Alia Bhatt: I am aware of my position in the industry

In her characteristic forthcoming style, Alia Bhatt talks about balancing mainstream with experimental cinema and making mistakes

Alia Bhatt is shooting for a promo track for her upcoming film, 'Udta Punjab' at a suburban restrobar when we meet her on a Thursday afternoon. Seated atop a dressing table of her vanity van, the actress is mulling over what to wear for the shoot. Excerpts from the interview:

Alia Bhatt
Alia Bhatt

Q. A number of Bollywood actresses avoid essaying de-glam roles. Did you also think about it before considering your character in 'Udta Punjab'?
A. I make choices based on my instincts. I do consult a few people before signing a film, but with this one I was pretty sure that I would be able to showcase my potential as an actor. So this de-glam character wasn't an issue.

Q. Is it destiny or a conscious effort to do both experimental and mainstream cinema?
A. If I had said no to a film like 'Udta Punjab' after 'Shaandaar', filmmakers would have thought that I have closed doors for experimental movies. But the fact that I am excited about such films tells them that I am open to them. Of course there is destiny at play, but at the same time, I am conscious about films I want to be part of.

Alia Bhatt

Q. 'Shaandaar' failed at the box office. And currently, if a film doesn't do well, the brand value of the actors gets affected even if they have performed well. Is that one of the reasons why you maintain a balance between mainstream and experimental cinema?
A. I am doing mainstream cinema because I love doing such films. I am doing them because I want to, not because I have to.

Q. Over the years, you must have rejected film offers. How difficult is it to say no to filmmakers in this phase of your career?
A. Firstly, I get upset when I like a script but can't do it due to date constraints. Secondly, there's nothing wrong in saying no to films. But you need to know how to go about it. In the past, I have made mistakes and regret not being sensitive while saying no to a film, but I know better now. It takes a while to say no because there is somebody who believes in the film more than you do.

Q. Has it become more difficult for you to pick films because your brand value is at stake?
A. Of course, it has become harder now. Initially, I could afford to do things my own way since I was new to the industry. But now, makers show a lot more trust in me and with trust comes responsibility. However, I don't overthink. I am aware of my position in the industry.

Q. What's your take on the Tanmay Bhat controversy?
A. It has been spoken about a lot, more than it needed to be spoken about. There are far more important issues that should be given importance.

Q.Coming back to your upcoming film, the film is facing trouble with Censor Board...
A. I think people will only gain from watching this film. It is educational and also gives a perspective on how life should be lived. I will be really upset if the Board does not clear the final product for the audience.

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