Mumbai: Actor Varun Dhawan, who has scored a critically acclaimed dark and intense performance in "Badlapur", believes that audiences these days want realistic cinema and "not a lot of fantasy" - something that Bollywood movies are known for.
"Right now, I feel the people want some other type of cinema. Some more thrill, something a little bit more realistic, not a lot of fantasy," said Varun, whose role of a grieving family man seeking to avenge the death of his wife and child in "Badlapur" met with appreciation.
The "Main Tera Hero" actor feels it's a great time to be in the industry.
"The time is now... the things that we were talking about five years back, saying to ourselves, 'This should be done in Hindi cinema'... that time has come now. Youths today have started accepting new ideas; people have become broadminded," he added.
Although the 27-year-old actor makes it "a point" to "connect with the youth" with his work, he doesn't feel that he is a youth icon.
"I make it a point, whenever I'm promoting a film, that I go and try to connect with youth because I think my connect is more with them.
"I don't really know if I am a youth icon. I would like to tell the youth: please choose Virat Kohli or Sania Mirza or Saina Nehwal. Please choose these people as youth icons because my youth icons while growing up were Sachin (Tendulkar), (Rahul) Dravid, (Saurav) Ganguly when they were playing.
"I chose sports stars as my icons because you get to learn so much from sports in terms of determination, in terms of comebacks and the general attitude in life," said Varun, who made his debut with "Student Of The Year".
Asked what he wants to convey to his young fans, he said: "Just be yourself! Individuality is the main thing. Express yourself, ask a lot of questions. Experience everything once in life, but don't do anything that you feel would embarrass your parents."
Varun, the son of filmmaker David Dhawan, believes getting a platform to "express and explore" is really important for an artiste to perform and grow.
"Only when you get a platform, you can express and explore. Like I've done street plays and that really helped my confidence. There is a small crowd, but a few people watching you also helps. When we perform as actors, our confidence grows. We make our craft better," he said.
Varun's next film is "ABCD 2", which also stars Shraddha Kapoor. It will release on June 26.
He is also now busy shooting for Rohit Shetty's directorial "Dilwale", which also stars Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol.