INTERVIEW | 'Dearth of good writers in our industry, want to support new writing': Actor Alia Bhatt

Alia Bhatt speaks to Shama Bhagat about Darlings, her first project as a producer, her Hollywood stint with Gal Gadot, and impending parenthood.
Actor Alia Bhatt (Photo | Alia Bhatt @ Instagram)
Actor Alia Bhatt (Photo | Alia Bhatt @ Instagram)

A lot is taking place in your life––you are going to be a mother, Brahmastra is about to release, you turned producer with Darlings, and you have a Hollywood film on the anvil. How are you dealing with all of it?

Well, it is a lot, and it happened so fast. I am taking each day as it comes. For me, right now, the only thing on my mind is to be healthy and happy. People are telling me to chill, but I am a workaholic. 
It keeps my mind and heart happy. I have been very busy, so I have had no time to sit and think. Maybe five years later, I will look back and feel, “Oh, my God! What was happening in 2022?” It will be the most memorable time of my life. 

You have turned into a producer at a young age. Do you think you inherited this quality of taking risks from your father?

I guess it’s my upbringing. I love to go for something brave or different. I feel that as an actor, your debut film chooses you. In a similar manner, as a producer, the film has chosen me. It happened organically. I didn’t go seeking it. I loved the script and found it exciting enough for me to turn into a producer.

Was there anything about being a producer that you weren’t aware of?

As an actor, you don’t pay attention to the setting of the shot. We go to the sets and concentrate on costumes and lines. For the first time, on the sets of Darlings, I realised that there is much more to filmmaking. I was involved right from the script stage. My opinion mattered in everything, be it choosing the technical team or the costumes. I am a creative producer, so I was involved in 
it, but I don’t understand the finance part, hence, I left it to the experts.

A screengrab from the trailer
A screengrab from the trailer

As a producer, what kind of subjects do you want to take up? Will you be working with your sister Shaheen? 

I would like to tell light stories. Of course, I would love to collaborate with Shaheen. In fact, she has come up with three-four brilliant ideas and I loved them. She and I are taking Eternal Sunshine, our production house, ahead. I have been an actor for almost 10 years and I will be focusing on that for the next 10. I will also focus on taking my production house to another level as and when I find a good subject. 

Your father has said that he couldn’t have achieved what you have. Your comment.

Well, it’s just his love. I don’t agree with that. I am nowhere close to him... the kind of director he has been, even his instinct towards music, his storytelling. I seek a lot of advice from him. Even for Darlings, I made him read the script, and it has changed a lot, for the better, after he went through it. He loved the promos.

Tell us about your role in the Hollywood film, 'Stone of Heart'.

Unfortunately, I can’t reveal much as I am under contract, but I play a girl from India. I talk in the similar way I talk here. I felt a little weird speaking in English as I speak in Hindi most of the time. It was awkward for the first two days, but by the third day, I was fine.

How was it working with Hollywood actor Gal Gadot for Stone of Heart?

It was amazing. She’s such a big star, but so sweet and kind. The whole team is lively. They all took care of me. The film was completed in just two months. It was a kind of a bullet-speed record for me.

How would you describe the transition from Ranbir Kapoor, the actor to Ranbir Kapoor, the husband?

He is my husband now, but for me, he is the same person I have known all these years. There has been no drastic change after getting married. I have a lot of respect for him. He is the easiest actor to work with. He sits patiently on the sets and is very accommodating. He has this silent energy, which spreads to others. His presence is not overbearing. As a husband, he is my best friend. Whenever I’m with him, all my worries just disappear. 

How was it working with Shefali Shah, a powerhouse performer?

It was a huge fan girl moment for me. She is so spontaneous on screen. Our mother-daughter dynamic in Darlings was extremely good. We were like friends because she is a young mother. 

Vishesh Films (Mahesh Bhatt’s production house) has always promoted new talent. Will you tread on the same path?

That is my main goal. When I got an opportunity 10 years ago with Dharma, no one knew who I was. My father recently said to me, “How long will you fuel your vehicle alone? Now you are in a position to fuel others’ vehicles.” So I want to give new writers, actors, and directors an opportunity through my films. There is a dearth of good writers in our industry, especially in the mainstream, and I want to support fresh new writing. 

Will you take a break now?

Not until September 9 when Brahmastra releases. I am working on the films that are on the floor. I haven’t taken up anything new, as I will be taking a long break. 

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