Alia Bhatt Curated
Bollywood Actress and Singer
CURATED BY :
Did you always want to act in films?
Since the time sense struck me, I’ve wanted to be a star. As a child, I enjoyed watching Karisma Kapoor and Govinda dancing on the streets in films. And I’d wonder, ‘How are they dancing here? Who gave them permission? How did they change their clothes so quickly?’ Later, I realised there’s much more to it. I was captivated by the idea of being an actress.
Has your life been affected by your stardom?
I don’t believe I have achieved stardom yet. Of course, I’ve become a known face. But my life hasn’t changed in a drastic way. I love meeting people and listening to what they have to say. Sometimes people advice you as well, which is interesting as you’re working for the audience. It’s always nice to know what they want. I’ve also been interacting with children. Especially four and five year olds. They seem to form a chunk of my fan following.
What does stardom mean to you?
The day people come to the theatre to watch a film only for me, I will believe I have achieved stardom. Also, if I reach a point where I get to work with all my dream directors and actors, I’ll be happy.
What does the 100-Crore club mean to you?
It's over-hyped. At this point, the 100-crore club comprises varied films. Barfi!, Dabangg, Agneepath, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and more... You don’t have to do just one kind of film to be part of it. Being part of the 100-crore club would mean being part of good films. And I want to be part of good films.
What’s the best compliment that you’ve ever received?
Someone once told me that I look very beautiful when I just wake up. That’s the best compliment I’ve ever received, since everyone tends to look puffy-eyed and not so nice then.
Who’s your style icon?
Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor are always well turned out and have a great sense of style. Anne Hathaway is an inspiration too. She’s always elegantly dressed. She’s one classy lady. And last but not the least, Angelina Jolie. She’s hot and can carry off any look with ease.
How do you do justice to challenging roles?
If there’s no challenge it gets boring. To wear a bikini in Shaandaar was a challenge as was dancing with Shahid. I’m not an outstanding dancer, I am a decent dancer. Shahid is perfect. So I had to push myself and worked hard to dance with him. I put a lot of effort in the Gulabo song. Udta Punjab is also challenging. I’ve tried pushing the barriers.
In which areas do you still have to improve yourself?
There are lots of things I need to improve upon. In Udta Punjab, I needed to speak correct Hindi. I had to push myself there as I’m not very comfortable with the language. Also I tend to behave like a girl. I need to be more graceful. My body language must have more poise. As a dancer I need to get better.
As someone who has done decent singing in some films, why have you not recorded a song in Gully Boy which can be considered a musical?
Because there is no scope for me to sing. It is an authentic story without anything fake. It would have been so funny had I burst into a song, and that too sung it myself. If it was in character, maybe Rap would have been okay. We did have a lot of discussion on this, but it does not matter that I do not have a song, because there is much more to my character. Even as a promotional song, it would have sounded like, "Hey! Where did this spring from?”
Do you think movies like Gully Boy can do well in India?
It’s tricky to communicate the journey of a boy who is an underdog, which is not a love story, and of course to balance my character, other characters, and the music and not confuse people. This trailer has had the most positive response ever for any film in my career, and it is overwhelming! The unit did expect a good response, but we were very surprised at the degree. Okay, now we realize that expectations are far higher, so that makes us responsible, and I was a shade nervous. But I watched the film last night, and my doubts were removed – I am pretty happy. As for the appeal, I think it will do well, and the reason is that the story is very true. Ranveer is the underdog – he has been told he has to lead a certain life, in a certain way, and not imagine anything else. This is a story that relates to everyone, for all of us have a dream, and we want to fulfill it. It is all about passion, about achieving, about a real struggle and truth.
What matters when you choose a film?
For me, the only thing that matters is the writing – the story and the writing of my character. But it is also never enough to have a good character if the film is not matching up. That does not balance out. And the director is important. But his decision about my co-stars or the music should not matter unless I am producing the film, and I have not yet reached that stage! Having said that, every role, I think, has a part of you in it if you dig deep enough. I do prefer to choose roles that are a step away from me. In that sense, the closest that any role came to the real me was in “Dear Zindagi.” In “Gully Boy,” maybe I cannot relate to the girl, but I can understand how possessive she is of her boyfriend, and can feel her jealousy and anger even if I will never behave in that way.
