As Alia Bhatt completes a decade-long journey as the leading lady, a look back at her incredible choices and her stupendous acting prowess.
Last Updated: 12.09 PM, Oct 19, 2022
In Student of the Year, Alia Bhatt's character, Shanaya, spoke the now-iconic line, "Haath mein pom pom leke ladko ke liye chillaana mera style nahi hai. Woh mere liye chillaye, seeti bajaye, that's more my thing." Despite the actor's detractors, she has made this credo her guiding principle in life and has stuck by it for the past decade. Alia is definitely one of India's best actors ten years after her first movie, which was directed by Karan Johar.
When she made her Bollywood acting debut at age 18, she was quickly written off. But in 2014, after taking a year off in 2013, she started what seems to be an endless journey, with three movies that showed how good an actor she is.
The role of a lonely teenager who develops Stockholm syndrome after being kidnapped in Imtiaz Ali's road movie Highway catapulted the actor's career. Playing Veera so soon after Shanaya must have been jarring for the actor, who was raised in a privileged environment.
Alia kept working with Karan Johar's Dharma Productions during that same year. She was in the romantic comedies 2 States and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. The former is based on a book by the same name by Chetan Bhagat and tells the story of two management students who must convince their parents of their connection. The actor's performance as Ananya Swaminathan came off as completely natural and delightful to watch.
She played the Punjabi bride-to-be who had an affair with Rakesh (Varun Dhawan) in the Shashank Khaitan film Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. Her cherubic look and cutesy behaviour, giving an ode to Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge with Varun Dhawan, made everyone go aww over her. Within two years of her career, she became a sought-after actor, and many looked forward to seeing what more she could deliver with her improving acting talent.
Amid all this, Alia Bhatt became the centre of attention for a goof-up she made during her debut appearance on Koffee With Karan. Alia Bhatt jokes, parodies, and spoofs were made about her. But, she was already a strong-willed woman who took all this with a pinch of salt and also entertained people by giving more content regarding the same.
After being in Vikas Bahl's 2015 flop Shaandaar, Alia was in Shakun Batra's critically acclaimed and commercially successful ensemble drama Kapoor & Sons with Siddharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan the following year. Although she was in a supporting role, the actor still left an impact with her performance.
Alia then played a poor Bihari immigrant in the same year's Udta Punjab, a crime drama written and directed by Abhishek Chaubey. The serious portrayal was a departure from her usual comedic fare. Her time in the spotlight was met with universal acclaim and praise. In the next film, Dear Zindagi, directed by Gauri Shinde, Alia plays a troubled millennial who sees a therapist (Shah Rukh Khan) for help. With this film, the actor became more relatable as an actor to the people of her generation.
When Bhatt worked with Khaitan and Dhawan again on the romantic comedy Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017), it became the latest in a string of commercially successful films. The story is about a strong-willed young woman who refuses to give in to her chauvinistic fiance's (Varun Dhawan) ideas about what a woman should be like. Although the film was criticised, her performance was highly appreciated by the masses.
Bhatt played Sehmat Khan, a Kashmiri spy married to a Pakistani army officer, in Meghna Gulzar's spy thriller Raazi (2018). The film is based on Harinder Sikka's novel Calling Sehmat and is set during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Alia was called the most successful modern actor in Hindi cinema for her role in Raazi, which was one of the highest-grossing Hindi films led by a woman.
At the start of 2019, Alia once again delivered a stupendous performance as a toxic yet supportive girlfriend and medical student, Safeena Firdausi, in Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy. Ranveer Singh plays the title role in the movie, and her character was both impressive and fun to watch.
Next, Bhatt was in Kalank (2019), an ensemble historical drama with the biggest budget of any of her movies up to that point. Varun and she played star-crossed lovers in 1940s India before the country was partitioned. The movie bombed at the box office. Sadak 2, which came out on Disney+ Hotstar in 2020, is the next one of her movies that didn't do well. Even though the movie was directed by Mahesh Bhatt and had a great cast, the public and critics hated it very much.
But that never stopped people from looking forward to her upcoming performances. And one of the most anticipated ones was Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Gangubai Kathiawadi. The actor, after a no-show in 2021, made a bang in 2022 with her pathbreaking performance in the titular role of a sex worker. She also had a small part in RRR, which is one of the top Oscar contenders for 2023 and was directed by SS Rajamouli.
Alia's year just started because she got married to Ranbir Kapoor and then, right after, she announced her pregnancy. Another piece of happy news that the actor delivered was that she was making her Netflix debut with Darlings, which also marked her first as a producer under her home banner, Eternal Sunshine Productions. In the dark comedy, the actor portrays a victim of domestic violence.
Her last release of 2022 is Ayan Mukerji's Brahmāstra: Part One – Shiva, which is the first outing of the real-life couple, Ranbir and Alia. Even though her character was poorly written, the actor became well-known for her lines, which were used in Internet memes.
With innumerable hits even with her singing skills and entrepreneurship and a few misses with negligible choices of films, Alia Bhatt has come a long way. The way hasn't stopped here; it has just reached another destination, which is Hollywood. A pregnant actor took off to London to shoot for her English film debut, Heart of Stone, which will be premiering on Netflix in 2023. What does that show? The BTS video of the actor shooting non-stop and taking up the challenge of shooting during her pregnancy showed that she is indeed one of the most hard-working actors in the film industry.
Although Karan Johar's constant mention of her being the best on Koffee With Karan is not undeniable, we still know her best is yet to come and will keep on coming!