The film industry has been traditionally male dominated but we have regularly seen shackles and stereotypes being broken by our actresses. Female superstars like Hema Malini, Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit ruled the heart of the masses. At peak of their careers, they were paid higher than many male stars of their times. Today, we have Vidya Balan, Kangana Ranaut, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor Khan who have taken women empowerment to the next level. Scripts are being written for female characters as the main protagonists. The box office has also been equally more receptive of such films.
Alia Bhatt has taken this phase ahead by leaps and bounds. She debuted in Karan Johar ‘Student of the Year’ (2012) and her role seemed inspired by Kareena Kapoor Khan’s character ‘Poo’ in ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham….‘ (2001). The film did not focus much on her acting talent. In her next film ‘Highway’ (2014) directed by Imtiaz Ali, she gave a brilliant performance as a troubled teenager with a past trauma of child sexual abuse. It showed that she is a bundle of talent and right scripts can take her career forward. Over the years, she had devoted her time between mainstream cinema and niche films. The young actress has even played interesting roles in her commercial films too.
The younger generation can easily identify her characters Ananya Swaminathan, Kavya Pratap Singh and Vaidehi Trivedi played in mainstream films such as ‘2 States’ (2014), ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya’ (2014) and ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya’ (2017) respectively. In those roles, She stole the show in some of the scenes and left her own mark. These characters were mostly from small towns in North India and she got the looks and accent right. In ‘Shaandaar’ (2015) and ‘Kapoor & Sons’ (2016), she stood on her own despite being in supporting roles. Alia Bhatt has been a strength in each of her films and never looked lost in any of the characters she played.
On other hand, she has essayed challenging roles in films like ‘Dear Zindagi’ (2016), ‘Udta Punjab’ (2016) and ‘Raazi’ (2018). They were complex characters and she has left a deep imprint and as a result, she has grown to be one of most versatile actresses in the Hindi film industry. She even dared to play characters from different religions and regions of the country. It must be coincidental. She has played a rich city girl, small-town middle-class girl and a villager in a such a short time span. She has represented India well and has been equally comfortable in comedy or emotional scenes.
In the Zoya Akhtar directed ‘Gully Boy’ (2019), her character Safeena Firdausi had a few scenes as a loud and possessive girlfriend, and left a great impact. Her natural performance is one of her biggest strengths. In a lot of her roles, her eyes do most of the talking, she can display a whole gamut of emotions and her smile can melt anybody. Even though ‘Kalank’ (2019) bombed, her character, Roop Chaudhry, was greatly appreciated.
Alia Bhatt is twenty-six years old and the next decade will belong to her as a heroine. She is the first choice of most big filmmakers in the Hindi film industry. With the way she is evolving, she is going to be remembered in the league of top actresses. The only challenge would be to see her in a dance-oriented film. Most of our top actresses have been excellent dancers and Alia Bhatt will surely pass the test and emerge as a winner. It is not surprising that she receives more praise than her male counterparts. ‘Inshallah’, ‘Brahmastra’, ‘Sadak 2’, ‘Takht’ and Baahubali famed Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ are highly anticipated.
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