Did you enjoy playing the role of a street smart character in Gully Boy?
I did! I had a lot of fun because there is a tapori side to me. Like I said, I can feel like my character did, even though I am a Juhu girl who is supposed to be dainty and quite hoity-toity. There is this hardcore Mumbaiker within my heart, my DNA. I like many things about her like she has no time for nonsense, she says what she has to, she gets things done the way she wants – so it is in her attitude. And it’s fun to be incorrect. Being right and good every time can be very irritating.
How aware were you of underground music before signing Gully Boy?
My sister is into it, but I was not much aware. In fact, my sister told me that Zoya Akhtar is making a film on Indian underground music. A year later, the film came to me, and I was very excited. After being a part of the film, I realized how actually alive the Hip-Hop and Rap culture is in India, though it has not yet come on a commercial platform that commands attention. The mainstream has not woken up to it yet, but things are changing, like the success of “Apna Time Aayega” shows.
How much of a shift in character was it from playing a serious role in Raazi to the chirpy, happy-go-lucky character in Gully Boy?
There was a gap of a few months. Raazi was a film I was carrying on my shoulder, so I was very stressed, but I did it. With Gully Boy, to be honest, there was just a 3-day workshop as it was all about Ranveer doing everything. So I was like "Wow! This is so much fun!” There was no tension; I could be myself. So I was packing up early, sleeping nicely and generally having a very good time.
Do you keep an eye on the competition around you?
I’m a curious chick. So, that curiosity is there within me, regardless of who it is - a boy, a girl, a dog or a cat. I’m curious and I want to know. That has nothing to do with competition or me being insecure or the fact that I’m an obsessive person when it comes to the movie world. Yehi meri duniya hai. So, I might as well know everything about it or at least try to know about it.
Do you think you grew up faster because you were always surrounded by people who were older than you?
Possibly, yes. But my family never treated me like a kid. We share mature relationships with each other. And yes, I do hang out with people older than me. But like I say, age is just a number. It’s your experiences that give you your age. I’ve not had the life of an average 20-year-old. By average, I mean any other 20-year-old. Maybe, another 20-year-old would have had a life way tougher than mine. So, I will not understand their point of you and they may not understand mine. Everyone’s story is different based on the life they’ve lived.
How do you cope up with it once the filming is done?
Thankfully, I have this wonderfully ability to switch off. I wouldn't say it's detachment because my very nature is emotional but to protect myself and to stay sane, I switch off and very consciously create a wall between what's real and what's fictional. At the end of the day, I love my job a lot but I cannot give it the ability to take over my life.
Does the constant awareness of being a star become bothersome?
I choose not to be aware of the good things. As actors you're constantly very aware of yourself and how you're being perceived and what you're projecting. So I have multiple faces — my sad face, my happy face, my humble face, my naughty face, my enthusiastic face. One face for every occasion. And I have this horrible guilt-trip that I put myself through. Like, I can't be a mean person or thought out to be a mean person. I have this constant pressure to please people and the desire to be perceived as an 'amazing human being'. I am never ever late because I can't bear the thought of my director/producer/co-star thinking horrible things about me, like being unpunctual and all.
Do you think there’s a flawed system of nepotism in the industry?
I think those who talk about nepotism are a really, really jealous lot. If you aren't talented, you can't survive. Yes, the process to get there is simpler but once the film is out there, you are either 'in' or 'out.' It doesn't matter who's making the film for you. Without taking names, I'd like to say that there have been enough sons and daughters of lineage who have come and gone without achieving much success. Eventually, people come to see you as an actor and directors work with you because of what you deliver.
What drives you to act?
It is about experiencing different stories. For me, it's always been an infatuation with stories, creating an escape. As a kid, all I'd do is make up stories about stuff that never happened. Now, that could also be misconstrued as being a pathological liar but you know what I'm saying. I always wanted to be a part of an imaginary world. Not that I had a traumatic or lonely childhood but I just wanted more from, you know, life. Acting seemed like the most obvious thing to do to bring that childhood fantasy to life.
