Alia Bhatt And Her Tryst With Different Languages And Cultures

An overview of how the talented Bollywood actress covered various Indian States and different dialects through her roles.

In a career spanning over a decade, Alia Bhatt has represented women characters from different parts of India. These women are not only varied in terms of physical demographics but also their social strata.

The states that Alia Bhatt has represented so far include Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Goa, Rajasthan, Kashmir, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Bengal.

Though most of them are Hindu characters in three films, she played Muslim characters, too. They are Sehmat in Raazi (2018), Safeena in Gully Boy (2019) and Badru in Darlings (2022).

Alia Bhatt has proved her efficiency in moulding herself to suit each of them.

Let me start with the latest picture:

Rani Chatterjee

Rani Chatterjee in Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani (2003) is a Bengali journalist who settles in South Delhi.

The Bengali imprint was clear in the gorgeous sarees she wore and also in the way she spoke her mind like any educated Bengali woman would do.

This came out brilliantly in her introduction scene itself when she bashed a minister for his sexist comments about how women should dress and what they should eat. It was much more of a massy entry than Ranveer got.

Alia Bhatt’s Bengali accent wasn’t flawless, but the actress ensured that it didn’t become a distraction with her screen presence and acting capabilities. Well, Alia was bang on when she pronounced “Khela Hobe” which means “the game is on”.

Gangubai

In Gangubai Kathaiawadi (2022), which won Alia a National Award for her performance as Gangubai, the actor’s dialect had a mix of Gujarati and Marathi.

On many occasions, we see her speaking in the Kathiawadi accent. It came from the family that her character Gangubai was born in.

Alia Bhatt was not only good at showing a gamut of emotions through her eyes but she also aced the dialect.

The Gujarati touch can be particularly seen in the song “Dholida“.

Sita

In SS Rajamouli’s RRR (2022), there was one heavy scene that Alia Bhatt shared with Junior NTR’s Komaram Bheem. It came at a juncture when Ram Charan’s character Alluri Seetharama Raju was in jail and on the verge of being hanged.

She had to speak lengthy Telugu dialogues and the actress didn’t miss a beat in conveying the emotions.

Vaidehi

In Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017), Alia played a rebellious girl from Rajasthan’s Kota who aspired to be an air hostess. Marriage was the last thing on her agenda.

Through her character Vaidehi, the Bollywood actor represented the ambitions of many small-town girls. She was also successful in pulling off the Kota accent.

Bauria

In Udta Punjab (2016), Alia Bhatt’s character Bauria is that of a Bihari migrant who goes to Punjab in search of work. For this film, the actress learnt the Bihari dialect under the guidance of the acclaimed actor Pankaj Tripathi.

There is a lengthy monologue where Bauria pours her heart out to an astonished Tommy Singh, played by Shahid Kapoor. Alia Bhatt was brilliant throughout the film, but her performance in this scene was heartbreaking.

It is not just about conveying the pain and pathos, but it is also about how she convincingly says it in the Bihari accent.

Ananya

In 2 States (2014), her very third film, Alia played a Tamilian.

In 2013’s Chennai Express, Deepika was criticised for her over-the-top portrayal of a Tamil girl. Although Deepika is a South Indian by birth, she has an exaggerated accent.

On the other hand, Alia Bhatt was much appreciated for portraying Ananya in a more nuanced way and speaking Tamil more naturally. At no point does her accent bother the viewers.

Other roles

Regarding the Muslim characters she played in Gully Boy and Darlings, both roles had a backdrop of slums in Mumbai.

In Gully Boy, there is a particular slang that the actress uses. Despite not being the central character, her dialogue became one of the highlights.

In a scene, she says, “Mere boyfriend ke saath koi gulu gulu karenga toh dhoptuingi hi na usko.”

In Darlings, Alia Bhatt’s Badru constantly spoke in odd plural phrases. These included “I loves you” and “bad lucks”.

In Raazi, the Bollywood actor played a Kashmiri Muslim named Sehmat. Naturally, there was some Kashmiri touch to her dialogues and the actress expectedly got it bang on.

What made the role of Sehmat even more interesting was that Alia is half Kashmiri and half Gujarati in real life.

Given the speculation that Alia Bhatt would play Roopmati in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming film, she might soon add another name to her cross-cultural list of characters!

https://thesouthfirst.com/entertainment/alia-bhatt-and-her-tryst-with-different-languages-and-cultures/

Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani: Inclusivity In Karan Johar Style

The director subverts some of his own themes from his previous films; a case in point being how fear is looked upon as respect in our culture.

Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani is everything that you expect from the filmmaker. There are larger-than-life sets and exquisite costumes among other things.

