When the stakes are high and the people around you naturally want to stay ahead, it’s quite easy to give in and be a part of the rat race too. Actor Alia Bhatt, who has been a part of Bollywood for seven years now, however, doesn’t believe that she has to be at the top, or ‘number one’, despite the many successes to her credit.
“I am a competitive person by nature,” says the 26-year old, “but I am not like… when I’m running a race, I don’t believe in looking left or right. I believe in looking straight.”
But she quickly asserts, “I don’t even believe this (films) is a race. I don’t think creativity can be a race because then you are maligning, or kind of bringing down the value of creativity. It is supposed to stay on for years after you have gone. Whatever number you are — 1st,12th or 14th, you will be remembered for the content you put out there or the films you were a part of. The number is maybe for just the people to say.”
Alia goes on to reveal that despite her not believing in number ranks, she has set a benchmark for herself. “I think it’s important for me to stay in the game, as in stay focused and not take the opportunities I have got, for granted. I’m very competitive, but mainly and mostly with myself. I think that’s the best kind of competition to have,” she says.
“I was reading a book recently,” she adds, “that said — sometimes you set a goal for yourself in life. When you achieve it, then what are you doing? What is the point of going further? I don’t set a goal. I like to achieve a little bit more and then move forward.”
Alia’s lineup next proves that this approach towards her work has paid off. She’s working on big films such as Brahmastra with Ranbir Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, and RRR, helmed by Baahubali director SS Rajamouli.
At this point in her career, when she has seen the highs, how much importance does she give to the scale of the film, her co-stars, and the story after all?
“It’s always the story,” says Alia, “Every actor and director would say that first comes the film, than who they are getting to work with. When I signed Brahmastra couple of years ago, I was much younger and newer, even then, I was like ‘I am getting to work with such great artists like Ranbir, Mr Bachchan and Ayan (Mukerji, director)’. That’s the cherry on the cake, and not something I will go for first. Brahmastra for me was a no-brainer. When I got this opportunity, in my mind and soul there was no question, I had to be a part of this cinema. It’s taken me seven years to get here, and it’s totally worth it!”