MY DAD, MY STAR ALIA ON MAHESH
Father-daughter duo Mahesh and Alia Bhatt talk of life and work and living free of the ‘market’
He is one of the most respected filmmakers in the Hindi film industry. And once she made her Bollywood debut with Student of the Year (2012), a new star was born. While a generation apart, Alia Bhatt and her father Mahesh Bhatt are top talents in their field — and they have a very close familial bond. We catch up with the Bhatts for an exclusive photo shoot and a chat.
Alia, what are your fondest memories of being Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter?
Alia: My father was, for the lack of a better word, like a star to me, because I’d see him once in a while. After work, he’d come home and we had a thing about playing snakes and ladders, so that’s one of the fondest memories. Mahesh: I’m not a textbook dad. I mean by the prescribed culture... I’m a disaster by those standards. I have not lived by the diktats of what is called culture. Even when I was physically perhaps not there, all my kids were always a part of my inner sky.
Alia, your father has made some amazing films. Have you ever felt any pressure of comparison?
Alia: I was always aware that the comparison was going to happen. Student of the Year was a glamorous film, and I knew there’d be many people who’d be questioning whether ‘she has that kind of depth that Mahesh Bhatt has’. I don’t. I don’t have the kind of depth that he has, because he has too much of it. I knew that I’d eventually be happy.
When are you working together?
Mahesh: I don’t look at life as a journey where fathers and children must work together to run an enterprise. I think there’s no pressure on me or Alia to ever bow down to the needs of the market place.
Alia, what’s the best thing about your dad?
Alia: The best thing is, he just never says no to me. Mahesh: I see the hunger in her to outperform her own best work. She doesn’t want the loaf but the entire bakery.
I wish that fathers would listen to their daughters in particular, because life is talking to them through their children MAHESH BHATT, FILMMAKER
Irrfan with younger son Ayan