Film poster for 'Gehraiyan'. (Image Credit: Amazon Prime)

Gehraiyaan, the much-anticipated Deepika Padukone-starrer, released February 11, 2022, on Amazon Prime. Though promoted as a complicated relationship drama, Gehraiyaan intricately weaves financial struggles into the narrative of each of its four lead characters’ lives: Alisha—a stylish, independent, and sexy yoga instructor, played by Deepika Padukone; Zain—a hawk-eyed real-estate builder, played by Siddhant Chaturvedi; Tia—a rich girl, played by Ananya Panday; and Karan—a struggling writer who’s given up his ‘soul-sucking job,’ played by Dhairya Karwa. The four form two live-in couples in urban India, striving to grow professionally but also needing to grow emotionally.

On the eve of its release, India Currents scored an exclusive interview with one of Gehraiyaan’s leads—Dhairya Karwa. In an otherwise brooding tale of deceptions and hunger for love and physical intimacy, Dhairya’s character is a breath of fresh air. Prior to Gehraiyaan, Dhairya was seen in short roles in National-award winning Uri—The Surgical Strike (2019), and the cricket drama 83 (2021).

“Choosing quality over quantity,” he says, is the reason behind not being seen in more films despite being around in the industry for four years. Playing Karan—Alisha’s live-in partner—is Dhairya’s first big break.

Dhairya Karwa and Deepika Padukone film still from ‘Gehraiyan’. (Image Credit: Amazon Prime)
Dhairya Karwa and Deepika Padukone film still from ‘Gehraiyan’. (Image Credit: Amazon Prime)

Was he nervous beside the experienced superstar Deepika?

“I was looking forward to it, was anxious before I met her… but at no point was I was made to feel like an outsider. She just immediately makes you comfortable. That’s my biggest takeaway (from this film)—stay grounded even when you are successful.”

While on the one hand, Dhairya’s character Karan is a supportive friend to Tia and is deeply in love with Alisha, on the other, he refuses to shoulder financial and household responsibility. His confident dialogue at the film’s start—‘She (Alisha) thinks she’s the world’s most unlucky (person)’, will stay with the audience till the end.

While signing the film, did Dhairya think Karan-and-Alisha-kind couples really exist or is Gehraiyaan just another Bollywood tale? “Nobody in the film is un-relatable. You may not completely associate with the decisions of the characters, but you would definitely know someone around you who has had such experiences.”

Gehraiyaan, meaning depths, is directed by Shakun Batra. A novice writer (Dhairya) seeking a calm, comfortable place to get his creative juices flowing; a composed businessman (Siddhant) penning his own financial and relationship debacles; a daughter (Deepika) blaming one parent (father, played wonderfully by Naseeruddin Shad) for the suicide of the other; people ‘stuck in their past’ and unable to move on: such are the depths plumbed in Gehraiyaan.

The movie was filmed between Mumbai and Goa, capturing the beauty of the waters while on a yacht and beyond. Does the location add any meaning to the story?

“It definitely does. The water and sea have become characters of the film, so closely they are blended with the story. The Goa bit was actually scripted to be shot in Alibaug, but that couldn’t be done. So the location was shifted to Goa,” shares Dhairya.

What were your thoughts after watching the first screening?

“I’d thought I would be able to absorb the movie, but… (I couldn’t). You need time to reflect and collect your thoughts before commenting on the film. That’s the kind of effect it has.”

In the second half of the movie, punctuated by unexpected twists, Dhairya is hardly seen. But it is Dhairya’s character in the last act, which drags the story out of gloom before an open ending. From anger to humor, from romance to rejection, Dhairya had a lot of emotions to portray with Deepika by his side. Which scene did he like the most?

“The confrontation scenes are the ones that normally catch attention. But I yearn for scenes that have less dialogue, where a lot is conveyed in silence and gazes. During the script reading, I found one such scene where Alisha and Karan are meeting after a long time, and so much has happened in that time. They have so much to say, but they cannot. That scene lived up to my expectation. I was happy about it,” Dhairya says.

The movie showcases the oomph factor of its well-toned actors. Do looks matter more than fitness?

“Fitness is life! As an actor, my body is my product and I need to feel good about it,” says Dhairya. He spends between 1-4 hours at the gym daily, depending on the requirements of his role.

Finally, Gehraiyaan has been in news for having on board an intimacy director—Dar Gai—to train actors on how to deal with the more explicit physical scenes. Is Dhairya in a relationship in real life?

“No! I am not. I am free!” he replies with a laugh, ready to take the deep dive it seems!

Suruchi Tulsyan is a homemaker and freelance journalist based in India.