What would you say is the worst thing about stardom?
There's a lot of pressure. Like, yes, you get to fly First Class and it's all very fancy and awesome but the minute you land at the airport, you're scrutinized for the choice of your footwear. I mean, I don't want that.
What’s the hardest part about being yourself in this industry?
That you've to be correct all the time. That you don't get the chance to be wrong. As a star, I am a role model and I need to convey the 'right' message — you see there's a moral code sneaking in there. Young girls idealize you and follow your every move and you can't deviate too far from a set construct. You can have opinions, but the opinion needs to be the right one or you'll piss a whole lot of people off and trigger a shit-storm. It's really hard if you think about it. You need to come across as happy, chirpy and pretend to be ultra-awesome like all the time. I am having an awful day. I cannot pretend to be happy. Give me a day off, man. But no, as Alia Bhatt, I am always on duty, always acting.
You’ve done quite a lot of interesting films at such a young age, like the phrase “too much, too soon” depicts. So do you think you’ll wear yourself down soon?
That's what Imtiaz Ali says — that I will exhaust myself too soon. But I always feel there's a lot of scope for a lot more. The speed at which the state of all forms of arts is moving is quite exponential. There're so many opportunities and I am not even halfway there yet. Also, in my head, I am 32. I don't know why that is — maybe it's my family. My father has so openly spoken about everything, whether it is relationships or his battle with alcohol, there's been this seriousness that was deeply internalized. He, and my Mum, pretty much set the tone for my family. They've both been so honest and direct. But like I said, they could afford to be like that because they don't have so much at stake at this point in time.
Did setting foot into the dark world of Udta Punjab’s main character leave a heavy impact on you?
Talking about Udta... takes me to a horrendously dark place. In the months that I was shooting for the film, I had given up my iPhone, something that is fairly difficult for me to do. I had a very basic phone, one without the internet, which I kept to keep in touch with family and close friends. I wanted to cut myself off, lose myself in that character. There was a conscious attempt to not indulge or entertain myself. It was tormenting and heavy and deeply unsettling to inhabit a world plagued consistently by all sorts of horror. I used to physically dread the walk from my hotel room to the elevator to the lobby every day because it meant going back to that world. I cannot even imagine that as an everyday reality.
What do you have to say to people who point out that you have had an easy route into the industry because of your family’s association with Bollywood?
Maybe that has a part to play and maybe I subconsciously feel that guilt. But does that in itself drive me to work harder to constantly prove myself as deserving of the place that I am in? I'd say no. I work hard only for my own self, my own growth.
How tough is it to do a role where you have less dialogues and have to be expressive with emotions on your face?
In Udta Punjab, it wasn’t about the dialogues but the emotion she was carrying – it was very difficult for me to relate to this character because, she goes through situations in life that I have never been through before. And neither will I go through hopefully, because it’s a very disturbing situation to have in your life.
What attracted you to do Udta Punjab?
What I liked about Udta Punjab that it is an inspirational story that needs to be told, especially the drug abuse, and it was Imtiaz (Ali, the director), so it was a little bit of a no-brainer for me, as it allowed me to explore my acting talent and to work with Imtiaz. With Udta Punjab, I felt the story had something that was very honest and brave about it, which is why I decided to go for it.
Growing up in a family associated with Bollywood, how tough was it for you to get used to the limelight?
I grew up in a family of popular talent who have always been in the news. I’ve seen recognition and media attention right from childhood. With time, I’ve pretty much got used to it and now it doesn’t really affect me as much. My only focus is to embody characters that can have a strong, positive impact on the audience.
What pushes to take on such comparatively vivid roles?
I want to keep pushing myself with every role that I play. To strike a balance between commercial and brave films has always been a priority. I make it a point to not let pressure influence my choice of roles. An inhibition is always present in every actor’s mind when they take up a challenging role, but the focus is always to give it our best shot and that is what we always strive for.
How do you approach your onscreen characters?
