|Alia Bhatt in Student of the Year
She’s just 19 and she sounds it. Alia Bhatt is giggly one moment, dead serious the next. t2 caught up with the pretty and petite daughter of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt who debuted with Karan Johar’s Student of the Year on Friday.
We missed you in Calcutta for the promotions of Student of the Year…
Yes, unfortunately, I had to give Calcutta a miss because I wasn’t feeling well. I would have really liked to be there and talk about my film.... I am really feeling the butterflies. I have wanted to be in the movies ever since I was four years old and it’s finally coming true. I can’t even begin to explain how excited and nervous I am feeling.
What films did you grow up watching?
I remember as a kid I used to love watching Karisma Kapoor and Govinda dancing in those super David Dhawan films. In fact, I grew up watching those fun, entertaining films. I just loved those No 1s (Dhawan’s No 1 series of films). Then, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was a film that I watched and re-watched so many times. I also loved Kuch Kuch Hota Hai… all romantic and beautiful films. Masala and romance in films is one factor that has always interested me as a movie lover.
None of your dad Mahesh Bhatt’s films?
Of course I did watch his films every now and then and to be honest, I was always biased towards them because my dad was making them! (Giggles)
So from being a fan of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to being offered a Karan Johar campus romance… it must have been quite overwhelming.
It was! I didn’t ever expect that Karan Johar, given the huge name that he is, would ever direct newcomers in a film and that I would be one of them. Come on, I am just like any other girl… one of those girls who has always been a fan of Karan’s films, especially the ones that had Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in them (giggles). And for him to choose me as the leading lady of his film out of so many girls was so huge, especially as my debut film. I don’t know whether to call it a coincidence or put it down to a big, big factor of luck (giggles), but it’s a great feeling that I have managed to do my first film with Karan Johar. I know it sounds cliched, but Student of the Year is nothing short of a dream debut for me. I loved being Shanaya.
Did you ask Karan why he chose you from among so many hopefuls?
Karan always says in every interview that what he basically saw in me was a hunger for films… hunger to perform. And that’s absolutely true because, as I said, ever since I can remember I have wanted to be a Bollywood actress and wear lovely clothes and sing and dance around trees (giggles). My eyes just sparkle every time I watch a Bollywood film and I always imagine myself in the shoes of the actress in that film (giggles).
So did you get to do all that you had ever imagined you would in your debut film?
Ya, ya everything! I have done a beach scene, a song in Kashmir (Ishqwala love)… an item disco song (The Disco Song)… a wedding song (Radha). Also a lot of dramatic scenes, romantic scenes and the normal conversation scenes. Karan has made me do all that I had ever dreamed of. In fact, the experience was way better than I had ever thought it would be.
Was working with Karan intimidating in any way?
Sometimes I would just sit around and it would hit me: ‘Oh wow, this is a Karan Johar film and I am in it doing some amazing work.’ But Karan is so down-to-earth and so easy to work with that he never made an issue out of it if he felt that we were going wrong somewhere. He made all three of us very comfortable. He would treat us like professionals and listen to us if we had suggestions about something.
Why didn’t you do your debut film with your dad?
It was a conscious decision that I wouldn’t ever begin my career with my dad. Of course, at that point of time, I never knew that I would do my first film with Karan. I always wanted to aim for an outside production because I never wanted to have it that easy. Having said that, I would love to work with Vishesh Films (uncle Mukesh Bhatt’s production banner) and be in films directed by Mohit (Suri) and Kunal (Deshmukh). I would love to work with my dad as well.
You have said in an interview that your parents are as excited as you are...
My mom (Soni Razdan) has always been the driving force behind all my decisions in life. She knew very early on that I wanted to be an actress and she really pushed me and helped me to become one and realise my dream. As the release is drawing nearer, my parents are even more excited than I am, if that’s possible (giggles). My dad has become my new best friend. He calls me every five minutes to know what’s happening (giggles). It feels great to know that I have made my parents proud.
What has your sister Pooja’s advice been to you?
She’s been very supportive and always told me to stay grounded. She has promised me that she will watch my film on the first day, first show.