Age Of Innocence
05 - 11 Sept, 2015
Age Of Innocence

From being a fan girl to being a show time princess, Alia Bhatt’s is a coming-of-age fairy tale. She is enjoying a whole new level of popularity. Films such as Shandaar, Udta Punjab, Kapoor & Sons and Ayan Mukerji’s next opposite Ranbir Kapoor are in her kitty. Many would say Alia has arrived and she’s even cemented her own space. The young actress though isn’t flattered. “I feel excited and charged about every film I do. For me the measure of a film’s magnitude is its popularity with the audiences. You only realise how big a film is when it’s out there,” she says adding, “Yes, there’s a lot on offer right now. And the best part is, each film is distinct from the other.”
She’s thrilled about her upcoming films also because of the variety of co-stars she will collaborate with. “It’s a big deal for me. I am sharing screen space with Kareena and Shahid. I’m also working with Fawad Khan and Siddharth Malhotra. It’s nice and they are all lovely actors.”
At 22 all she’s doing is work, 24 x 7. She reveals she’s enjoying the workload but she does feel a bit lost sometimes. “It’s hectic right now but I’m having a lot of fun. It gets so hectic at times that I end up wondering where I am, what am I doing! It’s been a crazy work schedule and every time I feel I have a window, it inevitably gets filled up. But whenever I get time off, I set off for a holiday with my sister (Shaheen Bhatt).”
People in their early 20s aren’t generally receptive towards responsibilities. But Alia has no qualms with accountability. “There are responsibilities but I am doing my own thing, things that I feel like doing. I make my own rules. When you’re 22, you are told you can’t do this and you can’t have that... all those set rules exist. But I think it’s time to change them. Today, 20 is the new age for responsible behaviour and maturity. I believe it’s not too different from the time of our parents. They always say, ‘When I was 18, I used to do this and I used to do that.’ Not much has changed.” She doesn’t seem flustered by the pressures of being constantly under the spotlight. “It’s not such a hard life. I would prefer people scrutinising me rather than ignoring me.” Though she admits looking good all the time does get a bit taxing. “It’s a pressure but I have learnt to deal with it. It’s not that I don’t care. But I’ve controlled it to the extent of how much I should care and not how much people would want me to care.” She was born in a film family – being filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and actor Soni Razdan’s daughter. She’s led an affluent life and in most cases she was protected from the big bad world. Her own experiences have been nothing like the characters she portrays on the big screen and that she says is a big challenge. “Many times in life you have some experiences to draw from. But when you don’t have any then you have to create. That’s when you make up your own world and that’s acting,” she elaborates.
Talking of her experiences while growing up, she hints it wasn’t all smooth sailing. “I don’t believe I was a spoilt brat. I enjoyed the same kind of comforts that my friends did. I was given limited pocket money; I wasn’t allowed to do certain things. I led a sheltered life. I had my own set of struggles even though I had a great time.”
Films introduced Alia to new facets of her own personality. “I have learnt a lot about myself. It opened a huge window, although those are things too personal to discuss. Also, Student Of The Year and Highway were two distinctly unique experiences. The latter made people see me in a different light and that I was here to act. I’m extremely serious about being an actor. People were quick to judge that I got it on a platter. It didn’t exactly come to my house at 3 am. I had to audition for it. People who are not going to believe that are simply jealous.”
Her family has no role to play when it comes to Alia’s work decisions. She doesn’t even rely on the experience of her father, Mahesh Bhatt. “He’s knowledgeable and we chat a lot about things. But I make my own decisions. I don’t necessarily agree with everyone.” Talk about him directing her and Alia reveals, “Of course, I would love to work with him as the director but he doesn’t wish to direct again so I have given up that dream. When I tried persuading him to return to the director’s chair for my sake, he came up with a quirky reply saying he was ‘an extinct volcano’!”
She continues, “He sings, so maybe we both can sing together someday. Maybe that dream can come true.”
When it comes to seeking advice, she finds solace in director-friend-mentor Karan Johar and her friends in the business. “Karan is someone I can talk to for hours.” And he also holds a special place in her life. “Karan is more than just a mentor; he’s a father figure to me. He’s the one who created my career. And he takes no credit for that, that’s what I love.”
The biggest challenge for her is to be patient and persistent. “It’s just been three years, and I don’t want to burn out. I want to go slow and steady. Being patient is a challenge because you want everything to happen now. Also the challenge lies in striking a balance between art and commercial cinema,” she says. She believes she is her own competition. “I have to outdo myself in every film. That’s the only way.” – Filmfare


rjun Rampal truly believes in the motto you only live once. The model-turned-actor takes life as it comes, doesn’t obsess over ageing and picks films that lead him onto a path of self-discovery.

How do you deal with female attention, considering there’s plenty that comes your way?
[Laughs] Thank you, I am really amused to hear that. Honestly, it is quite flattering when people find you attractive and admire you but I feel, in the end, it is more about who you are that truly matters. I have many fans from my social media following who have become my friends now.

You often play the brooding, troubled sort of roles in your films. Are you anything like that in real life?
I go by Hollywood actor Marlon Brando’s famous words describing our profession: “Lying for a living”. As actors, we play parts that do not necessarily need to reflect who we really are. Generally, I prefer roles that reflect realism but then the commercial, over the top and the crazy roles are fun to enact as well. An assortment of genres keeps my acting spontaneous and helps me learn something new about myself every time.

You’ve dabbled in rom coms, action-packed dramas, played the romantic hero and the misunderstood anti-hero. What are you looking forward to doing next?
There are many things that I am excited about. I believe that every day is new and full of opportunities. As of now, I’m excited about my upcoming film. I have always been fascinated by the psyche of a gangster and I am very intrigued by the world they inhabit. I’m playing the role of Arun Gawli, a gangster-turned politician in the movie Daddy. I am also strumming the guitar for Rock On 2, which I will begin working on soon.

Does ageing bother you?
Ageing is a natural process; and we all are going to grow old. There will be aches and pains and recovery will get slower. But you do not stop caring for yourself after a certain age, right? In fact, I believe that if you take care of your lifestyle, you will enjoy good muscle memory, be less prone to injury and stay healthy longer. As long as my mind and body are active, age doesn’t matter.

You’ve done quite a few ads. Recently, there has been talk about whether celebrities really stand behind the brands they endorse. What is your take on that?
There are products that I endorse, that I have been signed on for as the brand ambassador, and I always make it a point to use them on a regular basis. For instance, my bathroom closet has all the products that I endorse. – Femina

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