I don’t have any fixed method of approaching things. I would find that very boring and I get bored or tired very easily. I need to keep changing, and have never stuck to one thing. Call me crazy, but I like it that way. So the way I do it, is to believe in the director, and the story, of course. And every director is very different—some want to do a lot of work, some don’t, so I follow their lead. It is a different experience. And to be honest, even before I am giving a shot, I think about other things and not the shot. I feel like if I think about it too much, the final shot will be laboured or forced, through the expression or a feeling. I may be nervous, but when I’m there I try not to think about it.
Do you believe in planning your career?
I don’t like to compartmentalize things. I just go with the feeling. I may wake up one day wanting to do a comedy film, a drama. And hopefully and fortunately I am getting those opportunities and I am getting the right kind of films. I take each day as it comes. And I prefer to do it that way. If I compartmentalize things, something is going to fall short and I don’t want to be disappointed by a plan. The only thing that I plan is my diet. That I have lots of fun while planning. I am obsessed with my diet and I keep changing it. I am constantly trying new things. I like setting a goal and then achieving it. Of late a bit more. I set a target and try and achieve it. And I usually always do achieve my target.
Which character that you’ve portrayed is closest to your heart?
Highway and Shaandaar. Emotionally, I could relate the most to my character in Highway, and now in Shaandaar, because my character, Alia, is very similar to my real self.
Which kind of characters do you enjoy portraying the most?
I am very greedy. I want the critical acclaim and commercial success to go hand-in-hand. So, as much as I loved doing Highway, I love the world of Shaandaar and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. I love the grandeur, the music, and the song and dance. I have grown up watching films of Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Karisma Kapoor, Govinda; so there is a natural liking for such films. But, I will also do films like Highway and Udta Punjab. After every three-four films, you will see me doing such a film.
Do box office numbers content you?
I don't even think about box office. But having said that a good film will always do well and here "well" means the kind of love you get for your movie. Highway is my least grossing film, but the value it has other wise has been far better than any other film.
Do you feel after doing such powerful characters as Udta Punjab, Raazi and Dear Zindagi the audience won’t accept you as a typical heroine?
I’ve never been attracted to roles where I just gave to sing and dance. I would love play the typical heroine, as long as she has something to say, something to do. And I’m playing the typical heroine in Karan Johar’s Bramhastra and Kalank. But these are very well-written characters. As long as the singing and dancing are accompanied by substantial characterization, why not? As long as she’s not around just for the song break, I am not really into hogging footage. Even if I’ve two scenes I’d be happy provided they speak to the audience. I’d love to sing and dance. But these have to appended to a character. I don’t need to be in every frame.
Where does the instinct to choose good offers come from?
I don’t know. I think your first gut feeling is the correct feeling. Whenever you do a film for the wrong reasons, it may or it may not pan out. Sometimes people do it because it is a good move, or the right move. I don’t know, maybe one day I will do a film for the wrong reasons and it will work for me. I don’t know because I have never tried that. I know this one way. Gut feeling is the best indicator because then you can’t blame it on anyone.
Do you ever worry about burnout, especially since you started working so early in life?
I try not to think about so many things. People think about it, they worry about it and they plant ideas in my head. I feel the more I think about me, my future and all that, it takes the fun out of life. I only think about the choices I want to make and act responsibly, not say or do stupid things - like break the law or get caught doing stupid things.
Zoya Akhtar said you were the first choice to play the character of Safeena in Gully Boy. What was your reaction like when she approached you for the role?
I was very excited because I always wanted to work with Zoya. When I first heard the story it touched the very sensitive part in me. I had tears in my eyes in the end of the narration. I was very overwhelmed. There was no question in my head whether I needed to be a part of this script or not. I was very clear. I knew there was only one person who could have done this part and that was me.
Does success put pressure on you?
Yes…and no. when your film does really, really well and you don’t expect it it's a great feeling. On the other when there are expectations to your film to do well then you start feeling a little fearful. When it comes from nowhere it's always more fun. With Gully Boy, none of us really expected such amazing response to the trailer. We loved the trailer but the response we received was just unbelievable. It's the most positive response I have ever got for any of my trailers. So, for me that’s way more never-wreaking than not knowing what is going to happen. When so many people are excited about your film you obviously don’t want to let them down. But honestly that's the nature of the business and I think all love that about it. No matter how confident you are about work, you will always be nervous because it so personal and so close to you.
