which opens on April 4, also features Nargis Fakhri, Anupam Kher, Arunoday Singh and Evelyn Sharma.

The lip lock with Ileana was also challenging and awkward, Varun said. “What makes it difficult is not just the kissing, but that you have to make it seem funny. So every day we were challenged as actors.” Ileana, he said, made him feel comfortable throughout.

“Both Nargis and Ileana have easy energies, and they’re both different with their work. Honestly, I knew she had done a lot of work in the South and since she is more experienced I thought she would behave a certain way. But she was extremely comfortable to work with.”

Working on Main Tera Hero was equally tough for Ileana, who found David to be a demanding director. “He expects the best from you whether you are an experienced actor or a newcomer. He does pressurize you but he is encouraging as well. His energy is so infectious that you’d want to surprise him, make him happy. It’s a give and take. He is not difficult to work with, but he is demanding.”

When asked if self-image plays a role in her choice of films, Ileana said it was subjective. “Tomorrow I could play a sex worker. I don’t know if people will accept that, but I would do it for my own creative satisfaction. Doing something that’s unlikely, putting myself into the mental and emotional space of another person is challenging. I would think of it from that perspective.”

“But when it comes to commercial films like Main Tera Hero, which is a comedy and an entertainer, I think about the audience, if they would like watching me and the film, as a whole.”

Ileana said Ranbir was the best co-star but she is partial to Varun because of their friendship. “Ranbir is a brilliant actor, he pushes you to perform. Shahid and I also worked together, he’s easy and light-hearted. But Varun and I really work because we’re good friends, we discuss everything. We are open and we tell each other where we are going wrong, what we felt wasn’t right about each other’s performances.”

And working on Main Tera Hero, for Varun was an emotional choice too. “I didn’t take up the film for commercial reasons. The director is my father and I won’t move away from that. This is his 43rd film and he’s not getting younger, though this film has been the youngest in his career with the youngest cast and the youngest hero he’s ever worked with. In a way, it’s a chance for him to connect with today’s youth and that’s his attempt as a filmmaker.”