Striking up a conversation with Alia Bhatt is easy. Known for being candid, she constantly springs surprises with her unique take on everything. After a successful 2016, the young actress is gearing up for her upcoming film, Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya. Alia talks about her choice of roles, why she fears failure and why she likes to be the quintessential Hindi film heroine.
After Dear Zindagi, there is an image of you being an opinionated young girl that everyone looks up to. Has this feeling sunk in yet?
Not really. I detach myself from a film after it releases, especially when it becomes successful. This is when it becomes dangerous for any actor. My father always says people who have tasted success will feel they have nailed it and made it big; in the process they tend to take things easily which is not a good thing. I actually tend to forget the aftermath and go back to square one and start afresh. I won a lot of honours at recent film awards galas and everyone told me to celebrate in a big way, but I refrained as I wanted to focus on working harder. A lot of people say I am a youth icon; it feels nice, but I don't really let it go to my head.
Is this thought process the reason behind the daring choices you have made in Bollywood?
Yes, because I don't want to be rehearsed about my choices and become complacent. There is an image of me being strong- minded, but what if I want to do a film which is a masala entertainer? If I start taking myself seriously, then I won't be able to make such choices.
Did you always have a plan in mind about the kind of films you want to do?
I always wanted to become an actor and not just another pretty face. When Student Of The Year (2012) released, a lot of people wrote me off, but I didn't feel bad. There was never a vendetta to prove them wrong. I knew I would be able to prove myself, but I didn't know when it would happen. Luckily, it happened in my second film, Highway (2014). I feel people would kill for a debut like mine, and I love that kind of cinema, where I feel like a complete Hindi film heroine. I want to merge a good role with a great story.
Do you fear the constant attention that comes with being a star and being successful?
Fear is a dominant emotion in a performer's life. As an actor, I constantly fear failure. There is a fear of being insecure. Sometimes there is a fear of too much attention and, at the same time, when you don't get it, you fear that too. I think the way to deal with it is that I need to focus on the longevity of my work. My father says as human beings we are constantly trying to be immortal either through our work or in our personal life. I try and interact with all my fans and that is not because in return, I will get constant love, but because till the time I am here, I want to make my journey worthwhile.
With love, comes criticism, too. There are times when actors who don't belong to a filmi family often complain of nepotism. How do you look at it?
I think a star kid can get that first film due to nepotism. But to constantly get films just because you belong to a filmi family, is not possible. I don't want to take any names, but there have been many examples of sons and daughters of lineage who have come and gone without achieving anything. What about that? Eventually, people come to see you as an actor and not because your family is famous, and you can't fool them. I am aware people do struggle to make a mark in the industry, but it's not right to blame nepotism. I didn't plan my birth in the Bhatt family [Laughs]. I can't change that and today, I am successful not just because my family is famous, but also because I have worked hard and you can't take it away from me.
You have always been known as the industry's little girl from SOTY. After so many films and these many successes, you think it has changed?
Not until another little girl comes along [Laughs]. I think I will always remain the young girl in the industry, but I don't think so far. It's fun because you get pampered a lot.
There is already talk about your next film, Gully Boys, with Ranveer Singh. Have you started preparing for it?
I haven't started on it yet. We have discussed the script with Zoya Akhtar [director], but I guess we will do it once we are done with Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya. I can't wait to work with her. I have worked with Ranveer in a few commercials and I am excited to team up with him in a film. Both of us are passionate about our work, so it is going to be an amazing journey.