Among other things, Shashank Khaitan’s Badrinath Ki Dulhania (BKD) has been accused of misogyny and encouraging stalking. Alia Bhatt who plays the object of Varun Dhawan’s (unwanted) attention is unfazed by the criticism. “No matter what I do there’ll always be people who disapprove and express their dislike vocally. My father (filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt) calls it an occupational hazard. I’ve learnt to live with criticism early in my career. I see it as a chance to improve myself.”
As for Varun’s character “stalking” Alia in BKD she reiterates very strongly:
Alia BhattNo, he doesn’t play a stalker. Badri is not stalking Vaidehi. From the beginning we were very clear on this. Varun wouldn’t play a stalker. And I wouldn’t encourage that kind of attention. Yes the couple have their issues. But she is in love with him all the same.
Alia plays a runaway bride in BKD, a situation she wasn’t comfortable being in as an actor. “I kept our director Shashank Khaitan, how could she do this? But I guess my characterVaidehi had her dreams. Maybe her timing to fly with her dreams sucked. Hota hai.”
I tell Alia this is her first full-fledged latka-jhatka role, and she corrects me. “No, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania was my first latka-jhatka role.I had fun doing that. I had even more fun doing Badrinath. But I remember during Humpty I couldn’t get one of the dance steps right. No matter what I did our choreographer Ganesh Master (Acharya) was not happy with that step until I realised I was being too subtle with that step.”
The dance steps in BKD remind us of Govinda and Raveena Tandon though. Alia laughs, “It wasn’t intentional. But yes, if our movements give off those vibes it is because we grew up watching them and and we love those films.”
Alia admits Varun is a terrific co-star and good friend. “We made our debut together. BKD is our third film together. We grew up in the same entertainment industry and we’re both passionate about cinema. We come from a similar background. Varun’s father and mine are filmmakers. So we share a lot in common. Varun is a wonderful friend and co-star. However it would be unfair to say Varun is my favourite co-star. I’ve enjoyed working with my other co-stars as well. If audiences have seen a special chemistry between Varun and me, it is entirely a matter of perception. We didn’t go out of our way to generate a special vibe.”
The variety of roles she has selected is amazing. “I guess I am lucky. It’s not as if I’ve gone out of my way to choose diverse roles. But yes, I subconsciously choose these parts that challenge a different part of me. I mean after doing Udta Punjab I may not want to play another Bihari migrant for a while. But that doesn’t mean if I like another role of a Bihari migrant I won’t do it. It’s been a while since I played a happy person. Badrinath is a happy film.”