Source: HT News Service.
Published on: August 8, 2023


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Alia Bhatt opens up in an exclusive interview about her role as a villain in “Heart of Stone,” her clash with Gal Gadot, and her mission to portray women in ‘unexpected’ shades.

Alia Bhatt has come a full circle in her career. She made her debut with Karan Johar’s 2012 campus caper Student of the Year. And now, she’s delivered a hit with the director’s romantic comedy Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. As a bonus, she’s also making her international debut with Tom Harper’s Heart of Stone, co-starring Gal Gadot.

From the trailer of the spy thriller, it looks like Alia is playing the villain. Her character Keya Dhawan is chasing the Heart, sort of a technological ‘brahmastra’ (pardon the pun) that can make her control the world. In one, she’s seen devilishly raising a toast to Gal’s character in one shot, and in another shot, is pointing a gun at the camera. Interestingly, this is Alia’s first turn as a baddie on screen.

Playing the bad guy

“A lot of that (how to play the villain) comes with the writing ya. You just have to commit to the direction, whatever the direction is. But I think there’s a lot of purpose and dedication in being the bad guy because to me, I’m not the bad guy. To me, I’m the right guy. Keya’s passion, her requirement, need or want for the Heart has reason, it has purpose. And she believes in that. For her, she’s not the bad guy. So you need to fully commit to that moment as an actor. I think it’s about displaying both her sides with clarity and focus,” Alia told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview.

But Alia also added that playing Keya wasn’t all work, and no play. “Of course, there are those in-between moments where she’s being sassy and a bit heavy-handed with the sarcasm, which is great. It’s built into the writing. And it’s a first for me. So I had a lot of fun really juicing those moments,” Alia said.

Women backing women

Heart of Stone also has its moments of sisterhood. Alia’s camaraderie with Gal off screen is also quite evident, as the Hollywood star has been rooting for Alia, who makes her inroads into a new market, like the Wonder Woman star once did. A crucial scene in the film has Gal saying she feels bad for men who would never have what she does: “Someone watching your back.”

Alia’s maiden film as a producer, under her banner Eternal Sunshine Productions, was Darlings, another film that promoted sisterhood. Jasmeet K Reen’s dark comedy on Netflix India, that released almost exactly a year ago, had Shefali Shah and Alia bond as mother and daughter as they’re seen putting her wife-beating husband in his place.

But Alia insisted that as a producer, she would like to be a part of films that endorse not only sisterhood, but harmony of any kind across genders. “Of course, I for one want to tell stories of women backing each other. But I also want to tell stories of men backing each other. I want to tell stories of people being there for each other. It should not be limited to one gender. It should just be different people, their personal journeys and their coming together. We want to tell a truly equal-footing kind of cinema. So I don’t think it should be skewed to one side in particular,” Alia said.

However, she’s all for showing women characters in fresh light. Alia explained, “I definitely feel there’s merit in showing women in unexpected shades. It’s way more entertaining to see two women fight and outsmart each other. Of course, those dynamics are way more interesting than to see them sitting and gossiping at lunchtime. Those things are interesting to play with. But I think it should be a balance of both.”

Disclaimer: Except the headline and synopsis, this story has been taken from the HT News Service.