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Alia Bhatt (/ˈɑːlə ˈbɑːt/; born 15 March 1993) is an actress and singer of Indian origin and British citizenship, who works in Hindi films. The recipient of several accolades, including three Filmfare Awards, Bhatt is one of the highest-paid actresses in India. She has appeared in Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list since 2014 and was featured by Forbes Asia in their 30 Under 30 list of 2017.

Alia Bhatt
Alia Bhatt promoting Kalank.jpg
Bhatt at an event for Kalank in 2019
Born (1993-03-15) 15 March 1993 (age 26)
CitizenshipBritish[1]
Occupation
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active2012–present
Parent(s)Mahesh Bhatt
Soni Razdan
RelativesSee Bhatt family
AwardsFull list
Signature
Alai-bhatt-tranperent-signature.png

Born into the Bhatt family, she is the daughter of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and actress Soni Razdan. After making her acting debut as a child in the 1999 thriller Sangharsh, Bhatt played her first leading role in Karan Johar's teen drama Student of the Year (2012). She went on to establish herself with starring roles in several films produced by Johar's studio Dharma Productions, including the romances 2 States (2014), Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014), and Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017); and the coming-of-age drama Dear Zindagi (2016). Bhatt won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress for playing a kidnapping victim in the road drama Highway (2014), and two Best Actress awards at the ceremony for playing a Bihari migrant in the crime drama Udta Punjab (2016) and a spy in the thriller Raazi (2018). The latter emerged as one of Hindi cinema's biggest-earning female-led films, and her highest-grossing release came with the musical drama Gully Boy (2019).

In addition to acting in films, Bhatt has launched her own line of clothing and handbags and is the founder of the ecological initiative CoExist. She has sung six of her film songs, including the single "Samjhawan Unplugged" in 2014, and she participates in stage shows and concert tours.

Contents

Early life

Bhatt was born on 15 March 1993[2][3] in Bombay (present-day Mumbai) to Indian film director Mahesh Bhatt and actress Soni Razdan. Her father is of Gujarati descent[4][5] and her mother is of Kashmiri Pandit and German ancestry.[6][7][8][9] Director Nanabhai Bhatt is her paternal grandfather. She has an elder sister, Shaheen (born 1988)[10] and two half-siblings, Pooja Bhatt and Rahul Bhatt. Actor Emraan Hashmi and director Mohit Suri are her maternal cousins, while producer Mukesh Bhatt is her uncle.[11] Bhatt was educated at the Jamnabai Narsee School in Mumbai.[12] She holds British citizenship.[1]

Bhatt's first acting role was as a child artist in Sangharsh (1999), starring Akshay Kumar and Preity Zinta where she played the younger version of Zinta's character.[13]

Career

Early work and rise to prominence (2012–2015)

Bhatt had her first leading role in 2012 with Karan Johar's Student of the Year, alongside Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan.[14] She portrayed the role of Shanaya Singhania, a sophisticated teenage girl who is in a relationship with Dhawan's character but is attracted to the character played by Malhotra. Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama wrote of her performance, "Alia's role is reminiscent of Kareena Kapoor in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Stylish, classy, born with a silver spoon, she's someone who loves to flaunt not just her clothes and bags, but also her riches. Extremely photogenic, Alia makes a super-confident debut."[15] Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times also mentioned the similarities with Kapoor's character, but noted that her performance was "without the killer attitude."[16] Student of the Year grossed 960 million (US$14 million) at the box office.[17]

 
Bhatt at an event for Highway in 2014

Bhatt established herself in Bollywood with her three film releases of 2014.[18][19] She played the protagonist of Imtiaz Ali's road film Highway opposite Randeep Hooda. Her portrayal of a lonely teenage girl who develops stockholm syndrome after being abducted was acclaimed by the critics.[20] Rachit Gupta of Filmfare mentioned that "at 20, it's surprising how Alia has got so many deft nuances right. It's as if the actor has grown with the character. She is truly one of the most promising new actors in Hindi films."[21] Sonia Chopra of Sify added that Bhatt is "completely immersed" in her role, and that "Alia's uninhibited and raw performance will have you emotionally invested in her character all through."[22] Though the film underperformed at the box office,[23] Bhatt won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and also garnered a Best Actress nomination at the ceremony.[24][25]

