Great expectations: Alia Bhatt
Great expectations: Alia Bhatt

Praise, applause and loads of positive response continue to flow in for Alia Bhatt’s performance in Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Highway’. The girl, who had barely completed her school and was snapped up for Dharma Productions’ high-end ‘Student Of The Year’ for her debut, did not even comb her hair for most of the part in ‘Highway’.

These are the two diametrically opposite characters that Alia has showcased. “It hasn’t sunk in, really. But I am overwhelmed. I worked really hard on ‘Highway’. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope to make an impact. But this is beyond anything I hoped for. ‘Highway’ is not an ordinary experience for me,” said Alia after all the accolades she has been getting post the release of the film.

Talking about the emotional journey that she went through for this film she confesses, “I didn’t know that they existed in me. Credit must go to my director Imtiaz Ali for helping me find this reserve of emotions within me. Actually even in school I was a bit of a brooder and dreamer. I had lots of friends. But I liked spending time alone. And I’ve always felt that emptiness which my character feels. Like my character Veera I feel something vital is missing in my life. There was always that hankering within me. While shooting in these far-off areas, communication with the outside world was almost nil. So I had time to connect with new emotions within me that I projected into my character.” Talking about the surreal experience, she adds that when her veteran filmmaker cum ‘Daddy’ Mahesh Bhatt saw her performance, he couldn’t sleep. “My father was the most excited after seeing ‘Highway’. He told me he couldn’t sleep after seeing my performance. To me that’s very personal triumph. My father’s approval means a lot to me. Actually my entire family’s approval means a lot to me. But my father’s approval means a little more since he is a fantastic filmmaker and can separate Alia the daughter, from Alia the actress,” said Alia remembering her proud moment.

After ‘Highway’, Alia would be seen in yet another Dharma Productions project, ‘2 States’. It is an adaptation of Chetan Bhagat’s novel of the same name. “The novel 2 States was so good. We could easily go wrong in the screen adaptation. I hope people don’t feel so. Because we’ve worked genuinely hard to keep the spirit of the novel intact in the film,” said Alia.

She would be seen playing a Tamilian Brahmin in the film and felt that learning Tamil was a bit tough… “Speaking Tamil was really hard for me. Fortunately I didn’t have to play the Tamil girl in a loud caricature way. She is a city girl. She can be from any part of the world. The Tamil side of her comes out when she’s speaking to her parents. I didn’t have to learn too much Tamil.”

Alia has surely come a long way from where she started and it would be great to see her in her forthcoming films ‘2 States’ and ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya’ with Arjun Kapoor and Varun Dhawan respectively.

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