At the same time, the director subverts some of his own themes from his previous films; a case in point being how fear is looked upon as respect in our culture.

The film also makes a strong case for inclusivity through Tota Roy Chowdhury’s character who loves Kathak which is looked upon as a female dance form. It also makes a strong case for inclusivity between two vastly different cultures — Punjabi and Bengali.

Synopsis

Rocky Aur Rani ki Prem Kahaani begins with the introduction of Rocky and Rani (Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt respectively).

Rocky is introduced through a dance number where he is surrounded by many women, including Janhvi Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, and Ananya Pandey (in special appearances).

He is dancing his heart out; but as soon as his grandmother Dhanalakshmi (Jaya Bachchan) appears, he scampers away because he is afraid of her and also his father.

Dhanalakshmi is the owner of a sweet shop — Dhanalakshmi Group. Rocky is the future heir to this business venture.

After the introduction of Ranveer, we move to Alia Bhatt’s Rani Chatterjee. She is introduced as this firebrand journalist who isn’t afraid to take on the Jugular.

The viewers see her grilling a minister about the rising rape cases by uttering a powerful dialogue: “Nazare Kharab Aapki Parde Kare Hum” (You ever tease us and we have to hide behind the curtains).

This sets the base for the drama to follow.

Rocky’s grandfather Kanwal (Dharmendra) is bedridden most of the time because of paralysis. He suffers from memory loss, too.

He has half picture of a woman in one of his books and Rocky believes that this woman might be the key to his grandfather regaining his memory.

The woman turns out to be Rani Chatterjee’s grandmother Jamini Chatterjee (Shabana Azmi). She is a cultural icon known among her intellectual gatherings.

Rocky arranges a meeting between his grandfather and Jamini through Rani.

Real kahaani

Rani initially treats him in a patronising way. But after some flirtation and through some old Hindi songs, they both fall for each other.

Rani isn’t sure about getting into a relationship with Rocky, given the many differences. But she eventually gives in.

However, things are far from easy as both families are contrastingly different from each other.

While the Chatterjees are woke, the Randhawas are as rigid as you get.

Taking the Telugu film Bommarillu (2006) route, the couple decides to go for a swap. Rani starts living with the Randhawas and Rocky with the Chatterjees.

Rani initially treats him in a patronising way. But after some flirtation and through some old Hindi songs, they both fall for each other.

Rani isn’t sure about getting into a relationship with Rocky, given the many differences. But she eventually gives in.

However, things are far from easy as both families are contrastingly different from each other.

While the Chatterjees are woke, the Randhawas are as rigid as you get.

Taking the Telugu film Bommarillu (2006) route, the couple decides to go for a swap. Rani starts living with the Randhawas and Rocky with the Chatterjees.

Rani faces severe opposition from Dhanalakshmi as she doesn’t like her firebrand nature. on the other hand, Rocky faces cultural issues. In a hilarious scene, he thinks that Rabindranath Tagore is Rani’s grandfather because of his long beard.

Whiff of nostalgia

The best part of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani is how the director uses old Hindi songs at important junctures.

For example, Dharmendra sings “Abhi Na Jao Chod Ke” for the first time when his character regains his memory.

Some of the other songs include “Yeh Shaam Mastani“, “O Saathi Chal“, and “Do Dil Mil Rahe Hai“. These old songs are a character in itself.

However, the best usage has to be “Dola Re Dola” from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas (2002). The song starts off with Tota Roy Chowdhury performing in Durga Puja.

Ranveer’s Rocky joins him much to the delight of Alia Bhatt’s Rani and to the horror of Jaya Bachchan. Here the director is clearly subverting gender stereotypes.

Alia and Ranveer hold the fort

What also works for Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani is how Ranveer and Alia play off each other’s energies. Their contrasting personalities work for the film.

Ranveer Singh as Rocky brings the house down with his faulty English and uninhibited performance. The actor equally shines in the scenes showcasing Rocky’s fragile side.

The best example is the emotional moment that he shares with Alia’s father Chandon Chatterjee (Tota Roy Chowdary).

Alia Bhatt plays the firebrand journalist with the finesse that you expect from her. She more than holds her own opposite the veteran actors. She is first-rate in the dramatic bits like the showdown that happens between her and Rocky post the “Dhindora” song.

Veterans steal the show

Another thing that works for the film is the bonding between Dharmendra and Shabana Azmi. Their scenes bring a smile to the viewer’s face.

Dharmendra doesn’t have many dialogues, but the actor is still quite good. Shabana Azmi is a picture of grace and poise. Some of her dialogues are truly wonderful.

