I’m not doing Dhanush Film – Alia Bhatt

She has been shooting for 2 States with Arjun Kapoor in Chennai for the last few days, and has been living the life of a Tamil girl. Before taking off to Puducherry to continue the shoot, Alia Bhatt talks about what she likes best about the city, her experience of speaking in Tamil and why AR Rahman’s music is important for her other film, Highway.

How has your stay in Chennai been?

My mom told me that I first visited Chennai when I was eight months old. But of course, that trip doesn’t count. So, I’m happy that I’m enjoying my stay in the city this time around. We’ve been shooting non-stop for the last couple of days, and didn’t have the time to explore the city. But, my driver has been sweet enough to take me around whenever I get time. He took me past the Marina, which, I was told, is the second longest beach in Asia. He also showed me around some of the schools and colleges here. My mom has been here, and I found the city very beautiful. In fact, the city was celebrating its birthday when I toured the city and looking at some of the landmarks on Madras Day was special.

You play a Tam-Brahm in 2 States, and you also hired a tutor to learn Tamil. Did you find the language easy to learn?

I have a lot of fun when I’m speaking in Tamil because it’s a new language for me, and it’s very exciting that way. I basically mug up my lines, but I know what I am saying. I have a little understanding of the language.

Bollywood has for a lot of flak for stereotyping south Indians, especially Tamilians…

I play a modern-day south Indian, and she’s just like how any other girl is. When you speak to a third person, you speak normally, without any south Indian accent. Probably when you are talking to your family and friends, you speak like an authentic south Indian, with the twang. So, I’m sure the character I play will be perceived as a normal Tamil girl only.

You declined KV Anand’s film with Dhanush…

It’s not like I don’t want to do the film, but it was not convenient in terms of dates and time. I would love to do south Indian films and they make more films than we do (Bollywood). Also, they work really well at the BO. So, if I get a proper opportunity, I would love to be part of one.

Your next, Highway, is an AR Rahman musical…

There are seven songs in the film, and I’ve only heard two of them while shooting. The combination of AR Rahman and Imtiaz Ali is an exciting one, and they inspire each other to come out with the best. The music he (Rahman) makes is marvellous, and is known to move your soul. You don’t even need visuals to enjoy his music, nor do you need to understand the language. His music completely touches you. And in Highway, music plays a very important role as it not only lifts the film, but gives it a soul.

What has been the most memorable part of working in the Imtiaz Ali’s film?

We’ve been travelling from Delhi to Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and finally, Kashmir, by road. I got to learn and see a lot, and after two months of shooting for the film, I sensed that I’ve understood myself as a person. The film is emotionally challenging, and Imtiaz helped me a lot. Also, I love travelling and during the course of this shoot, I met many locals and learnt a lot about my own country.

Does your family influence the kind of roles you take up?

None. Of course, they know what I’m doing and my mom is clued into the kind of films I sign. I discuss with them what is offered to me, and if I need advice, I go to Karan (Johar).

Do relationship rumours bother you?

No, I just laugh it off. People ask me why I go to a place with Siddharth (Malhotra, her co-star in her debut film) and what I do. What can I say? If they want to talk, let them. It doesn’t affect me.

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