She is only about three years old in the industry, but Alia Bhatt didn’t take long to prove her versatility and her acting prowess. No wonder the 22-year-old has her hands full with plum projects. Here, she talks about her big-ticket venture with Shah Rukh Khan, wearing a bikini in a film, and more.
You recently came back from a detox trip. How was it?
It was very nice and rejuvenating. It was a different kind of a holiday. Of course, you want to eat some yummy food, so I was doing that, but I was eating a lot of healthy food. I was busy exercising, swimming, reading and spending a lot of me time.
You will be doing a film with Shah Rukh. You must be excited?
I am obviously very excited. It’s a big deal. It’s like a dream come true. I am also happy because I am very fond of Gauri (Shinde; director). I loved her first film (English Vinglish; 2012).
Will no longer have any problem with my English Vinglish.. can't wait to be directed by Gauri Shinde with the man himself Shahrukh Khan!!!— SHAANDAAR Alia (@aliaa08) August 19, 2015
Are you an SRK fan?
Of course I am. I have watched all his films. I am like a crazy fan. As a youngster, I watched Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) so many times. Every Sunday, either of the two films or even Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... (2001) play on TV, and I watch them again and again. Also, my dad (film-maker Mahesh Bhatt) has worked with Shah Rukh, so I know the kind of actor he is. I am aware of his dedication. I know how hard-working he is. He is very charismatic.
The film is already being talked about a lot due to its unusual casting.
I am aware. Even when the announcement was made, many people were like, “What the hell?” or “How is this possible?” or “This is damn weird.” But I don’t want to say anything. I am going to stay quiet. I will let the trailers and the film do the talking. Sometimes, the story should be given more regard. So, let’s wait for that. I won’t say too much right now.
Your bikini shot in your next film has created a lot of buzz. Were you expecting this reaction?
I was just happy that I got to wear a bikini. I probably don’t even have the perfect body type for it. But I was like, “Whatever little recognition I will get for it, I will be happy.” And I have got that. I didn’t do it for any other reason. I still believe that I haven’t reached my peak (in terms of her fitness). That won’t happen for a while because I am still in training mode. I have been training hard for the past year or two. But as and when my bikini pictures come out and people love it, I become very happy. I was with Katrina (Kaif) the other day, and she told me, “I really liked that (the
sequence).” And I was like, “Now if Katrina Kaif has liked my bikini shot, then I have nothing to worry about.” That validation made me very happy (laughs).
You have done a variety of roles early in your career.
I am making such choices because I want to do different things. It is happening on purpose, but I have also been lucky to get these opportunities.
Is it true that you met Sidharth Malhotra’s family recently? Is there something brewing?
Nothing is happening. Sidharth said something very nice [
], which I really liked. He said that he was “seeing” me every day on the sets (of their new film). So, I will also stick to that, and say, “Yes, I see Sid. I saw him daily on the sets in Coonoor (Tamil Nadu). I see him when I am working with him. I see a lot of him on TV too.” (smiles)
All the films that you have done so far have been hits...
I feel very scared that this isn’t going to continue (smiles). I am keeping my fingers crossed, and hoping that my ‘perfect’ track record doesn’t get shaken up. But honestly, I have been extremely lucky. I have worked really hard. Since I want to make people happy, I am wary of making wrong choices.
Do you ever feel any pressure?
Yes, it (her spotless track record) does put some pressure. But I feel that the audience comes to watch the film in totality, and maybe a little because of me (smiles). So, my idea is to do quality cinema, and keep the audience’s preferences in mind.
You have just lent your support to Girls Rising (a global campaign for girls’ education). How important is it to put your star power behind such ventures?
I want to do as much as I can for the initiatives I believe in — whether it’s [working with] animal shelters, working for the cause of women’s empowerment or educating girls, because I genuinely believe that we are not here only for ourselves. I want to make it big, and be the biggest superstar, but you have to do things for others as well.
Are you bored of the jokes about your general knowledge (the actor has often been mocked after she answered a question incorrectly on a TV chat show)?
I am damn bored. It used to be exciting and funny at one point, but it was never irritating. Now, it’s boring. It gives a done-to-death kind of a feeling. Maybe, when I’ll make some other mistake, people can talk about that (smiles).