Alia Bhatt on her declaration of love for Ranbir Kapoor at Filmfare Awards: I don’t need to defend what I did
After playing hide-and-seek on the subject of her relationship for a better part of a year, Alia Bhatt is ready for PDA but talking about RK is still off limits. But her first film with an ensemble cast, bagging biggies with SS Rajamouli and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and letting herself be vulnerable on screen are fair game. Excerpts from an interview:
Your upcoming film, Kalank, despite a star-studded cast that also includes Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur and Sonakshi Sinha, is basically your character Roop’s story. A tough one to pull off?
Since I’m close to Abhishek (Varman, director) I was always aware that he was writing this film but I had no idea he was writing Roop’s character with me in mind. I was with him all through the scripting and could see how excited he was. (Smiles) And I was excited for him. When he came to me, I already knew the story and its potential. Still, I went through the process of reading it and loved it.
It is a wonderful role, probably my most challenging till date because the way Roop deals with situations in her life is very different from the way I would. Her body language was also unfamiliar and so did not come naturally to me. If it works, Kalank will be an important film for me in my journey through Hindi cinema. When you take on roles that are emotionally exhausting, do you carry them home with you even after
pack-up or can you switch off easily?
I was shooting for Kalank, a period drama, and Brahmastra, a fantasy action-adventure, simultaneously so I didn’t have any choice but to switch off. The two characters are very different from each other. Having saidthat, there were a lot of moments in Kalank when I had to tap deep within and leave myself vulnerable on screen. It’s not often that you need to dig deep into your core so early in life, but because of characters like Roop, I’ve been going to these places without prior planning.
And how does it feel when you reach these places?
There’s a strange sense of relief… You feel like you have unlocked another box. This is your fourth film with Varun after Student of the Year and the Dulhania series, but this is the first time you’re a part of an ensemble cast. How was the experience?
For me as an actress it’s interesting to be a part of an ensemble cast. For the audience too it’s been a while since we had an ensemble film where every character has his or her own backstory and graph. It’s always lovely to work with Varun as we enjoy a certain comfort level. We understand each other, even take each other for granted, but also feed off each other’s passion.
Kalank was my first film with Adi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and it has been an honest giveand-take equation. Working with Madhuri ma’am and Sanjay sir was the stuff dreams are made of. And Sona and I had a lovely time on the shoot, she is a fine actor, so effortless.
How does it feel to be working in the biggest projects and with the biggest directors — SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ishallah with Salman Khan — when you are just 26?
I don’t think my age should be seen as a barometer for success. Age is just a number. Of course I’m grateful for the films I’ve got and excited about the future. It’s also a little scary.
Tell us about these films.
These beautiful opportunities have come into my life almost simultaneously and I hold them in great regard. They have made me more focussed and dedicated as an actress. I’m waiting to start the journey. They have already been announced so I’d rather work than talk about them.
There’s also Takht and the biopic of mountaineer Arunima Sinha…
Yes, Takht is coming up. Karan (Johar) is directing me again, seven years after my debut, Student of the Year, and that makes it special. There is conjecture about several other films but only the ones I have mentioned have been confirmed. Of course I will always be looking for good roles and I’m in talks for other projects. At the recent Filmfare Awards, while accepting your Best Actress trophy for Raazi, you pointed to Ranbir Kapoor and said, “Tonight is all about love; there, my special one, I love you.” And when his name was announced he kissed you first before walking up to the stage. Are these actions and announcements an official confirmation of your relationship?
That was not an announcement. And I don’t need to defend what I did because it was very personal. On the topic of marriage, your mother, Soni Razdan, was recently quoted as saying that you are “too young to rush into any lifetime decision”…
I don’t know in what context she said it so it’s difficult to comment.
Your sister Shaheen Bhatt has been away in London, studying interior design. When you bought your own apartment, she and you were sharing it. How have you been dealing with her absence? I miss her, she returned to Mumbai last Saturday and will be here for the next two weeks. I’m happy to have her back and we will be spending time together