How competitive are you?
I am a very competitive person by nature but I am out of this 'others' thing. I find that a big waste of energy. It's a creative industry and I think we all should be excited about each other's work. I take great inspiration in everyone right from my male or female contemporaries or even my directors, writers and technicians. It is a very inspiring time right now for cinema and I think I should only be competitive with myself to better my craft everyday.
How do you get in and out of a character?
Well, I think a part of is it to not take it too seriously. I am dedicated and focused but when I am off-shoot I try to not think about it all the time. Getting in and out of character is way too easy for an actor than a director; the actor has always another film to move on to and that's the way it’s been with me. But sometimes the characters do linger in your mind and you feel emotional about them. That happened with me with 'Highway'...and it happened with me with 'Kalank' as well. Every actor finds his own kind of rhythm to move on and to get in the new character.
How important it is to take risks for an actor?
It’s very important. I always try to take risks. People usually get conscious with their choices after becoming successful. My father told that an actor gets subjected to 'once more' phenomena; it's like if you are appreciated for something you would want to repeat the same formula. I hope that does not happen with me. However, it’s not that I will take risks for the sake of taking it. If someone tells me it's a risk but I feel strongly about it, I will take it nonetheless.
What are your view on the Indian Censor Board which almost blacked out Udta Punjab?
No need to censor a film, certify it. You can't tell a filmmaker what to keep or delete in his film. Besides, we need guidelines to the possible interpretations that a person sitting there in judgment may possibly have. It's not about sacking A or B, it's all about clarity that is absent currently. We need this clarity desperately, else we are simply violating our rights of freedom of speech and expression.
What are your earliest memory of movies as a child?
I vividly remember that time when I was watching a Govinda song on our small silver TV. I don’t quite remember how old I was. But I was completely in awe of what was going on in front of me. Govinda and Karishma Kapoor dancing away without a care, in the middle of a road, and then in the garden, and then in the bedroom! I was scratching my head away figuring what the hell was going on here. How were they changing out clothes this fast? Why wasn’t anyone stopping them from dancing in the middle of a road. I was confused and smitten! That’s also when I knew I wanted to be there. On that screen! That’s one incident I vividly recall. Ever since, my love for films and Bollywood has deepened.
How do you deal with criticism?
I take it as gracefully as I take appreciation or praise. Negative feedback, even if untrue, only pushes you out of your comfort zone. It drives you to get out there and prove your opponents and detractors wrong. And being able to do that is so satisfying.
Are you afraid of competition?
Where’s the fun without competition? My biggest competition is with the last film I’ve done. If it is a hit, I want to work towards making my next film an even bigger hit. If not, it better be, at least, as good as the first. I also take inspiration from other people’s good work. It motivates me to get out there and do the same or even better.
Do you have plans of doing Hollywood projects?
In terms of offers, nothing interesting has come my way so far. But there is a want, a thought of going to the West. Right now I want to focus on my work here (Bollywood) and make a mark for myself. Then I do have thoughts of going ahead.
How important is family in a person’s successful career?
I think as long as you have a good support system that keeps you grounded, it is good. You may be famous and people want your autograph, take selfies with you, but you are a normal human being to your family. If you are surrounded by people who keep telling you that you are great, then you will go crazy. If my family and friends don't like anything about my work, they tell me. It is important to have honest opinion around yourself.
How has the glamour of the industry changed you as a person?
I used to be very unaware. Now I know things. This can be good or bad also in some ways, I have to take my words seriously; I can't be an irresponsible speaker. I have to see how much good role model I am. At the same time I should be able to make mistakes, feel bad and cry.
Did you always have a plan in mind about the kind of films you want to do?
