Mirror (April 2) spilled the beans on Alia Bhatt’s fiercely guarded character in Abhishek Chaubey’s drug-drama, Udta Punjab, informing that she portrays a hockey player. The 23-year-old actress recently shot for a song sequence with real-life hockey players from several colleges across Mumbai, including St Andrews, Ambedkar College, Jhunjhunwala College, Somaiya and SNDT in the outskirts of the city.
“The girls were cool, tough and inspiring. There was so much that I learnt from them about the sport. It was a fun shoot as we clicked a few selfies,” says Alia, admitting she was more into football and handball while in school. “Since I began practicing I have realised that hockey is a difficult sport and requires a lot of skill.”
The actress trained in hockey for a month-and-a-half early last year before she began shooting for the film in Punjab. “I was given a coach and we trained at a place in Bandra. I would reach at around 6 am,” she reminisces, adding that the idea was to get the postures right, learn to hold the stick and to control the ball.
Her co-star in Gauri Shinde’s next, Shah Rukh Khan, portrayed a hockey player in Shimit Amin’s Chak De! India. Did he share any tips with her? “We would chat about everything, from movies and work to people. He is a wise and knowledgeable man and there is so much to learn from him.I have seen ‘Chak De!’ India a couple of times and love the film,” she raves.Owing to Udta Punjab’s theme of drug addiction in the state, Alia reveals that she also spent a lot of time researching the subject. “I saw many documentaries and videos to understand the behavioural patterns of those under the influence. It was disturbing,” she says, adding that she wasn’t uncomfortable using cuss works on screen. “I was playing a character and had no apprehensions about it.”
Does she also use her hockey stick to beat up bad guys in the movie? “For that you’ll have to watch the film,” she signs off.