Making Magic - Alia Bhatt

Never compromising her honesty for the sake of mere modesty, this Bhatt starlet has definitely turned heads all along. Now seven films old, the road she’s travelled began with some bumps. But it’s smoother highways now, with both her recently released films doing exceedingly well, and Alia suddenly metamorphosing into Bollywood’s Next Big Thing. From fashion to films, fun to frolic, this star will certainly be fresh forever! Carefree and tantrum-free (!), Alia is more like that one friend you might just end up talking to, delving into your secrets, rather than only looking up to her as a superstar.

Today we see lots of newcomers who are mere arm candy in films. Do you think doing films like Highway and Udta Punjab will mark a welcome trend for other actresses as well?
I don’t know about setting a trend, but I definitely feel that taking risks is always a good thing. And you know this is your comfort zone and this is where the magic happens. So I genuinely believe that magic can happen without you having to really try hard for it. I don’t know about the box office collections, but what I’m more concerned with is that the films are liked by the audience rather than just making a good amount of money.

Many of your contemporaries consider you to be the next big thing in Bollywood. How does that make you feel?
There is no denying that you love listening to good things about yourself, and you love it when people appreciate you. I am very thankful to be launched and supported by Karan. He is my mentor, a friend, and a really cool dude who I can rely on 100%. In fact, I don’t share my film-related discussions with my own dad, but instead go to Karan for advice. He has been instrumental in influencing my career decisions. Varun, of course, is my best friend, and I know Ranbir really well and he has been very supportive and encouraging of all three of us, and so has the industry. So it’s really nice and it makes your workplace a much calmer and a more peaceful environment.

Hailing from such a heavyweight lineage like the Bhatts, was there any additional baggage or pressure on you to perform and live up to expectations?
Of course, and the baggage is still there! Every time I talk to people they look at me like, ‘Seriously? You’re a kid, why are you here? You don’t make sense 90% of the time, so why are you even talking?’ I have to deal with that, because I come from a background where my father is rightly known to be very intellectual and people look up to him. That’s a great thing and I am really happy; but matching up to that becomes a bit tiring after some time.

You tend to balance mainstream and offbeat cinema. Do you think that will give you bigger rewards in the long run?
I think it’s my love for films that will give me a longer innings. Doing films that audiences love will take me far. But I need to do films that make me comfortable and those that don’t. This will also prevent me from being bored with work. They say the sky is the limit, because the sky is limitless! I want people to believe that there is nothing Alia cannot do!

So what is the difference in your take on acting now, compared to five years ago when you first started working as an actor?
Hmmm… I imagined acting to be a part of a fairy-tale Cinderella story, a dream world with everything pretty, glamorous and happy. But today, though my love for acting has grown, the responsibility and pressure build up with each year and film. It’s no longer a dream world but a job – and not in the negative sense! What I mean is that you are so used to doing what you do, that you don’t want to know how it will feel if it is suddenly not there in your life!

Shifting gears a bit: what’s fashion to you?
For me, fashion is always being yourself, being the person you are. You know everyone today can wear a really nice dress and look fashionable. But when it comes to a person, fashionable clothes can’t change you from within. Fashion is definitely fun for me, as I like trying out different things, whether they are good or bad. But I have never let my individuality and personality get overpowered by the clothes I wear.

So then, what’s your take on being called a fashionista?
It’s great that people appreciate my looks and outfits. That definitely boosts my confidence, but when it comes to being a fashionista, there was never any such set parameter in my mind. I just dress for myself, not for anyone else. But yes, I do try out new things, and I go wrong most times, too! But then the criticisms don’t bog me down. I have just started wearing clothes to make myself happy.

What’s the one criticism that upsets you?
I don’t think criticism upsets me but, yes, I remember when I started off, people started talking way too much about my eyebrows! I don’t thread my eyebrows and I feel it is a very stupid thing to even talk or feel bad about. But you don’t want to take in things like this. If someone comes to me and tells me I need to lose weight, I will try and do something about it. But things like eyebrows are irrelevant!

What are you most comfortable wearing?
Pyjamas, any day! You can come over to my place and you will find me roaming around in pyjamas! They are the coolest and the most comfortable wear ever.