For instance, there is a scene where Jamini opens up about why she fell in love with Kanwal and how she doesn’t regret it.

Jamini also adds that she got more love from Kanwal in just seven days than she got from her husband in their entire marriage. Further, she talks about how her grandfather wasn’t as polished as Rani thinks him to be.

Tota Roy Chowdhury is in a wonderful form as the man who loves Kathak and takes pride in being a dancer. There is a heart-touching scene where he talks about how he was the only male student in his dance class.

Jaya Bachchan as Dhanalakshmi is more or less a personification of all patriarchal characters, including her husband. She seems to have taken revenge on behalf of all the women characters who have been subjugated by them — Sweet Vengence.

Technical crafts

Pritam’s music isn’t exactly a blockbuster but still, it works on the big screen. “Dhindora Baje Re” and “Ve Kamleya” are easily the best of the lot.

Dhindora Baje Re” is further enhanced by the intense scene which precedes the song.

What Jhumka” makes for a perfect Sangeet number. Alia’s dance moves in sarees particularly stand out.

The cinematography by Manush Nandan is appropriately glossy. He captures the wide canvas of the film well through his lens. Having said that, for some, the canvas may come across as too glossy.

Final take

Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani does remind you of 2 States (2014) and Bommarillu. However, this cultural and family clash is hugely enjoyable if you buy into Karan Johar’s world.

(Views expressed here are personal.)

Four Women And Alia

On a rainy night in Mumbai’s Kamatipura area an unusual get together happened.

It was in a restaurant called Princess Plaza.

Badru was sitting at the cash counter when Gangubai walked in.

I am sure you know Badru; the battered wife in the movie Darlings. Now she started a restaurant after her cruel husband Hamza died in a train accident; when the entire nation heaved a sigh of relief. In Mumbai, I suppose, that is the easiest way to get rid of bad guys. But to be fair to Badru she did not push him under the wheels though she thought of it many times. It is he who got knocked down by a speeding train on his own accord while standing on the rail tracks shouting and threatening his wife till his last breadth. One thing is certain. He left at the right time; because if he had continued to live with Badru one of us would have definitely gone and smashed his head.

Coming back to the present Badru is now financially and emotionally a very happy person. On the third anniversary of the restaurant she decided to invite Gangubai, Veera and Bauria aka Mary Jane to her restaurant and spend some time with them. She wanted to know a few things from them.

In few minutes Veera and Bauria also joined them. They seemed to have met at the railway station. One was coming from Himalayas and the other from Goa. Both of them looked quite cheerful. There was an air of enthusiasm and anticipation in everyone’s face. Badru warmly invited them and after a round of introductions they sat down for a chat.

Snacks and chai followed with some light banter. After a while Gangubai asked Badru why she arranged this meeting. Badru looked at all of them and said “Any guesses?”

“All of us suffered in life for no fault of ours. Maybe you wanted to know how each one of us is coping with it now.” Veera was the first one to speak. She seemed to have given a lot of thought about the purpose of this meeting.

“Of course… that is one of the reasons. But did you ever think of whose faults we all suffered” replied Badru.

 “I am not very educated like some of you. But I can say that we women are also very gullible. Why did I elope with a man whom I hardly knew and leave my house? In my obsession to become an actor, a heroine I neglected my safety and paid the price” said Gangubai.

 “You might think it was your fault. But for many women like me there is no choice. My father died. I had no one look after me. I had to migrate for work. How would I guess I will land up with rapists and drug mafia? Many things are not in our hands” Bauria said.

 “True. Look at me. I am from a rich family. Ideally I should not have had any serious problems. But see what happened. My own uncle sexually abused me. I was a child. Even my mother could not protect me. The man who accidentally kidnapped me was much more decent than my own uncle” Veera recollected her ordeal.

Badru was silent for a long time. Then she looked at each one of them intensely. Slowly she started to speak.

 “For Veera it was her uncle. For Gangubai it was her lover. For me it was my husband. For Bauria it was the outside male world. I feel we are not safe anywhere – inside home or outside; with anyone – family or outsiders. Swimming in oceans and climbing high mountains are considered great achievements. People don’t realise we are no less achievers. We are the SURVIVORS of male cruelty. We are the ones who should be shown to the suffering girls and women of this country as the real role models, at least until the society changes for the better. I wish no woman should think of taking her life after seeing how we shaped our lives. I invited all of you to celebrate our new life.”

They looked at each other and broke into laughter. They all seem to agree with the new term they coined for themselves. “Let us change the name of this restaurant to Survivors and invite all our fellow survivors to this place” laughed Gangubai.

