I was watching
last Saturday's episode of Crime Patrol when a realisation dawned on me. The
episode shows the police chasing a young criminal, a girl. The policeman gets
out of his jeep and asks a local pan wala whether he had seen a girl walk past
hurriedly. The shop owner replies, "Sir, Alia Bhatt thode
hi hai jo itne acche se yaad rehta."
With that it was clear to me that Alia Bhatt has gone from just another Bollywood actress to a pop culture favourite. What makes this rise truly phenomenal is the fact that she did it over just five years.
Image Source: Manav Manglani
We first saw her as a spoilt school girl in Student Of The Year which released when she was 19. And today she is a sensation not just among the youth, but the older audiences too.
If we recall, Jolly LLB 2 had a full sequence based on Alia Bhatt. Saurabh Shukla’s character, a straight-laced judge is portrayed as a rabid Alia fan who calls her 'a perfect mixture between Madhubala, Hema Malini and Madhuri Dixit.'
Image Source: Twitter/Dharma Movies
And as a fan, I agree.
Alia began her filmy journey as Karan Johar's favourite student in Student Of The Year (2012). The film may have been critically panned, but it was the best launch any actor could have dreamt of.
Alia became an overnight sensation at 19. Like the fans, the media loved her too. She was ready to speak to the reporters, interacted with her fans on social media platforms and was always ready to pose for the photographers.
But she was in no hurry to sign new films. She waited, looked at all the opportunities coming her way.
While doing all that, she got invited to Koffee With Karan Season 4, alongside her Student Of The Year co-stars Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan. It was December 29, 2013, and Alia made that infamous mistake of replying, “Prithiviraj Chauhan” when asked who is the President Of India.
And that’s how Alia Bhatt became a meme and the trolling began. Everyone was laughing at the Dumb Alia jokes. It was definitely a very low point in her career, but who knew she would bounce back from it strongly.
With Highway, where she played a girl who becomes the confidante and partner of her kidnapper,she proved her acting chops.
The intensity with which she played the character is generally seen in actors with more years under their belt. She even began her singing career with this film. Her song Soona Saha may not have got the massy appeal, but definitely got the attention of her fans. Plus, she got to train and sing under the maestro, AR Rahman. What better way to begin!
After playing that intense a character, she went ahead to play a couple of lighter characters in 2 States and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. Both the films were fun-filled and made her a big star among the youngsters.
Image Source: hourdose
But the error made on the Koffee Couch still haunted her. Alia was determined to give it back to the trolls. She collaborated with stand-up comedians of All India Bakchod (AIB) and came up with a video called, Genius Of The Year. The video went viral and proved that unlike many Bollywood stars, Alia was ready to laugh at herself.Superb move!
Next, she came up with the much hyped Shandaar (2015). The film had everything to make it a superhit - a popular director, a superstar hero by the side and kickass music. However, the film was panned by the critics and audiences. Alia took it in her stride. Then Shahid Kapoor brought the script of Udta Punjab (2016) to Alia. One read and she latched onto the role.
Image Source: drop
However, both Shahid and Alia didn't want to have back-to-back releases. Kapoor & Sons came in as a breath of fresh air for all Alia's fans. She was stupendous in this family drama. Audiences and critics liked her equally.
Then came Udta Punjab and Alia once again shocked everyone. She was so good that even today you can't think of anyone else as the steely Bihari immigrant girl who fights her way out of a drug lord’s lair.
And then came the cherry on top of the cake, Dear Zindagi. Now who would imagine that a 23-year old girl would steal the show standing next to Shah Rukh Khan! The movie got mixed reviews, but Alia's performance was lauded by one and all.
These films last year made her win a lot of awards including a SpotboyE Salaam for Best Actor Female (Critics) for her turn in Udta Punjab.
Image Source: hdpics
She began this year with Badrinath Ki Dulhania, which released last Friday and is doing well at the ticket windows despite lukewarm reviews. Alia's character brings to life many shades of various small town Indian girls who are struggling to carve an identity of their own in a patriarchal world.
Today as we celebrate her 24th birthday, we are sure that she will continue to surprise us with her choices.There was a film which released with the title Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon (2003). Don't be surprised, if 10 years down the line, if you are watching a film called Main Alia Bhatt Banna Chahti Hoon.
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