In Karan Johar and Sajid Nadiadwala's joint production 2 States, directed by Abhishek Varman, Bhatt starred opposite Arjun Kapoor. An adaptation of Chetan Bhagat's novel of the same name, it narrates the story of two IIM Ahmedabad students who encounter trouble in convincing their parents to approve of their relationship. For her role as Ananya Swaminatham, a headstrong Tamil girl, she learnt the language.[26] Critics were appreciative of her performance with Rediff.com publishing that Bhatt "really grows into the character and makes you believe that she's a career-oriented IIM-A grad."[27] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express added that Bhatt was a "surprise" and was "easy and fresh and natural."[28] The film emerged as a top-grossing production, earning over 1.7 billion (US$25 million) worldwide.[17]

Bhatt's final film role in 2014 was as Kavya Pratap Singh, a Punjabi girl who engages in a romantic affair with a stranger a few days prior to her wedding, in Shashank Khaitan's romantic comedy Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. Co-starring Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Shukla, the film was described as a tribute to Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) by Johar, who served as producer.[29] Writing for India Today, Rohit Khilnani thought that Bhatt had pitched in "one of her best performances so far", though Nandini Ramnath of Mint found her performance to be lacking in subtlety, writing that she was "more comfortable acting out her feelings through dialogue and actions".[30][31] Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania proved to be her second consecutive release to earn over 1 billion (US$14 million).[17] Her accomplishments in 2014 led Box Office India to label her as the top Bollywood actress of the year.[32]

Also in 2014, Bhatt appeared in a short film on women's safety, entitled Going Home, from director Vikas Bahl.[33] She next reunited with Bahl to film the romantic comedy Shaandaar. Released in 2015, the film featured Shahid Kapoor and Bhatt as two insomniacs who fall in love during a destination wedding.[34] Kunal Guha of Mumbai Mirror criticised the film and wrote that Bhatt "socks life into her character but fails to pump any into this film".[35] Shaandaar earned little at the box office.[36]

Established actress (2016–present)

 
Bhatt at a promotional event for Udta Punjab in 2016. For her performance in the film, Bhatt won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress.

In her first of three releases in 2016, Bhatt played the supporting part of a lively young girl with a buried past in Kapoor & Sons, a drama about a dysfunctional family starring Sidharth Malhotra and Fawad Khan. The film proved to be a critical and commercial success.[37][38] She then took on the part of a poverty-stricken Bihari migrant in the Indian state of Punjab in Udta Punjab (2016), a crime drama about substance abuse from the director Abhishek Chaubey. The intense role marked a significant departure from the mostly light-hearted parts she had previously played, and in preparation, she watched documentaries on drug abuse and learned to speak a Bihari dialect.[39] The film, co-starring Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, and Diljit Dosanjh, generated controversy when the Central Board of Film Certification deemed that the film represented Punjab in a negative light and demanded extensive censorship before its theatrical release.[40] The Bombay High Court later cleared the film for exhibition with one scene cut.[41] Bhatt's performance was critically acclaimed, with several commentators believing that it was her best performance to that point.[42] Raja Sen of Rediff.com wrote that Bhatt "commits to her accent and deals with the film's most unsavoury section, and is stunning during an incendiary speech that elevates the entire film to a whole other level."[43]

