There is no denying that the Karan Johar’s youngest protégé is one of the most successful actresses there is in Hindi Cinema. It is not just by fluke, or by the blessing that is bestowed upon her by gracious Johar, but her ability to choose scripts that extract the best out of her, I sit down with Alia Bhatt to talk about matters of the mind over brewing cups of coffee.
Be it the breath-taking portrayal in Udta Punjab or Dear Zindagi…”it’s not for the audience honestly or because it’s the right thing to do and people will love it. I do it because I like it that way. I am not strategizing, I think like that. I get bored easily. I don’t want to do a serious film now but won’t mind a biopic, which will be different and have a true story to tell. I want to do comedy, I am waiting for somebody to offer me one. I want to satisfy my needs, my cravings.
This is what I believe in… your first film chooses you and you choose your next film. But it was the reactions to Udta Punjab that encouraged me to take up roles that are risky. Had people not reacted to my part, I would have decided not to do such roles. But I don’t understand why people think it’s such a big risk in the first place. It is just a character. When people appreciated it, I was relieved.”
Alia Bhatt makes sure that she puts a smile to most people’s faces. You tell her this and she giggles, “I am a good student”’ are the first words that she utters after I ask her if she tried to fight her director Shashank Khaitan like her co-star Varun Dhawan. Even if you’re in two minds about believing her, her infectious laugh and the million expressions she has on her face while talking to you will make you forget whatever issues anyone might have with her. Trying to save Varun, she covers up for the other student of the class and says, “Varun is someone who keeps having arguments with his directors. He likes to ask a lot of questions. He’s got a difficult character after a long time and Shashank may add something new, change something because he likes to improvise…”
Of course, I smile.. If you follow her on social media, I am sure you would know that she can cry at the drop of a hat. Anything in the world can make her cry.. be it hunger or a long day at set. Remember when she came on the episode of Koffee With Karan… she was caught crying because there were cheese balls in the menu. Imagine! But she says, “if I am tired or hungry, I cry for the smallest things. I react to these things like a child.” Guilty as charged…
But this child-like charm turns into an excessive mature human being when it comes to signing a new one. Neither does pressure bother her, nor the curiosity. She scratches her head and ponders over it only to say, “I don’t know how the audience is looking at me, or what they think of me. I am the same person, I am just working. My achievements are the by-products of that. I don’t give myself that pressure from a third person’s point of view. I give that pressure to myself from my own point of view. I want to challenge myself.” And speaking of a challenge, if ever a biopic on Nazia Hassan is made, she wants to be a part of it. She was a singer and passed away at a very young age and if ever we get to see Alia donning that hat, it would be worth a clap for sure. But even after having achieved so much in such little time, one thing has not been struck off the bucket list and that is the opportunity to work with Raj Kumar Hirani. I think he is one man who every minuscule particle in the film industry wants to be around – “of course, I want to work with Raju Hirani and I also want to work with Nitesh Tiwari. I loved Dangal. I am dying to work with my 2 States director Abhishek Verman. I keep telling him we need to work again because I need his voice over my head. I remember during 2 States, Abhishek really pushed me and I need somebody to tell me I am bad.” Only she could admit that.
It has been quite a while since she has been working in the world of films, one thing which you don’t find easily in this fickle world is friendships. So I ask if she has found a pal or is still tip-toeing around faux friends of film. After a deep breath, she says, “I think friendships exist with people you connect with. I have lots of love and respect for Katrina Kaif. She is one of the leading actresses in the country. If anything happens and she needs me, I will always be there for her and vice versa. Even though I don’t talk to her everyday, I connect with her. It has happened over time.”
Now that friendships are made and her recent film Badrinath Ki Dulhania is being loved by so many, she is planning to learn Kathak and cooking and piano. Thats a good plan. Blowing off steam after a long shoot is always a good idea. Hovering over her filmography, the next two in line are absolute works of brilliance, at least from the vibe of it – Ayan Mukherjee’s Dragon with Amitabh Bachchan and Ranbir Kapoor and Gully Boys with Ranveer Singh. “There will a lot of action around me in Dragon but I don’t think I will be beating anybody up. But still there will be extensive prep for the film. Ayan told us there is just one character in the film, there is no Ranbir and Alia.
We are one character. It is not a typical superhero film — Ranbir won’t be seen wearing red underwear! It is mythological, a sci-fi supernatural film. Speaking of Amitabh Bachchan, he is fabulous obviously. I hope I have some scenes with him. We will start shooting once Ranbir wraps up the Sanjay Dutt biopic. Speaking of Gully Boys, I have done enough ads with Ranveer to know that he is a united-we-stand-divided-we-fall kind of person. I admire his energy. He will always be in character, never be out of it. With his kind of energy, it will be great to work him. It will keep me on my toes.” Let’s hope this girl gets to stay on her toes while she reaches for the sky… because strangely you don’t find strong actors with a warm heart every day. May your tribe increase!
This article was first published on Bollywood Film Fame