Even in a short filmography so far, Alia Bhatt has shown versatility in picking up scripts and the actress says it was her desire to surprise the audience again that made her sign ‘Udta Punjab’. The 23-year-old actress, who has impressed fans with performances in ‘Highway’ and ‘2 States’, says she has always intended to do roles that people can’t imagine her in and character of tough Bihari migrant in ‘Udta Punjab’ is exactly that. “What attracted me to the film was that no one would really imagine me playing this character and I found that challenging and interesting. I was very happy that here’s a role which has no glimpse of it in my previous roles. Also, the story is very important,” Alia told PTI.
“Perhaps this is character which even I wouldn’t have imagined myself doing but I have always wanted to play roles, which are a bit unlike me, not out of the box necessarily but those which people wouldn’t think of me playing.” Apart from working on getting the Bihari accent right, Alia says she worked hard on acquiring the correct body language. “I took a few workshops to get the right body language. Like, I move my hands and roll my eyes a lot while speaking but these people (in villages) have dead-pan expressions because they can’t waste time in expressing themselves to you. They have other things to do.”
The actress calls working on ‘Udta Punjab’ an emotional learning because she observed how conditions and situations are difficult for the people in the interiors of the state. “Seeing how they manage despite all the problems and tough situations make you value your life. Besides learning things for my character, as a person I learnt that we need to be grateful and work harder because we are fortunate to have comfortable lives. Alia was particularly left touched by the women in these places.
“The toughness that these women have is inspiring. People say women in villages are not strong, can’t do anything but they are amazing… They work, support the family and have this no-nonsense attitude, which I think is very cool.” Another aspect of ‘Udta Punjab’ which made the making worthwhile for the young star was working with director Abhishek Chaubey . “It was fabulous working with him. He has this rare quality of guiding you through the journey of the film and still giving you space to try your own. That’s not found in every director and actor. He has the right balance.”Besides Alia, the film also stars Shahid Kapoor , Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh. While the ‘Kapoor & Sons’ star already had a working history with Shahid courtesy their romantic drama ‘Shaandaar’, being on the sets with Kareena and Punjabi star Diljit was a new experience for Alia. “I made sure I stay on the sets with Kareena as I love watching her onscreen. She is magical in front of the camera. She is like moth to the flame, that fiery she is… It was great learning experience to watch her.””Diljit and I interacted quite a bit and he is a very warm, hardworking guy. We all have worked very hard on this movie and hope it comes out good for us.” Co-produced by Phantom Films and Balaji Motion Pictures, ‘Udta Punjab’, which is currently embroiled in controversy over censorship issues, is scheduled to hit theatres on June 17.