When she was younger, Alia Bhatt’s mother, Soni Razdan, told her that her name meant "something high up in the sky". The actor would keep telling herself that she was a star. Little did she know that by 2014, she would actually become one of Bollywood’s biggest stars — within only two years of her debut.
Alia, however, feels she doesn’t deserve that tag just yet. "To become a star, you need to have constant, loyal fans, and a strong body of work," says the 21-year-old, whose year has included three back-to-back hits in Highway, 2 States and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.
After her relatively run-of-the-mill debut in Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year (2012), Alia changed gears immediately, signing up for the raw, powerful role of Veera in Highway. Many saw it as a risk, but she didn’t. "There was a lot of excitement and anxiety, because, after all, I was going to be directed by Imtiaz Ali in my second film," she says.
Despite belonging to a Bollywood family, Alia isn’t your typical industry kid. "More than anything, I feel responsible for making people frown and smile," she says, adding, "It’s a good feeling that people know me, but honestly, I still feel like a newcomer. I haven’t felt any visible difference, except the fact that very often I see people — including kids — standing outside my house, knowing that I live there."
However, there’s no denying that the number of digits on her paycheque has changed. "I am not going to say anything about that," she says, laughing. But Alia admits that she understands the "importance" of saving, as she has a lot of aspirations. "I would be lying if I was to say that money isn’t important, but I do believe that it is more important to be responsible. I have to be careful about not spending what I earn irrationally. The dreams I have need a lot of saving," she says.