Bhatt continued to gain critical praise as she took on the role of an aspiring cinematographer whose life undergoes a series of changes after she consults a free-spirited psychologist (played by Shah Rukh Khan) in the coming-of-age film Dear Zindagi (2016).[44] Writing for IndieWire, Anisha Jhaveri noted that Bhatt provides her character with "a three-dimensionality in which the somewhat annoying nature of millennial angst is balanced with an innocence that's impossible not to recognize".[45] The film proved to be a box office success as well, earning a total of 1.39 billion (US$20 million) worldwide.[46] Udta Punjab and Dear Zindagi earned Bhatt several awards and nominations; for the former, she won the Screen Award and the Filmfare Award for Best Actress, and for the latter, she received an additional Best Actress nomination at Filmfare.[47][48][49]

The series of successful films continued with Bhatt's next project—the romantic comedy Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017)—which reunited her with Khaitan and Dhawan.[50] The film tells the story of an independent young woman (Bhatt) from rural India who refuses to conform to patriarchal expectations from her chauvinistic fiancée (Dhawan). Rachel Saltz of The New York Times took note of the film's statement on gender equality and wrote, "Without ever falling into the clichés of spunky Bollywood heroine, [Bhatt] effortlessly embodies that admirable thing: a modern woman."[51] She received another Filmfare nomination for Best Actress.[52] Meghna Gulzar's espionage thriller Raazi (2018), featured Bhatt in the lead role of Sehmat, a Kashmiri spy married to a Pakistani army officer (played by Vicky Kaushal). Set during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the film is an adaptation of Harinder Sikka's novel Calling Sehmat.[53][54] Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost found Bhatt to be "stupendous" in the role, adding that "the young star once again displaying the maturity and confidence of a veteran on camera".[55] Raazi proved to be one of the highest-grossing female-led Hindi films, and its success led Box Office India to credit Bhatt as the most successful contemporary actress of Hindi cinema.[56][57] Bhatt won another Best Actress award at Filmfare.[58]

 
Bhatt and co-star Ranveer Singh at the trailer launch of Gully Boy in 2019

In 2019, Bhatt launched her own production company named Eternal Sunshine Productions.[59] Her first film appearance that year was opposite Ranveer Singh in Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy, a musical inspired by the life of the street rappers Divine and Naezy.[60] She attended acting workshops to learn a ghetto dialect to enable her to improvise on set.[61] The film premiered at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival.[62] Writing for Screen International, Lee Marshall opined that "it's Bhatt’s sharp performance that carries most successfully the mix of wry humour, romance and social comment that Gully Boy essays".[63] With global earnings of over 2.37 billion (US$34 million), Gully Boy emerged as Bhatt's highest-grossing release.[64] Her next release, the ensemble period drama Kalank, marked her biggest-budget film to that point.[65] Set in the 1940s prior to the partition of India, it featured Dhawan and her as star-crossed lovers, and in preparation, she watched the films Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and Umrao Jaan (1981) to learn the body language of women from the era, and to better her Urdu-speaking skills, she watched the Pakistani television series Zindagi Gulzar Hai.[66] Namrata Joshi of The Hindu bemoaned that the film favoured visual grandeur over plot but took note of how much Bhatt stood out among the ensemble cast.[67] It did not perform well at the box office.[68]

Upcoming projects

As of August 2019, Bhatt has four upcoming projects. She will star alongside Ranbir Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan in Ayan Mukerji's fantasy film trilogy, the first of which is named Brahmastra.[69] She has also committed to star alongside N. T. Rama Rao Jr and Ram Charan in the Telugu-language period film RRR.[70] In addition, Bhatt will feature in Takht, a historical drama directed by Johar which has an ensemble cast including Vicky Kaushal, Ranveer Singh and Kareena Kapoor; and will team with Aditya Roy Kapur, Sanjay Dutt, and Pooja Bhatt for a sequel to her father's crime film Sadak (1991).[71][72][73]

