Alia Bhatt cheers for mom Soni Razdan in Yours Truly

I’d love to work with a Bengali director... in Bengali movies, says Alia Bhatt

  • Published 13.11.18, 12:21 AM
  • Updated 13.11.18, 12:21 AM
  • 3 mins read
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Denim jacket over a white top and black track pants, a red fanny pack and block heels — we loved Alia’s athleisure look. Picture: Rashbehari Das

Alia Bhatt was in Calcutta on Sunday to cheer for her parents, Soni Razdan and Mahesh Bhatt, for their film Yours Truly, directed by Sanjoy Nag. The film that had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival on October 9 also had a screening at the 24th Kolkata International Film Festival on Sunday.

“This is the first time I’m attending a press conference for my mom’s film. It has been the opposite so far. She always comes for the press conference of my films. Today she’s the heroine and I’ve come as family!” said Alia at a press interaction held before the film’s screening at Nandan, looking gorgeous in a maroon ethnic outfit.

Alia greets mom Soni Razdan at The Oberoi Grand
Alia greets mom Soni Razdan at The Oberoi Grand Picture: Rashbehari Das

Soni Razdan plays the protagonist Mithi Kumar in Yours Truly; Mahesh Bhatt appears in a cameo that is crucial to the plotline. Based on a story from Annie Zaidi’s book, Love Story # 1 To 14, Yours Truly is about the inner journey of Mithi, a lonely woman who pines for a man she has never met. This is the first time Soni and Mahesh have come together on screen.

“Seeing my father and mother on screen together for the first time has been both ajeeb and special for me,” said Alia. “I was so into the film that by the time my father comes in the film… and when I saw him, he seemed like a character to me. It didn’t occur to me that he’s my father or that’s my mother. Then eventually it came like a train and hit me and I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s my parents together on screen!’ Usually, he’s always directed her but now he’s acting with her. So I feel like, this is just the beginning. We don’t know... maybe they’ll be coming together on screen a lot!” she laughed, going on to add why Calcutta is her favourite city.

“I’ve already put up a post on Instagram saying that I’m in my favourite city. Calcutta is my favourite city. It’s a city that gives you so much warmth and so much love.... The moment I entered the hotel, I asked for food! I wanted the mustard fish, vegetables; the hotel said they’re sending me sandesh but I am on a diet. Khane ki main bahut shaukeen hoon. Whenever you eat this food, it’s like dil ka pet bhar jata hai, woh wali feeling ati hai,” said the Raazi actress.

Alia greets mom Soni Razdan at The Oberoi Grand
Alia greets mom Soni Razdan at The Oberoi Grand Picture: Rashbehari Das

When Alia was asked if she knew any Bengali, she promptly said, “Ami tomake bhalobashi.”

What Alia said next was music to the ears of the Tollywood industry. “I’d love to work with a Bengali director, work in Bengali movies. If I can do all kinds of cinema in every kind of language and master every form of art and reach out to all your hearts, that’ll be my biggest dream and achievement come true.”

Soni had worked with Alia in this year’s critically acclaimed film Raazi, directed by Meghna Gulzar. When Alia was asked how it felt to see her mother in Yours Truly, as an audience member, she said, “I’ve been watching my mom on screen even before I became an actor, before I even knew what acting was all about… in all my father’s films, theatre and all the different films that she has done. Earlier it used to be very heartbreaking for me because my father used to kill my mother in every film — she was either falling from the window or getting stabbed! Something or the other was happening, which always used to break my heart. I was most happy that she was not dying in Yours Truly!” she laughed.

Alia greets dad Mahesh Bhatt at The Oberoi Grand
Alia greets dad Mahesh Bhatt at The Oberoi Grand Picture: Rashbehari Das

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Sanjoy for making this film with my mum because I think it is very important to tell different stories. Loneliness is a sensitive topic but has been treated in a light way. It’s so prevalent in all our lives but to take a journey of a woman and follow it in such an interesting way with audio-visual treatment was amazing,” added Alia.

“This moment in itself is a pure moment for me,” said Mahesh.

Soni Razdan, Mahesh Bhatt, Alia Bhatt and Sanjoy Nag at the press meet at Nandan on Sunday
Soni Razdan, Mahesh Bhatt, Alia Bhatt and Sanjoy Nag at the press meet at Nandan on Sunday Picture: Rashbehari Das

Sanjoy remembered the time he narrated the story to Soni over the phone and had a foot-in-the-mouth moment. “I got her number and called her. I narrated the story to her and she said, ‘Fine, when do we sit with the script?’ and I said, ‘I’ll come to Bombay.’ Then I tried to be very smart and impress her. So I said, ‘I loved your performance in Kapoor & Sons.’ And then there was pin-drop silence on the phone. That is where I started. There was Alia in that film… God knows what I was thinking!” he laughed.

Shooting the film in real locations like railway stations was challenging but also rewarding for Sanjoy, who had directed Rituparno Ghosh in his film, Memories In March. “We shot in the crowded Howrah station for a couple of days. That itself was a challenge for us. How and when do we go and shoot? My cinematographer Stanley Mudda and I would go every day and pick places where people wouldn’t look at the camera and decide what camera to use… sometimes he’d decide to use his mobile phone to shoot. These were all learning experiences,” he signed off.