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The Very Best Films Of Alia Bhatt

March 15, 2024 12:05 IST
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"Mark my words. Alia is the most special talent to hit our cinema in years. She will take the country by storm," Karan Johar had prophesied before the release of her debut film, Student Of The Year.

Twelve years later, Alia is indeed the star of Hindi cinema.

On Alia's 31st birthday on March 15, Subhash K Jha looks at her best films.


Gangubai Kathiawadi (2021)

What would this film be without Alia Bhatt?

She is in almost every frame of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's masterpiece.

Giving what is unarguably the best performance by a female actor, Alia tears through Gangubai's skin to touch her spirit.

Her Gangubai is brash and beautiful, heartbreaking and devastating.

It is an exceptional, never-seen-before performance by Alia Bhatt.


Highway (2014)

I have no clue why Alia Bhatt's Stockholm Syndrome was so easily diagnosable and why she fell in love with her kidnapper.

Or why she became a victim of child abuse at the end.

But the role gave Alia a chance to swerve away from the 'Poo' image in her debut film, Student Of The Year, and deliver such a raw performance in Imtiaz Ali's film that it made me wonder where the angst came from.


Going Home (2014)

One of the most important films that Alia has done is this short film about a girl, stranded in her broken-down car in the middle of the night.

A bunch of boys give her a lift home but her character remains oblivious of their dishonourable intentions.

Ironically, this topical film was directed by Vikas Bahl, who was an accused in the #MeToo campaign.


Udta Punjab (2016)

Alia played the haunting Bihari migrant Pinky, the reluctant drug addict pumping her veins with dubious drugs to numb herself against constant sexual violation.

She and Shahid Kapoor play two traumatized characters journeying from the opposite directions of the moral scale and their lives converge during a life-changing encounter in this Abhishek Chaubey film.

Alia bleeds brilliancy into her role, with her understanding of the complexities that define the drug politics of Punjab.


Raazi (2018)

In hindsight, everything except Alia's performance in this film seems askew.

Why was the original title Sehmat, which is Alia's name in the film and very apt for what ensues in the plot, changed to a bland Raazi?

What was the politics of the film?

The original story of a female spy's unfathomable personal sacrifices for the nation, was conferred with a dismaying moral ambiguity.

The Pakistani home where Sehmat infiltrated as a bahu was filled with cultured, soft-spoken people, who didn't deserve to be spied upon.

Alia rode across all the contradictions in the plot to deliver a consistent performance in an exasperatingly inconsistent film.


Gully Boy (2019)

As Ranveer Singh's Murad's possessive firebrand girlfriend Saifina, Alia has little playing-time.

But every time she is on screen, something happens.

Tightly squeezing into the kerchief-sized rooms of the slum, Murad wants to fly. His face lights up each time he meets the love of his life.

Alia plays Saifina with an impish charm that brings sunshine, and not just to Murad's heart.

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