I did things I had never done before: Alia Bhatt
Newcomer ALIA BHATT traversed many of India's biggest highways across Himachal, Punjab and Rajasthan while shooting for Imtiaz Ali's Highway. She tells Dinesh Raheja about gulping down atta soup, climbing a tree, getting hugged by locals and rediscovering India
When a film is titled Highway, you know travel is on the cards. We shot all over India, from Delhi to Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and even Rajasthan. The only time I have travelled within India earlier was during a school trip, and this shoot rekindled those memories.
Roughing it out
Our stay in Himachal was cosy. I was more than excited about travelling by bus. I would run inside the bus to grab a seat near the window.
We shot in several locations in Himachal such as Rampur, Kalpa, Reckong Peo, Powari, and Nako, and around Tabo and Kaza in the Spiti Valley. When we were shooting in Kaza, I saw a group of women sitting in a row. I was speaking to my father at that time and he told me to click pictures with these women and send it to him. I ran to them and clicked several pictures. They were so beautifully dressed.
Unfortunately, I am perpetually on a diet so I kept away from the dal makhani and tandoori rotis, but the unit freaked out. At a roadside dhaba at Tabo in the Spiti Valley, we had a traditional soup that they made with vegetables and a little ball of atta in it — it was so good I ended up having three bowls.
Hugs all the way
The people in Himachal are very warm and always smiling. They hug you, put a cap on your head, take pictures with you, and make you feel like they know you. Wherever we went, the hospitality remained the same.