I always wanted to become an actor and not just another pretty face. When Student Of The Year (2012) released, a lot of people wrote me off, but I didn't feel bad. There was never a vendetta to prove them wrong. I knew I would be able to prove myself, but I didn't know when it would happen. Luckily, it happened in my second film, Highway (2014). I feel people would kill for a debut like mine, and I love that kind of cinema, where I feel like a complete Hindi film heroine. I want to merge a good role with a great story.
Do you fear the constant attention that comes with being a star and being successful?
Fear is a dominant emotion in a performer's life. As an actor, I constantly fear failure. There is a fear of being insecure. Sometimes there is a fear of too much attention and, at the same time, when you don't get it, you fear that too. I think the way to deal with it is that I need to focus on the longevity of my work. My father says as human beings we are constantly trying to be immortal either through our work or in our personal life. I try and interact with all my fans and that is not because in return, I will get constant love, but because till the time I am here, I want to make my journey worthwhile.
What kind of an impact do you want your acting to have on your audience?
Do the constant attention and media policing have an ill affect on you?
Do you feel that you have a sense of responsibility towards young girls who look up to you for inspiration?
Does detachment from your work help you in making better decisions?
How was your experience working with Shah Rukh Khan?
In one word magical. I'm grateful about the fact that we did a film together. I learnt a lot from him. He is celebrating 25 years now in the industry. Obviously, that calls for a lot of experience and understanding of the way films work.
How did your debut film Student Of The Year happen for you?
I got a call from Dharma Productions asking for my pictures. Then I met Karan Johar and he asked me to audition for the role. By then Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra were already on board. Karan told me I had to lose weight. He put me on a diet programme. Five months later we did a test shoot. I still remember the day when Karan gifted me this giant cup cake. I was busy gorging on it, when he told my mom that he would be directing the film and wanted me for the lead role.
Did you lead a privileged childhood growing up as Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter?
No. I didn’t. I was never a brat. I had a rather grounded and modest upbringing. I didn’t get the pleasures that people assume I would’ve got because I am Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter. I led a normal life. And I am happy I did. I bought my first designer item myself, after I made enough money to buy it.
Any role you’ve seen another actress play that you felt you should’ve done?
I felt I should have done Aashiqui 2. But I’m happy for Shraddha Kapoor that the film has done so well. She didn’t get her due after Luv Ka The End. So I’m glad it worked.
How did you deal with the disappointment of Udta Punjab almost not releasing because of the Indian Censor Board?
We chose not to say too much because things can be misinterpreted. But I can give you a very personal and maybe a naive response I had when I heard about the cuts which were suggested. My first question was to my father, ‘Why and how?’ It does not make sense. I wasn’t able to understand. My father has been fighting this since the longest time and he said that this is something that happens. But go to the court, fight it out and you will come out feeling very happy. I can't tell you how happy I was yesterday when I got that SMS saying that we have passed Udta Punjab with an A certificate with one cut. I was so delighted. That just shows that eventually, you may have to fight for things you believe in. I'm a director’s daughter and to know what a director has to go through when they say ‘yeh nikalo, vo nikalo...’ you don’t understand the feeling. It’s like your intestines are turning over. I’m just happy that we reached a stage where we have a smile on our face.
What is the best advice you’ve got?
My dad once told me, “Never try to impress others. Be yourself. When you are natural, you are interesting too and people will automatically like you.”
Does people’s approval matter to you?
Of course, it does. There are some people in my life whose opinion is really valuable to me. That apart, I make all my decisions myself. The scripts I read and decide to do are chosen by me. Of course, I sound off the scripts to some people close to me. But for better or worse, the final decision to do or not do a film is mine.
Do you prefer going into a character unrehearsed?
I prefer going into my character without polishing her flaws and imperfections. I don't want to be this shining diamond on-screen. I like to show the vulnerable, unpolished side of my character.
Would you miss the limelight when you are no longer in it?
Of course, I know a day would come when it won't be there anymore. It is therefore important to not take it too seriously, to enjoy it while it lasts. I am having a blast.
How does it feel that directors today are writing scripts with you in mind?
I feel like I have to work harder so filmmakers want to work with me again. It's a big thing for directors to blindly trust their actors and it makes me feel worthy. It's a great opportunity to build a relationship with your director.