Dear Alia… A Love Letter From Your Fan

I still vividly remember the day 19th October 2012

It was the release of Student of The year

At that point I had no idea that you will become a part of my world

In spite of not having a lot of screen time you stormed through my heart

Your cuteness mixed with beauty bowled me and many others too

With Highway you became one of my favorite actresses

I have never missed any of your films whether they are good or bad

It is almost ten years and each of them has been a loving memory.

I have watched most of your films on repeat mode and  never felt tired re watching them again and again.

One of the qualities that I admire in you is your mental strength.

I still remember the short film Genuis of the year after the debacle of Coffee with Karan

It was not just a short film but it was also a statement on how you can take a joke on yourself.

There are many times Kangana Ranaut has attacked you but you have always dealt with it in a dignified manner.

With Coexist you made me more interested in nature

The day when I got the Coexist cup it was one of the best moments in my life

It is my most treasured possession.

Due to Coexist influence I also brought home a hibiscus flowerpot

I also developed the habit of reading to trees and petting them like dogs and cats.

Your personality reflects not just in your films but also in Ads

I love Manyavar Ads particularly the last one on Kanyamaan

It questioned the practice of Kanyadaan in a simple but effective manner

You have conquered many hearts with characters that have had the right mixture of vulnerability and strength particularly the latest one Gangubai Kathiawadi.

 Thank you so much for noticing my videos on you

The profile video that I made on you will remain one of my best videos

My admiration for you is never ending

Cheers to many more years Alia.

https://www.primepost.in/a-love-letter-from-your-fan/

Alia Bhatt: A Multi Faceted Queen

Today’s feature is a very special one as it is about one of my most favourite actresses. She is the very talented and a multifaceted personality Alia Bhatt. The reason for doing this feature is that Alia will be turning 28 on 15th of this month. Alia has captured the hearts of many ranging across different age groups from children, teenagers, adults and even old people. Apart from being a wonderful actress she has also sung some nice songs in Humpty Sharma Ki DulhaniaBadrinath Ki Dulhania, HighwayUdta Punjab etc. She also opened up a production house recently. The name of her production house is Eternal Sunshine productions. What makes this even more special is the fact that Alia is the youngest actress turned producer. The actress also set up an initiative called co Exist in 2017 which works towards animals and ecological welfare.

Shabana Azmi in one of her interviews had called Alia a wonderful actress with the perfect mixture of vulnerability and strength which is very attractive. When you look at the characters in films like Highway and Udta Punjab you feel that Shabana ji is right. For example, in Highway you see lot of vulnerability as she is scared of her kidnapper but gradually you see the character finding strength and by the end strength replaces vulnerability. A good example of that is the scene when she confronts her uncle in front of entire family. She yells at her father about not warning her about the dangers posed by insiders. The film ends with her going to the mountains and setting up her own factory. In Udta Punjab the character goes through multiple scenes of physical abuse but she never gives up, in fact she becomes a victor at the end. This combination makes her very endearing to the audiences particularly the younger generation both male and female. Males want to have a girlfriend like her while females find themselves in the characters.

Now I will talk about some of my favourite Alia Bhatt performances. Since I have already mentioned Highway and Udta Punjab I will be talking about three more.

1 Raazi – Raazi is based on the book written by Harinder Sikka. It is set in 1971 when India and Pakistan were at the brink of the war and Information is the key for both the nations. Alias character Sehmat gets married to a respectable Pakistani family. Her job is deliver information to Indian government through Mars code. It is a part which isn’t particularly likeable since she has to choose between nation and family. Honestly some of the actions which the character does are questionable but Sehmat never comes across as a villain because of Alias performance.

2 Dear Zindagi – Dear Zindagi was an attempt to normalize Psychiatry through the troubled personal life of a teenage girl. The character in this one is very different from Udta Punjab. The reason being it comes from an upper middle class family and her issues aren’t exactly first world war ones. You have friends to fall upon and also a glamorous profession but Alia still made it work with her spontaneous performance. Her scenes with the therapist played by SRK were one of the chief reasons why the film worked.

3 Gully Boy – As the title suggests the story is about a boy from the gully played by Ranveer Singh but Alia shined in all her scenes with a spirited act. In this film also you can see vulnerability and strength in many scenes. Alias performance worked as a perfect contrast to the understatedness of Ranveer. Through her performance she showed that good actors don’t need a whole of screen time in order to make an impression.

