10 year special: How Varun Dhawan won hearts with his performances and mass appeal - A look back


Varun Dhawan made his debut with Karan Johar’s film Student of the Year in 2012 and has clocked a decade in Bollywood today on October 19, 2022. The actor has had an unprecedented success at the box office among the young crop of actors with 11 consecutive hits between 2012 and 2018. Among the newer generation of actors, Varun commands an enviable fan base that transcends age bars and has an equally hefty repertoire of films in his kitty, not to mention the ones about to release.

Over the years, Varun has emerged as a bonafide and true blue massy actor in Hindi film industry and if there is anyone who can take up Salman Khan’s place in mass appeal it would not be wrong to take the actor’s name. On the milestone of Varun clocking a decade in the industry here are his best films that prove him to be a massy actor that rules the hearts of audience with all kinds of movies.

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Student of the Year

Varun made a splashing debut in Dharma Productions’ Student of the Year (2012) alongside Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra. The film was directed by KJo and had all the ingredients for a massy blockbuster with peppy music, attractive costumes, exotic locales and a story that would appeal to the youth. He received a Best Male Debut nomination for his performance in the film at Filmfare Awards as well.


Varun followed his successful stint at the box office with the thriller Badlapur (2016) that was directed by Sriram Raghavan and also starred Yami Gautam, Radhika Apte, Huma Qureshi, Vinay Pathak, Divya Dutta and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The actor played a bereaved husband and father who go on a quest to extract revenge from the killer of his wife and son. It was a gamble for Varun to take up a dark role and that too of a father at the start of his career but he delivered the chops in Badlapur and gave the seasoned Nawazuddin a tough fight in screen presence. His performance was much appreciated and Badlapur cemented his place as a hero who can not only give light-hearted performances but can also do serious roles.


With Remo D’Souza’s ABCD 2 (2016), Varun broke out as one of the most agile, fit and stylish dancers of Bollywood. The dance film saw him share screen space with Shraddha Kapoor and the two wreaked havoc onscreen with their grooves. ABCD 2 saw Varun lead from the front and stand out even when the film had more than one ace dancer in supporting roles including Prabhu Deva.

Judwaa 2

Judwaa 2 (2017) saw Varun step into the shoes of Salman Khan as he starred in the reboot of 1997 film directed by his father David Dhawan. The film stars Varun as a pair of twins Raja and Prem opposite Jacqueline Fernandez and Taapsee Pannu. The film was largely liked by the audience for its innocent humour and Varun’s spectacular act. The film worked only for Varun’s adorable buffoonery that appealed to the Indian mass audience.


Varun surprised his fans when he starred in the coming-of-age drama film October (2018) directed by Shoojit Sircar and written by Juhi Chaturvedi. The film also stars Banita Sandhu and Gitanjali Rao. The film received immense critical acclaim but was a modest commercial success at the box office. Nevertheless, Varun’s matured act earned him a Best Actor (Critics) nomination at the Filmfare Awards. Several critics hailed the actor’s performance calling it his best for sure.

Jugjugg Jeeyo

Varun’s last release Jugjugg Jeeyo became one of the biggest and most needed hits after the pandemic providing some respite to the film industry that was bowed down by the lockdown. The film has an ensemble cast that includes Anil Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Prajakta Koli and Maniesh Paul. Sharing screen space with veterans like Anil and Neetu, Varun proved his acting mettle and the film not only worked because of the script but also because of the actor’s impeccable performance making it a stupendous hit at the box office. A sequel is supposed to be in the works.