She's got the movies in her genes, and acting is all she ever wanted to do. Alia Bhatt, just 19, daughter of Mahesh Bhatt and Soni Razdan, is all set for a Bollywood debut with Student of the Year (SOTY) and wants to play a long innings in showbiz.
Despite her youth, there are certain things Alia is quite clear about: "I don't want to be a one-film wonder and then be re-launched after many years," Alia says.Is she quite the actor yet? It's too soon to call herself an actor, Alia says, even though she's already clear about what she needs to keep at it."I think that it depends on how determined we are and the drive that we have. If we manage to entertain and thrill the audience and the filmmakers, then I'm sure it will work," she says.
"It's too soon to tell if I am able to create an impression. I need to wait for another five to six films," she says, quite clear that she's in it for the long haul.Joining films was her original and only career plan.
"My decision after college was to study acting, but when the film happened, I said why not learn on the film. There is no plan B. If someone asks me what I would do if I can't succeed as an actor, I would say work harder, because there is nothing else I can do," she says.Even though she comes from a family steeped in Bollywood, Alia didn't want to make her debut with her father's production house, Vishesh Films, a launch pad for several successful actors like Emraan Hashmi and Esha Gupta.
"I didn't want to be launched by Vishesh Films. That would have been an easy option. I had to work for this film (SOTY). Close to 500 girls auditioned for this film. If it had been my father's production, why would he audition 500 girls if I was there?" she says.SOTY also marks the debut of two other newcomers - Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan.
Being the youngest on the set, Alia says she was the pampered one."I was completely pampered on set. Everything that I wanted, every need, was met. I never felt alone, even though this was my first film. I felt like a star," she said, adding however that being a star kid was sometimes a disadvantage, because people had high expectations.
"There is pressure not only because I come from a film family but also because this is my first film," she says.Although she had visited film sets as a child, facing the camera was a whole new ball game, Alia says.
"People assume I would have spent a lot of time on my father's sets. But that's not true. I have only vague memories of the sets. I used to get very bored, because it would take so long to change from one shot to another," she says.
So how was the experience of acting in her first film? "The first few days were a whole new experience. I had never worked on a film set before. But everyone made me feel comfortable. They made me feel like I was the special star on the set," she says.
And did her family help?"With this film, I didn't go to any of them for help. I wanted to learn from my own mistakes. I didn't have experience or training in acting. I was raw and I wanted to do it myself. But any time they wanted to step in and give me advice, I was open," she says.