Alia Bhatt
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Alia Bhatt: No one is invincible..

By HT

Mumbai, Dec. 31 -- In 2016, she went from one extreme to another - albeit strictly on screen. So, if Udta Punjab had Alia Bhatt transform completely into a Bihari migrant, Dear Zindagi saw her portray an urban girl to perfection, while Kapoor & Sons had her portray myriad emotions seamlessly.

But the 23-year-old says she isn't "taking every step [of her career] very seriously". Excerpts from an exclusive interview:

You have had three critically acclaimed and commercially successful films in 2016.

Yes, I can say that 2016 has been one of those years when there is nothing to complain about. My films have been loved and there is lots of appreciation and different characters to play. So, I am excited. But I also feel that I shouldn't get into a comfort zone now, because it [successful films] should not end with just one year. Hopefully, it starts an upward kind of a trajectory. I shouldn't take any of it for granted. So, I am happy, excited, motivated and charged, but I am aware that I shouldn't take any of it lightly.

After all the success and accolades, do you feel a tad powerful?

I don't feel that way because I genuinely believe that no one is invincible. I feel whatever maybe exciting about me today can be exciting about somebody else tomorrow. So, I don't have any power. My films are being loved, and so am I. But if my films were not good, I wouldn't get the love. So, there should be an understanding that you can't separate yourself from the work you do. The minute I think that it's all because of me, I will be delusional.

As an actor, where do you see yourself tilting more - critical acclaim or commercial success?

I won't lie when I say that critical acclaim is always lovely. But commercial success is all about audiences, and that's the ultimate, unanimous love that you get. So I wouldn't limit myself to a particular thing. It depends on what you receive in that particular year. I really think that, as a creative person, you want it all. One would be lying if they say that they want only one thing. I am very happy that I got both this year.

How much do awards matter to you, especially since you have been pitted against Sonam Kapoor this season?

I have a problem with using the words 'winning and losing'. When you get an award, you are rewarded for your efforts. How do you quantify winning or losing? When you run a race, you cross the finish line, and that's when you realise [what] the rankings [are]. In the creative field, specially as actors, we are trying to stay far away from the finish line. So if I am not crossing the finish line, how can you determine whether I won or lost. There is no winning or losing, but only rewarding. If anybody - be it Sonam, me or anyone else - is rewarded for their efforts, it should be only a moment of celebration because there have been efforts from all sides.

In order to maintain the momentum, are you going to put more pressure on yourself?

The minute I put pressure on myself to get the same kind of results, the process automatically becomes resultoriented. And when things are only motivated by results, it's not enjoyable. For me, the process has to be fun and rich. Of course, there's a certain responsibility that I have taken up, but only for myself, and not keeping other people in mind. The idea is to take risks and mix things up, and do the so-called plastic cinema as well as performanceoriented roles. My process should be interesting and indigenous.

So, what's your process of choosing films as well as working on them?

There's a lovely quote by Tom Hanks. He said, "People ask me how I have done or what I have done, but if I knew, I probably would not be doing the same thing." So, if I also knew the process of how I got there, I probably wouldn't get there. I have no idea how everything has happened. Of course, there's a general process that I follow, which is like, I go with my first instinct, which is always right vis-a-vis a film, choosing a script or a character. I think it's better for me not to have an idea because even when I am focused, there is a lot of fun involved. I am not taking every step very seriously.

When you play two difficult characters one after the other, is it difficult to come out of any particular one?

Strangely, I was shooting for Udta Punjab before I shot for Kapoor & Sons; that was followed by Dear Zindagi (DZ). The process of going from Udta Punjab to Kapoor & Sons was a very fruitful one because I was so depressed while working on the former movie that when I went to the shoots of Kapoor & Sons, I was so elated to be on a happy set. So, all the energy that one sees in the song 'Kar gayi chull' is due to that. But going from DZ to Badrinath ki Dulhania was very difficult because DZ is very subtle, while Badri is a fully commercial, heartland love story, which I found difficult [to work on] in the first schedule. I was not able to grasp the tone. So sometimes, it is difficult and takes some time, but I think that's when you have your director to manoeuvre you from both ends.