We caught up with Alia Bhatt at Dusit Deverana, Gurgaon, where she was promoting her film ‘Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya,’ to talk about her journey so far in Bollywood, her relationship with Varun Dhawan, her favorite directors and more!
Student of the Year. Highway. 2 States. 3 films. 3 hits. How has the experience in the industry been so far?
This is where I had always dreamt to be, as far back as my memory takes me. It also runs in the family. My father, his father, my mother, sister are all part of the industry. I guess that too influences your choices. But I didn’t want to be here just because my parents or their parents had been here. Deep inside, I knew this is where I eventually belonged. All this doesn’t take away from the fact that I have worked hard to be here. As far as films are concerned, I don’t want to pick the usual, run-of-the-mill scripts. I try choose something that entertains the audience while being meaningful.
Your earliest memory of movies as a child?
I vividly remember that time when I was watching a Govinda song on our small silver TV. I don’t quite remember how old I was. But I was completely in awe of what was going on in front of me. Govinda and Karishma Kapoor dancing away without a care, in the middle of a road, and then in the garden, and then in the bedroom! I was scratching my head away figuring what the hell was going on here. How were they changing out clothes this fast? Why wasn’t anyone stopping them from dancing in the middle of a road. I was confused and smitten! That’s also when I knew I wanted to be there. On that screen! That’s one incident I vividly recall. Ever since, my love for films and Bollywood has deepened. There was also this time when I had chopped my hair short, because Kajol flaunted short hair in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
You have already worked with Varun Dhawan in Student of the Year. How was it working with again (in Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya)? What is your equation with him like, off screen?
Before we became somebody or before we became ‘actress’ Ali Bhatt or ‘actor’ Varun Dhawan – we were friends. I have known him that long. And we were always in touch. So what I share with Varun is very special. Our bond, in fact, deepened after the film, having spent so much time together. The film also got us closer, because somewhere we believed in our characters and the story. The bitter sweet relationship that the two characters share in the film is pretty much what Varun and me share in real life.
Do you recall any fun moments on the sets of Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya?
There was a scene we were filming outside DU (Delhi University), where we had to eat ‘kulche chole.’ It was meant to be for ‘Samjhawan.’ After sometime, I totally forgot it was being recorded. I was so busy binging. We had a great time shooting there. It came out quite natural, because we all were actually having a good time.
How does Alia Bhatt deal with criticism?
I take it as gracefully as I take appreciation or praise. Negative feedback, even if untrue, only pushes you out of your comfort zone. It drives you to get out there and prove your opponents and detractors wrong. And being able to do that is so satisfying.
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Are you afraid of competition?
Where’s the fun without competition? My biggest competition is with the last film I’ve done. If it is a hit, I want to work towards making my next film an even bigger hit. If not, it better be, at least, as good as the first. I also take inspiration from other people’s good work. It motivates me to get out there and do the same or even better.
Who does Alia Bhatt seek advice from when it comes to work?
I am mostly my own boss when it’s about selecting films. I take instinctive decisions. But if I do feel the need to talk to someone, Karan Johar is my go-to guy.
I know it’s too early to ask. But which has been the most special film to work in, so far?
It’s difficult to answer that. Every film lets you live a different experience. They all have something to give you or teach you. But some films also change you along the way, as a person. Highway was the beginning of that process for me. Highway, in fact, has been my biggest changeover both as an actor and as individual. I hold all three of my films very close to my heart but Highway is exceptionally special.
The one film-maker Alia Bhatt would want to work with?
This interview was conducted a day before the release of Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya.