‘My successes taught me a lot more than my failure’: Alia Bhatt on her cinematic choices – Over the years, Alia Bhatt has seen a lot of success, but one thing has remained the same — her energy and positive vibe. Today, she has clearly claimed the top spot among all actresses and has also given a lot of male stars a run for their money. From shouldering a film completely on her own to making her presence felt in a movie like Gully Boy that revolved around the hero, the 26-year-old has done it all. Here, the Kalank star opens up about the thought process that goes behind her choices and why it will never be plagued by anyone’s expectations, including hers. Over to the powerhouse performer…
During our last interaction, you had called Roop (your character in Kalank) the most layered one. What was the reason?
If you notice, our trailer begins with my character saying that a decision taken by her in anger has had a domino effect on everybody’s lives. She’s pure at heart and brave, but she’s also a little rough around the edges. She’s imperfect and might make, what you may perceive, bad decisions. But whatever she does, she does out of love. She’s fighting in love, for love and facing the consequences. Love is her driving force and Roop is like a modern-day girl in the 1940s, who’s ahead of her times. Her attitude might be sehmi hui, but her thinking is powerful and forward. So, she’s layered in many ways because she doesn’t follow what’s right.
From Veera in Highway to Roop, you’ve celebrated imperfections in the characters you have portrayed. Do you veer towards such roles?
Yes, imperfect characters do attract me. Also, I feel that you have to give the audience something to fight for. If the character is doing just one thing, there’s no graph to it and it might become monotonous. In life, as a human being, I have taken a few good decisions and also made a few mistakes. I have learnt from it all. In Kalank, every character is flawed in their own way, but they are also strong, which is why they are dynamic. When all of them come together, it leaves so much room for drama, layers and complexities. It’s a true human relationship drama.
Do you think, today, the audience as well as actors don’t like watching vanilla heroines anymore?
I wouldn’t say that actresses don’t want to do it at all. But there is a new perception today. There has been a Chameli (2004) or a Gupt (1997) where the actresses have had different shades. We have just started noticing it now. Heroines have been doing it since ages. Even Madhuri ma’am has done some terrific roles, like in Mrityudand (1997). However today, there’s more hunger for roles that are off the beaten track. That’s great and encouraging for a lot of women and actors.
Today, because of the films you’ve already done, the audience always expects a certain performance from you. Does that add pressure?
Yes, there’s a certain responsibility I feel towards the audience. It’s not that I’m going to neglect the fact that 99 per cent of my films have done really well. I also understand that when they come in with a certain expectation, it’s not just me but also because of the trailer and the content that’s already been put out. However, I’m happy to have this expectation on my shoulders. That’s probably pushing me to work harder because I’ll still make instinctive choices. My choices will never get manipulated by other’s expectations. But my attitude towards work will get better. The more things are getting better, the more efforts I’m putting. I don’t think I was as hard-working two years ago. Now is the time to be even more focussed and attentive.
All your films have worked well, except one — Shaandaar. What have you learnt more from — the successes or the failure?
Apparently, nothing teaches you more than failure. But for me, I have had one failure and that did teach me a lot. My successes have taught me a lot more. I also give a lot of credit to my family and friends. Whenever things are going well, they keep reminding me that I should stay grounded, sane and simple. Ayan (Mukerji) recently told me, ‘You should tie some weight to your feet so that you can stay on the ground’ (laughs). I constantly have these people telling me this. For me, the process is more important. So, on the day of release, whatever nervousness I have just vanishes. Whatever the fate of the film may be, I don’t overthink it.
Kalank has had an emotional journey in the last 15 years. You even broke into tears at the launch…
I felt emotional for Abhishek (Varman). He’s like a brother who understands me better than I understand myself. I know what a difficult task it has been for him to put this film together and I also understand how important it is for him and all of us to be loved and appreciated. I feel proud of him and it breaks my heart when a human being is so lovely. I don’t know why. I feel that strongly about Abhishek. When I saw the teaser, all the memories came back.