Apart from the above mentioned ones you have also got the Dulhania Franchise, Humpty Sharma and Badrinath Ki Dulhania along with 2 states, Kalank etc. Although these films are more commercial in nature the actress has played strong parts in these films as well. For example, in Badrinath Ki Dulhania Alia plays a girl called Vaidehi who is very clear about wanting to become an air hostess. She is someone who will go to any lengths in order to achieve the dream. Keeping all this in mind it is not surprising that apart from Shabana you have also had acclaimed actors Irrfran and Pankaj Tripati  also praising her. Irrfran had called her a gifted actress with the potential of being an international star. Pankaj Tripati who was the dialect coach of Udta Punjab had called her a hardworking actress.

As I earlier said the actress is a singer too. Her singing journey started with a bit version of Sooha Saaha in Highway however the first major song that she sung was the unplugged version of Samjhawaan in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. This song is not there in the film but is available in Youtube. The actress won lot of appreciation for the song. This was followed by two songs in Dear Zindagi and one of the songs was the club version of Love You Zindagi. After Dear Zindagi you had the song Ik Kudi which she sung with Diljit Dosanjh. In Badrinath Ki dulhania she sang the female version of Humsafar. The last one was Sadak 2. Just like her acting Alia also left a mark with her singing skills.

Now let’s move to Coexist which I mentioned in the beginning. As I earlier said Co Exist works towards animals and ecological welfare. As part of coexist you have the initiative my wardrobe is Su wardrobe. It is a philanthropic initiative where people get to choose outfits from the personal closet of Alia and other celebrities as a part of charity. The entire amount goes to some charity or the other. From one of the proceeds eco friendly solar lamps were sent to economically backward districts in Kikkeri, Karnataka. 

Alias sense of humour is another thing which is worth appreciating. Everyone knows how she became the butt of the jokes after getting the name of India president wrong. She was never offended with the jokes and took it in her stride. She also talked about her favourite Alia Bhatt jokes. In fact Alia also featured in Genuis of the year which was a funny take on the aftermath of Koffe with Karan debacle.

Although Alia is only 27 you can see lot of maturity in her which shows both off and on screen. The biggest example of that is the way she dealt with all the trolling post Sushant Singh Rajput’s death last year. A Koffe with Karan episode was unnecessarily blown out of proportion and a picture was painted of them as enemies. Add to that Sonam’s statement of who is Sushant was attributed to her. The actress took the controversy in her stride and focused on her work. We can see the result in the teaser of Gangubai.

It is a well known fact that Kangana has been attacking her since 2019 just because Alia didn’t promote her film Manikarnika. But Alia never resorted to Kangana’s language and has always given a dignified answer. One reason for that could be that she understands the background from which Kangana comes from.

Alia’s compassionate nature can also be seen with her sister. In We The Women event she broke down about not understanding what her sister was going through in spite of living with her for a long time. It was a very heart-warming event. Similarly when Rishi Kappor was admitted due to cancer Alia made sure to visit her future father in law. She was there for all the family things and balanced the personal life and professional life very well. After Rishi Kapoor’s death it is said that Alia Bhatt called Neetu Kapoor regularly and not Ranbir. 

Alia’s chemistry with all her co stars has always been good but my favourite pairing is with Varun Dhawan. They have acted together in four films starting from Student of the year to 2019’s Kalank. You can see the comfort level and the understanding that they have got. Even in the disaster that Kalank was their scenes were good to watch. My second favourite pairing of Alia is with Ranveer Singh. Before acting together in Gully Boy they acted in the make my trip ads and their pairing was liked by the audience. You can see the respect that they have for each other’s work and that clearly reflected in Gully Boy. It also helps that both of them are passionate actors and love to take on challenging roles.

Although Alia is not someone who is politically very active but there have been times where the actress has taken a stand. For example during the JNU and CAE protests the actress expressed her solidarity for the students through social media.

I will end this feature by talking about the teaser of Gangubai which has been trending for all the right reasons unlike Sadak 2. The dialogues in the teaser have particularly become very popular and have been quoted by fans. A good example of this is the line Kunwari apne Chhoda Nahi, shrimati kisi ne banaya nahi. While the transformation of Alia in the teaser has largely been appreciated there has also been discussion about alternate casting. Now this isn’t really surprising since Hrithik Roshan’s Super 30 also went through similar issues. But we all know what happened after the release of the film. Hrithik impressed everyone with his committed performance and the film went on to do very well. Coming back to this controversy it is necessary that the people wait until the release of the film. The reason being we don’t know which part of the life story Sanjay Leela Bhansali has taken. Since we are talking about Hrithik it is necessary to mention that both Hrithik and Alia have been invited to join the Oscar academy where they might be given voting rights.

I will finally end by wishing her all the best for the future projects which include Bramhastra and her Telugu debut RRR. An interesting thing about RRR is that Alia will be dubbing in her own voice. It will be interesting to see the actress speak Telugu.