After Highway and Udta Punjab, has it become easier now to pick a risky subject?
At the end of the day, everything is a risk. I’m not scared of risks. You need to see if it’s a fruitful, worthwhile experience. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t. But you need to understand what is working for you at a particular time. That’s also a reason why I’m curious to see how Raazi is going to fare. The trailer has got a widespread response, now, I want to know if the film also gets a similar reaction from the public.
Which has been the most difficult movie that you’ve shot?
Until now, Udta Punjab was the most difficult film for me, but then Raazi took over. And now, it’s Kalank. Udta Punjab was difficult because of the emotional stress, but the character was clear. In Raazi, eventually, I found one zone to stay within. However, it was difficult because there are things that I need to portray and convey to the audience. But my character in Kalank has got several layers. I’m just sitting and counting them each day. The more films I am doing, the more difficult my life is becoming.
Does the success of unconventional movies like Highway and Udta Punjab give you the confidence to do more such films?
It works both ways. Because when a film does well, there’s expectation to do much better. When it doesn’t work, then one’s expected to do something else. I don’t think about the commerce, I only think about its reach. The film can do ‘X’ amount of business, but if it has a positive reach, then that’s a win-win situation for me. I feel that the emotional reach of a movie is far more important than just the financial returns. And if both those things happen together, then it’s amazing.
Your SOTY co-star Varun Dhawan has also explored the same unconventional path like you with movies such as Badlapur and October, do you think you need to do stand out movies to gain success nowadays?
According to me, stardom comes with a lot of great work that connects with the audience. Even for someone like Varun, what he did was not easy. He has carried films on his shoulders. I don’t know if I will be able to do that, right now. I don’t know if I can do a comedy film as well as he did. When people started calling him a comic actor, he broke the image. It’s all about the timing. For me, it’s to balance out my intense films with my glamorous, beautiful ones. That’s the constant push. Suddenly, I may break in and do a comedy or a negative part. I didn’t do Highway thinking of it as a great career move, but only because it touched my heart.
With more and more actors opting to do unconventional roles, do you think these types of movies should be considered niche anymore?
Niche is what the audience makes it. The subject might be beautiful, but may not be everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s the meaning of the word. Just because it’s niche, doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just has limited reach. Massy movies, too, aren’t bad films as they have the maximum reach. Most Oscar-nominated films are independent films, which don’t make the kind of money that a film like Avengers does. A film may have a wider reach but it still might not be the Film Of The Year. That title may go to a film like Moonlight, which is more indie. However, in terms of quality, it might be more nuanced.
What is your reactions to the reviews of Gully Boy?
Did you expect to get the appreciation from the critics for your role in Gully Boy?
How do you get into your characters in the movies?
Could you share some insights about the chemistry between you and Ranveer on the sets of Gully Boy?
Why was it important for you to do a Zoya Akhtar film?
What was your take away from the movie ‘Gully Boy’?
Do you like men's perfume?
Who inspired you to become an actor?
Is it true that you like men's perfume?
Which of your co-stars smell the best?
Which of your co-star smells the worst?
How was your experience while shooting for Highway?
Who do you find to be the most annoying co-star?
Do you feel that there is some similarities between you and Kareena?
How was your experience while shooting for the song Radha on the dance floor?
Which is the film of your Dad you like the most?
What is your fascination with yogurt?
What are your pet names?
Which is that one advice of your father that you would like to share?
Is it true that you would make up unnecessary stories as a child?
Has anyone stabbed you at the back?
What are your future career plans apart from acting?
Do you wish to direct films in the future?
Do you have a girl crush?
How easy are you with social media?
Who is your favorite celeb on Twitter or Instagram?
What do you have to say about Kareena?
What do you have to say about your choice of films?
How do you deal with failures?
Do you think that social media has changed the gaze of stardom now?
How often do you use your phone for clicking pictures?
Which is a movie experience that you are never going to erase from your memory?
Which is the film in the Indian cinema you wish you had done?
Who according to you is an all-time beauty in Indian cinema?
Which India cinema do you think was underrated?
Who according to you is an irreplaceable director?
What is your advice for an aspiring actor?