The tattoo on the nape of Alia Bhatt’s neck makes a blink-and-miss appearance as she casually adjusts her hair while settling down next to us. And since it’s spelt Patakha, we can’t help but wonder if it’s got anything to do with Patakha guddi, one of the songs in her upcoming movie Highway, but she puts that thought to rest. “It is not permanent but I won’t mention what’s it for at the moment. It’s definitely not for Highway though,” she adds.
Dressed in a sheer black top, skinny jeans and with her lips painted a shade of hot pink, Alia looks closer to her character Shanaya in her debut movie Student of the Year (SOTY), than that of Veera in Highway. Anyone who’s seen the promos of the film can see that there are no designer clothes or any trace of make-up on the young actor’s face. And that, says Alia, was one of the things she enjoyed the most during the shoot of the road movie. “I didn’t miss the designer clothes and make-up. I enjoy wearing designer clothes but there are times, when I just want to lounge around in my pyjamas and this movie was like an extended version of it,” she grins. Another thing that she didn’t do was look at the monitor once a scene was shot. “I didn’t want to see how I was looking. Otherwise, I would start worrying about looking fat or looking bad on-screen,” she adds.
From playing a snooty, wealthy, teeny bopper in her debut film, to roughing it out on real locations (sleeping on roadsides, climbing trees and travelling in trucks) for her second movie, it’s been a journey of revelation for the 20-year-old. “People say my mental age is around 30 but I’m actually really young. So there was a whole new discovery that I made during the shoot of Highway. I literally found a new person inside me because I tapped into emotions I never thought I had,” she says, adding that her dad Mahesh Bhatt too, had predicted of these changes. “He genuinely believes this movie would change my life, if not my career. It’s already done half of that, we’ll see about the career bit later,” she smiles.
And when it comes to her career, Alia admits she’s not much of a planner. “I try not to calculate too much. It kills the fun and the spontaneity,” she says. After SOTY, Alia says she could have easily done another high school film. “I feel I got an opportunity with Highway and I took it. This film was a blessing in disguise,” she adds.
She even got a chance to sing for AR Rahman for her second film. “We used to sing and dance in between shots and director Imtiaz Ali heard me sing. He suggested my name to Rahman sir for a portion in the film where Veera sings,” reveals Alia. And she certainly enjoyed the experience of the unexpected opportunity of singing the song Sooha saha. “I love reading my name in front of singer!” she giggles, reminding us again that mentally she might be 30 years old but in reality, but she is in fact, a 20-year-old girl.