Kolkata: Alia Bhatt took recourse to the Bhagavad Gita in response to yet another recent dig from industry colleague Kangana Ranaut. Alia was in Kolkata on Monday to promote her upcoming Sanjay Leela Bhansali film Gangubai Kathiawadi, which hits theatres on February 25.
Bollywood’s controversial ‘Queen’ Kangana’s recent jibe at Alia, calling her a “romcom bimbo” and “papa ki pari”, is part of a series of comments that Kangana has made about Alia and her latest film. Taking to Instagram, the Thalaivi actress wrote about the “Bollywood mafia” and slammed the “wrong casting” of Gangubai Kathiawadi. Without taking names, she called Mahesh Bhatt, Alia’s father, “movie mafia daddy”. She further said, “This Friday, 200cr will be burnt to ashes at the box office for a papa (movie mafia daddy) ki pari.”
In Kolkata to launch the song ‘Meri Jaan’ from the film’s soundtrack, Alia paused for a while when asked about Kangana’s statement, and then said, “Lord Krishna had said in The Gita, inaction in action. That’s what I will say.”
This is the first time that Alia has collaborated with Bhansali. For any Bollywood actress, it is indeed a dream come true moment. And for Alia, who will complete a decade in the film industry in 2022, she always knew the moment to work with ‘Sanjay sir’ would come.
For those not in the know, Alia had auditioned for the young Michelle character in Bhansali’s Black (2005). Alia was just nine then. The role, however, ended up with Ayesha Kapur.
It’s been 20 years since then. Alia now plays the lead in Gangubai Kathiawadi, a brothel owner in Mumbai’s Kamatipura red light district, who went on to become a prominent figure in the mafia world and fought for women’s rights. The film is being considered as one of Bhansali’s best, and was recently premiered at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival.
“Twenty years ago, I walked into Sanjay sir’s house to audition for Black. I don’t even know what audition I did. But from that time, I knew and believed that one day I would be directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. I put that out into the universe and finally 20 years later, my first with Sanjay sir is releasing,” beamed Alia as she bit into a tempting ‘jolbhora sandesh’.
Her last major film was Sadak 2, which was released on OTT. So, Alia can’t wait for the audience to watch her as Gangubai on the big screen. The Raazi actress is also elated that theatres have reopened post the Covid-19 pandemic. “There was a huge fear in all of us that the theatre experience would never come back. The experience of watching a film in a theatre is irreplaceable, especially for films like Gangubai Kathiawadi. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a visionary and he makes films to enjoy as a community. I can sense that people are excited to get back to theatres,” said Alia as she posed in front of a life-size poster of the film in trademark Gangubai style at Priya Cinema.
The film’s Kolkata connection comes in the form of city boy Shantanu Maheshwari. We have already watched two songs of Shantanu with Alia – ‘Jab Saiyaan’ and ‘Dholida’. In Meri Jaan, the pair raise their chemistry a notch. Sung by Neeti Mohan, the entire sequence is shot inside a vintage car.
Appreciating Shantanu’s sense of rhythm as he is a “beautiful dancer”, Alia says ‘Meri Jaan’ was a difficult song to shoot. “The camera does not move in the song and it’s about two actors and their synergy. Shantanu is a beautiful dancer and Sanjay sir is very particular about the beat. We had to keep the beat and story in mind. I couldn’t have done the song without Shantanu’s rhythm,” said Alia. Apparently, the song took 20 retakes to finish. Well, their passionate chemistry doesn’t show that!