As She Completes 10 Years Of Acting , Alia Bhatt Speaks To Subhash K Jha On What The Success Of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi Means To Her Career

One can be glamorous and substantial - Alia Bhatt on 10 years of acting career

Gangubai Kathiawadi was a rare success in those pandemic times. To shoulder a hit film during those troubled times, does it give you a sense of responsibility?

Well, of course there is an added sense of responsibility. If it was fifty percent earlier it is a hundred percent now. When audiences go into the theatre, they have certain expectations from me. The whole Gangubai team felt a sense of relief.We chose to release our film at time when theatres were only allowed fifty percent attendance.And then things gradually got better. We went with our conviction and belief. We received extremely positive response.

Now the film is a favourite on Netflix?

After a successful theatrical release when Gangubai released on Netflix we got a lot more love from the audience. Every step of the way we were constantly thanking our stars for aur efforts having paid off. Everything we wanted the audience to feel, they did.

Your character in Gangu Kathiawadi and the film have become subjects of great imitation outside India. Thai singer Pymrypie has made a video with all the key scenes from the film .She has copied you to the minutest detail?

Yes ,I saw it. Sanjay Sir sent it to me. That girl has totally recreated the key moments.It is all thanks to the vision Sanjay Sir had for Gangubai.

But you can take the horse to the water but you can’t make it drink it?

(Laughs) In this case I am very happy to be the horse.

In two films one after another Gangubai Kathiawadi and now Darlings you have played happy women in traumatic situations?

Come to think of it, yes.I didn’t draw this parallel. But now that you mention…I guess there is a positivity in both women in spite of their sorry situations.

I don’t think we would like to watch you in glamorous roles. We want to see you in substantial roles.

One can be glamorous and substantial. In Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani I play a feminist character, a fiery Bengali girl. She is strong and assertive. Of course it has all the glamour and all the songs. But it’s not decorative role .I really enjoyed working on this one.

What was it like working with veterans like Shabana Azmi, Jaya Bachchan and Dharmendra?

There is so much to learn from them.I really enjoyed working with Shabanaji, Jaya Aunty and Dharamji. They are are so passionate about their work.

Darlings was released to an overwhelming response on Netflix. Do you see the future of cinema on the OTT platform?

No.It’s not as if the future of cinema will be resting on only one platform. I think the movie-theatre experience is not going away. In my experience you can’t experience the big-screen thrill at home. In our country the movie outing is a way of life. But I think a certain type of cinema perhaps has a better chance on the OTT. The more intimate film perhaps has a better chance a good OTT platform like Netflix.

And more power to you…

Thank you.

About The Author
Subhash K Jha

Subhash K. Jha is a veteran Indian film critic, journalist based in Patna, Bihar. He is currently film critic with leading daily The Times of India, Firstpost, Deccan chronicle and DNA News, besides TV channels Zee News and News18 India.

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