In the dynamic world of films, it is quite unusual to find a constant when it comes to the actors’ performances, yet, Alia Bhatt has emerged as an anomaly and that too in just 6 years.
She might not have floored the critics with her first film, Student of the Year, but every performance since then has had one thing consistent, Alia is always the best part of a film she is cast in. The instant she appears on the screen, it is simply impossible to look away and notice anything else. It takes multiple viewings for an audience member like me to grasp the other subtleties that the director is trying to convey because the aura of Alia overshadows anything that doesn’t match up to her finesse.
For a girl who is only 25, she is excelling at her job as an actor and has also maintained a filmography that could one day be a proud part of her legacy.
Be it Highway’s Veera or Badrinath ki Dulhania’s Vaidehi, the audience now trusts Alia enough that if her name is on the poster, she will make sure that the audience is never disappointed.
When she played Veera in Imtiaz Ali’s Highway, Alia surprised everybody and not just because she was just a 20-year-old delivering a nuanced performance, but because after watching her in a Poo-like act in Student of The Year, it was hard to imagine that this girl could deliver with such gravitas. When given meaty parts, she excels but even when she is a part of a popcorn entertainer, she keeps you mesmerised.
In a recent interview with Anupama Chopra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui stated that there is a certain bias when it comes to mainstream commercial and the so-called content oriented films. A great scene by an actor will often be overlooked in a masala film but the same scene in a ‘content-oriented’ film is given much more attention.
In Alia’s case, this somehow does not hold true. She just doesn’t earn the praise for playing challenging roles like Mary Jane in Udta Punjab but also gets audience’s approval for playing Ananya in 2 States. Her filmography is an eclectic mix of characters where every woman she has played, has a distinct identity.
She could play a bride-to-be who is visiting the town for a designer lehenga or she could be a cinematographer who re-discovers her life through a therapist but the intent of her performance does not change. The truth that she portrays on-screen can be best explained by the most overused term there is — natural acting. Here, we use this term to describe that effortless-ness that Alia brings to the screen. As an audience member, we don’t know her natural self but if by playing a migrant Bihari labour, Alia could make us a part of her world. The credit goes to her extraordinary talent. A film like Kapoor & Sons had an ensemble cast where Alia had a smaller role as compared to others, yet, the scene where she talks of her parents’ death brings one to tears and that speaks volumes about the actor that she is. With that scene, she makes herself a pivotal part of the film.
In 2018, Alia Bhatt will be seen in Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi where she will play a Kashmiri girl who is married to a Pakistani spy. She will also be seen in Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy. Apart from these two, Alia is also a part of Ayan Mukerji’s fantasy film Brahmastra.
Even her next projects hint towards the fact that this actor is here to leave a mark on Hindi cinema and she won’t be remembered just because of her lineage but because she made the most out of the opportunities she got and continues to do so with every film.