Other work

 
Bhatt at the 59th Filmfare Awards in 2014

Bhatt has performed playback singing for the song "Sooha Saaha" in Highway (2014). A. R. Rahman, the composer of the film, invited her to his music school to undergo training.[74] In 2014, she sang the unplugged version of the song "Samjhawan", for the composers Sharib-Toshi, in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania.[75] In 2016, she sang an alternate version of the song "Ikk Kudi", for the soundtrack of Udta Punjab, with her co-star Dosanjh.[76]

Bhatt has performed on stage at the Filmfare, Screen and Stardust award ceremonies, and has also participated in a stage show in Hong Kong alongside Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra.[77] In 2013, she performed at a charity event with Dhawan, Malhotra, Aditya Roy Kapur, Shraddha Kapoor and Huma Qureshi to raise funds for the flood-affected victims of Uttarakhand.[78] In August 2016, she performed in various cities of America for the "Dream Team 2016" tour, alongside Johar, the actors Dhawan, Malhotra, Roy Kapur, Katrina Kaif, Parineeti Chopra, and the singer Badshah.[79]

In 2013, Bhatt took part in a campaign for PETA to raise awareness on homeless animals.[80] In 2017, she launched an ecological initiative named CoExist to raise awareness about the welfare of street animals.[81] The following year, she collaborated with Facebook Live for a campaign named Find Your Green, to campaign for environmentalism.[82]

Bhatt designed her own clothing brand for women in 2014 for the online fashion portal Jabong.com and in 2018, she launched her own line of handbags for VIP Industries.[83][84][85] She is also the celebrity endorser for a number of brands and products, including Coca-Cola, Garnier and Maybelline.[86][87]

In the media

In 2017, Bhatt was featured by Forbes Asia in their 30 Under 30 list.[88] She has appeared in Forbes India's Celebrity 100 list since 2014, peaking at the 12th position in 2018.[89][90][91] That year, the magazine estimated her annual income to be 588.3 million (US$8.5 million) and listed her as the second highest-paid actress in the country.[92] In the same year, the Indian edition of GQ featured her among the nation's 50 most influential young people and credited her for "striking a balance between big-budget, all-star blowouts and more script-oriented films".[93] Bhatt was listed in first place in The Times of India's "50 Most Desirable Women" list of 2018.[94]

Filmography

Films

Key
  Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Film Role Notes
1999 Sangharsh Young Reet Oberoi Special appearance
2012 Student of the Year Shanaya Singhania Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut
2014 Highway Veera Tripathi Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2014 2 States Ananya Swaminathan
2014 Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania Kavya Pratap Singh
2014 Going Home Herself Short film
2014 Ugly Young Shalini Cameo appearance[95]
2015 Shaandaar Alia Arora
2016 Kapoor & Sons Tia Malik
2016 Udta Punjab Bauria/Mary Jane Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2016 Ae Dil Hai Mushkil DJ Cameo appearance
2016 Dear Zindagi Kaira Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2017 Badrinath Ki Dulhania Vaidehi Trivedi Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2018 Welcome to New York Herself Cameo appearance
2018 Raazi Sehmat Khan Filmfare Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress
2018 Zero Herself Special appearance[96]
2019 Gully Boy Safeena Firdausi
2019 Kalank Roop Chaudhry
2019 Student of the Year 2 Unnamed Special appearance in song "The Hook Up Song"[97]
2020 Brahmastra   Isha Filming[98][99]
2020 Sadak 2   TBA Filming[100]
2020 RRR   Sita Telugu film; filming[70]

Music video

Year Song Performer Ref
2019 "Prada" The Doorbeen (featuring Shreya Sharma) [101]

Discography

Track Year Album Ref(s)
"Sooha Saha" 2014 Highway [102]
"Samjhawan Unplugged" Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania [103]
"Ikk Kudi (Club Mix)" 2016 Udta Punjab [104]
"Love You Zindagi (Club Mix)" Dear Zindagi [105]
"Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le – 2" [105]
"Humsafar (Alia's version)" 2017 Badrinath Ki Dulhania [106]

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External links