Livewire young actress Alia Bhatt will light up the screen again in this month’s big Bollywood release Shaandaar.
Alia stars opposite Shahid Kapoor in the destination wedding-set romantic comedy about two insomniacs who fall for one another.
Clearly confident about the movie, Alia was in high spirits when Eastern Eye caught up with her to talk about Shaandaar, the secret to her confidence, getting married, what keeps her so grounded and more.
What did you like about Shaandaar?
Firstly, I liked that it is a love story of two insomniacs – it is a subject that none of us have really tapped into. No one has really explored the insomniac space in Bollywood. So that really attracted me. Secondly, of course, it is a destination wedding film with all these crazy characters. I really liked the world it is set in. It gave me a little bit of this crazy, mad fun, but quirky kind of love story feeling. Of course it’s a love story, but what set it apart is the world that was created for it.
How does Shahid Kapoor compare to other leading men you have romanced on screen?
To start with, Shahid is 11 years my senior in the industry. Of course, experiences with every actor are different so I can’t compare the co-stars I’ve worked with. My experience with Shahid was very interesting. At the same time, I found a great friend in Shahid, which is something that lasts longer than just one film. I am also doing another film with him called Udta Punjab, which is again a very different subject. So I would say Shahid has turned out to be a very shaandaar person in my life.
Is there one moment that you love in the movie?
You can’t really love just one moment in a movie because the whole experience of the shoot takes over any one scene in it. But definitely there is a sequence where I am in a waterfall, kind of skinny-dipping in the night (because I am an insomniac). That is when Shahid and I have a proper conversation for the first time. That is quite nice and is a very interestingly written scene. So that is perhaps my favourite written scene in the film.
You are super-confident on screen and in person. Where does that come from?
(Laughs) I don’t know where it comes from. I think it is more enthusiasm than confidence. I am a very enthusiastic person in general, especially about acting because this is my life and what I have wanted to do ever since I was four years old. I think it’s the joy of just being in front of the camera and in films. That probably translates into something similar to the feeling of confidence.
Do you ever get nervous?
I do get nervous, but I really like getting nervous because I think that is what keeps you on your toes. Just today I was shooting a show with Amitabh Bachchan. I was so nervous before going on stage with him, but everything went very well.
Were you surprised by how many headlines your brief bikini scene in the trailer got globally?
(Laughs) I am very surprised, but I am also very glad because I worked very hard. When you work so hard you only do it to get noticed. It got noticed and how. I am very, very happy. Hopefully I will keep getting better with each and every bikini shot.
Which is your favourite song in the movie?
It would definitely have to be Gulabo. I got to wear a moustache for the first time. That was interesting. I had an opportunity to dance next to Shahid, which is exciting. I really worked hard on that because I was dancing with him. I got to channel my inner male energy by wearing a moustache and suit in Gulabo, and dancing like a guy. I really enjoyed that.
You said you are not going to get married for another 10 years. Is that still true?
You know, I am only 22, and I feel anything between 30 and 32 is a nice age to settle down. I think it’s too early in my life to be thinking about getting married and settling down.
So you’re not thinking about what your own dream wedding would be like?
My dream wedding could be anything from having a big huge extravaganza in Greece to wearing pyjamas in Goa. (Laughs) Yes, getting married in my pyjamas! It goes from one extreme to another. So I don’t even know what I am going to do, but I do know that day would be all about me.
What was it like acting opposite a great actor like Pankaj Kapur?
He is a phenomenal actor and it was fantastic. It is an enriching experience being around such special actors who know exactly what they are meant to do. How acting works and how to get into the skin of the character, but also have new experiences.
What do you mean?
Looking at Pankaj sir, you would never think he would be asking too many questions, but he did. He is like a newcomer almost. That’s what I think makes him so fresh and appealing in each film because he is always so open to learning more. He is very warm and giving to other actors, who are relatively new, for example, me. So I think because of that, his warmth and being open to another actor entering his space, it just became so much easier to develop a relationship with him. I needed to have a very strong relationship with him because he’s playing my father. I think his warmth towards me really made that happen.
Who do you think is the most shandaar Bollywood leading man today?
The actor I shot with today, Mr Amitabh Bachchan.
Today, what most inspires you?
It’s my dream – literally that fairy tale every child sees and believes in when they are young. My fairy tale was movies, and when you’re living a fairy tale, what else would drive you? You really don’t need anything else!
It doesn’t seem like the success you have had has changed you. What keeps you so grounded?
I don’t believe I have got stardom. I think what really keeps me grounded is that I have a firm belief that no matter how badly or well I am doing in my life, I will always have the same behaviour, attitude and decorum with each co-worker, and all my fans. I don’t want to change because of success or failure. I think my approach towards everybody will be the same, no matter what happens in my life.
Finally, why should we all go watch Shaandaar?
I will give you five reasons why you have to go watch it Asjad. One, it’s a fun; two, it’s crazy; three, it is quirky; four, it is dreamy, fantasy and a fairy tale; and five, it’s shaandaar.
Shaandaar is in cinemas now