Friday, August 12, 2022
Cover Story

A Beautiful Diwali with Alia Bhatt

By Petrina D’Souza, 21 Oct, 2019

    Diwali celebrates light, positivity and happiness and Alia practices these values in her daily life. The stunning actress talks about her journey, her goals and the role she plays in encouraging others to follow their dreams.

    When an actor with a Bollywood background makes a debut, everyone believes that he or she has got it easy. But what one does not see is the insurmountable responsibility the person carries on his or her shoulder. The standards are high for this individual as the pressure he or she is facing is two-fold – the pressure to perform and prove your talents and the pressure to make sure the name and fame created by your predecessors in Bollywood is not tainted. 

    Image: Viral Bhayani

    Lately, there have been a parade of celebrity kids making their debut in Bollywood, and many more young debutants are expected in the coming months. While most of them get the chance to debut, many have succumbed to the demands and public criticism. And very few have managed to create an identity separate from their ancestors. A prominent name among thse successful celebrity kids is Alia Bhatt.



    Daughter of notable director Mahest Bhatt and Soni Razdaan, Alia has proved to the world that is not just her father’s daughter. Giving once hit performance after another, Alia has won hearts with her versatility and infectious energy. At present, she is one of the top actresses in Bollywood who has worked with diverse actors and played dynamic roles – and she’s only 26 years old. Alia describes her journey as an actor as being very fulfilling, creative and challenging. “But I believe the journey has jut begun,” she asserts. “If I am able to sum up my journey already, then that is quite boring to me. As of now, I am just relishing all the new challenges and experiences because eventually it is all about challenging yourself and becoming a better version of yourself,” says the young star.

    Becoming a better version of yourself is indeed what the Diwali spirit stands for. As we celebrate the Festival of Lights, Alia’s success, caused by her hardwork and positive attitude, stands as inspiration to those making new resolutions during Diwali. The festival celebrates light, positivity and happiness and Alia practices these values in her daily life. Alia talks about her journey, her goals and the role she plays in encouraging others to follow their dreams.

    What do you like about Diwali?

    I love the fact that Diwali is the festival of lights, because we just need an excuse to put up beautiful fairy lights and diyas in our house. What I like about this festival is that it brings family, extended family, friends and colleagues under one roof. It’s that one occasion when everybody comes together leaving their work aside. For me, it’s just an excuse to be with your people and friends and do something that brings everyone together. Also, with time, I have really started to enjoy dressing up in Indian clothes, because one doesn’t really get to take out Indian wear as much, besides weddings. (Excerpt from Times News Network article by Neha Maheshwri)

    What does Diwali mean to you?

    It’s a very special festival and it means so many beautiful things on different levels. I believe that the light really is within you. So, Diwali is that day or time of the year when you remind yourself that the light has to come from within and you have to keep that fire going. Whether you are having a good time or a bad time, whether you are going through a positive phase or not — it’s a good occasion to remind yourself that eventually, it’s your strength and light over everything. I really like what this festival embodies. (Excerpt from Times News Network article by Neha Maheshwri)

    Image: Alia Bhatt wearing Punit Balana

    What has been your proudest moment in your professional and personal life?

    The proudest moment would have to have been with Raazi, with the kind of love and response the film got. It has been a very critically acclaimed film but it has also been an audiences’ film. For me that is a very proud moment because that just makes me feel that content is the real driving force in cinema today. I don’t really get very proud of myself in my personal life so when I work hard and when I am sleepless but in my heart feeling the excitement to still go to work and not let the lack of energy affect me, that always feels nice.

    You are always seen in strong, versatile roles, how do you decide on a film or role? What connects you to it?

    For me versatility is almost second nature. It is not something I plan, it is something I crave for which is why I choose characters like tat. I am a true Piscean which is why I am a very moody person, I am also someone who likes to do different things, watch different things, perform different characters and that is what makes me choose the different films because there is no one kind of film that I will continuously. It is the difference I am attracted to, the difference in storyline and in character and genre.

    How has Bollywood changed since your debut film?

    It has changed a lot. The importance that we are giving right now to writers and screenplay today, that has been the most important thing for me, now I  can say that even the audience is making those choices. They are pushing the content films forward and going for it and that it gives people who write films of that kind more confidence that they should go for subjects that are new, different, and effective along with the dose of entertainment.

    Has any particular role or film has an impact on you personally? Why and how?

    No role has really impacted me personally but yes I have learnt a little something from every character I have played. For example, when I did Kapoor And Sons, I played a girl who had lost her parents very young and when I was doing that scene, I realized how we take our parents for granted from time to time. Doing a film like Raazi made me realize how important it is to feel patriotism rather than express or flaunt it because just loving your country is not enough. If you feel it, you will do things to contribute to society.

    Having worked with so many actors/actresses and directors in Bollywood, is there an actor or director who want to work with in the near future? Why?

    My bucket list of directors and actors will go on and on. I don’t like taking names but honestly I am getting such beautiful opportunities to work with all of them. It is not like I only want to work with particular people and I won’t work with the others. I am open to working with everyone, new, established and up and coming, as long as it is the story and screenplay attracts me. That is for me the most important – the story and core of the film.

    How has Bollywood changed over the years with its acceptance of actresses and women-centric films?

    It has changed, the perception has changed. By perception I mean that people are not considering women-centric as a drawback anymore. I think they are just making their decisions purely based on what they see in the trailer so that is a very big change. But the fact that we are talking about women-centric films, female directors, that for me is still an issue. The day we stop talking about it as though it is a completely strange thing, for me the perception will honestly have changed. 

    How do you deal with criticism, whether related to your film, dressing sense or a comment you made?

    I love criticism, I think it is very important and I am also very critical of myself. I am not attached to my work, when I act, I am not attached to my performance. If you have a point, I will listen to it. If I disagree with you on a script level, then there is nothing to say. Eventually I am my director’s actor, so whatever I do is purely based with the conviction that I have on my director.

    Image: Alia Bhatt wearing Anita Dongre

    You are an inspiration to many, who are your role models?

    I find having one role model quite a cliché. I think you can find inspiration in anyone and everyone. It is just how open you are to knowing that you don’t have all the answers. In that manner, you can find inspiration from people who have been around much longer than you or people who have just come around or people who are not even related to your field. 

    What is your message for young girls who are aspiring to enter this industry?

    It is difficult and rejection is hard but keep your head up high and dream with your eyes wide open.

    What projects are you working on next? 

    Next year I have Brahmastra and Sadak 2, Brahmastra is a supernatural fantasy. Both different stories, and very exciting.

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