Alia Bhatt comes from a Bollywood family. Her father, Mahesh Bhatt, is an acclaimed film-maker, and her mother, Soni Razdan, has acted in several movies. Yet, the 23-year-old says that her childhood was like that of any other kid’s — all thanks to her mother. As we meet Alia and Razdan at their cosy Juhu home for an exclusive Mother’s Day (May 8) shoot, which is photobombed by Bhatt, the duo tell us that today, they are friends before being a mother and daughter.
“We understand each other very well,” says Razdan, adding that having been an actor herself, she can relate to her daughter’s needs, and what she’s going through. “Alia needs a full support system that I’m happy to provide her. Even after she shifts into her new home, I can still run her house via remote control,” she says.
The 59-year-old feels that Alia hasn’t changed, despite attaining a star status. “She was always independent, and didn’t seem to need much. She would be in her own world. She was never clingy, and has never been demanding. She never gave me any grief,” says Razdan. However, Alia feels otherwise, and contradicts her mum, saying, “I feel I am very demanding, as I expect her to take care of everything. I am fortunate to have her around to help me with my finances, diet, schedule and everything else. Every time I ask her for anything, I feel like I am asking for too much, and that I should, too, do something nice for her. I feel I don’t do enough for my mum to make her feel special. Mothers are giving in any case, but in our relationship, she is not just my mother, but also my manager, friend, doctor, therapist, and more. She is a superwoman.” Alia began working at the age of 17, and made her acting debut with film-maker Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year (2012). “It was a life-changing moment for us, as suddenly, so much was thrown at us,” she explains. However, Razdan says she wasn’t worried for Alia with regards to the pressures that come with being an actor.
“I was just sad that she started out at 17. I wish she had enjoyed for a few more years, and would have had a chilled out college experience. She was slogging like a donkey at 17,” she says.
The young actor also reveals that everything hasn’t always been hunky-dory in their family. But they have always been “there for each other”. “As a family, you all see each other go through that (hardships). We have seen it all, and we are old enough to talk about our issues. We confide in each other. We are not a typical family that goes for a movie on Sunday, or has dinner together every night. But we are strong as the Great Wall of China. Nothing can stop us from supporting one another, and enduring each other’s pain as well,” adds Alia.
On another note, Razdan admits that when her daughter’s intelligence was being questioned on various platforms, and she had become a muse for several GIFs, she was oblivious to it all. “I didn’t even know. I, too, live in my own world,” she says, with a laugh. Alia adds to this, saying, “We don’t talk about such things (media reports). I am a very private person. I don’t like to talk about things till someone asks about them.”
Since the paucity of time is an issue with Alia, Razdan says that she is always looking for ways to be connected to her. “Sometimes, I check her Twitter handle to see what she is tweeting about. Sometimes, I know she’s shooting for an ad, but I wouldn’t know which one. When we go for a holiday, it feels like we haven’t met for a year. We have lots to talk about,” she says.
What do you miss about your mum when she is not around?
I hate it when she asks countless questions daily. But when she isn’t around, I miss exactly that.
What is the one quality that you have imbibed from her?
Too many, like her paranoid nature. She’s a hypochondriac. If there is a small cut, she will say, “I hope you don’t have leprosy.” She takes any incident to the worst level. I am also understanding and compromising like her. I ensure everyone around me is happy.
How does Alia annoy you?
I get frustrated when I don’t see her for days. I also get annoyed when she doesn’t rest enough. Once she shot all day with a bad cold, and later, she went to someone’s house for some party, and was there till 4am. I knew she was exhausted and needed rest.
What would you want her to learn in life?
She has to learn to be calmer. She tends to get a bit hyper like I was when I was younger. I would also lose my temper quickly. Later in life, I learnt that in order to deal with people, one has to be gentle, and give them respect. That always works.
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