Alia Bhatt, who was like a breath of fresh air in "Highway", shot in picturesque locations across the country, says she hoped to make an impact as Veera, but the unprecedented praise for Imtiaz Ali directed road movie has surpassed her expectations.
"It hasn't sunk in, really. But I am overwhelmed...And I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope to make an impact. But this is beyond anything I hoped. 'Highway' is not an ordinary experience for me," said Alia who teamed up with Randeep Hooda in the movie.
The film, released on Valentine's Day, has managed to gross over Rs.15 crore the first four days.
Q. The praise for "Highway" is unprecedented. Someone like Javed Akhtar has compared your performance to Nargis in "Mother India"... Shabana Azmi in "Arth".
A. It hasn't sunk in, really. But I am overwhelmed. I worked really hard on 'Highway'. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope to make an impact. But this is beyond anything I hoped. 'Highway' is not an ordinary experience for me.
Q. In your second film, you've evolved more than other actors do after 10 to 15 films.
A. That's good to hear. But I've a long way to go. And Imtiaz worked out the character for me down to all the details.
Q. Have you read the reviews of "Highway" and what they have to say about you?
A. Not reviews. But the comments on Twitter and the messages that I get are quite something. I am open to both praise and criticism. I've just started out. I can't be expected to do everything right.
Q. Yes, this is your second film. Where did you discover this volcano of feelings within yourself?
A. I didn't know that they existed in me. Credit must go to my director Imtiaz Ali for helping me find this reserve of emotions within me. Actually even in school, I was a bit of a brooder and dreamer. I had lots of friends. But I liked spending time alone. And I've always felt that emptiness which my character feels. Like my character Veera, I feel something vital is missing in my life.
There was always that hankering within me. While shooting in these far-off areas, communication with the outside world was almost nil. So I had time to connect with new emotions within me that I projected into my character.
Q. A lot of the acting was in response to the landscape that was presented to you?
A. I think it was that way for all of us. It wasn't as if we didn't know what we were doing and just kept improvising. We knew exactly where we were going in the narration. But we took unexpected turns and stopovers that surprised us all.
Q. How will you live up to the expectations that you have raised with "Highway"?
A. See, for me every character would be an opportunity to explore new emotions. So I'll try to live up to expectations each time. To be honest, I don't know how good I am in "Highway". So I don't know how good I'll be in my next film "2 States". All I can do is follow my directors vision every time and try to be true to the characters I play. I may not give a hundred percent to every moment of the characters I play. But yes, 40 percent of myself will be there always for sure.
Q. And what if you fail?
A. There would be times when I fumble and fall. I am okay with that.
Q. Do you feel a change within you since your first film?
A: I think I will always be the Alia who did her first shot for "Student of the Year". I have to believe I have a lot to achieve. That's the only way I can grow. I want to do all the best roles I can get. Become the top-most actress maybe. Buy myself a house...But the person within me must remain the same. I don't want people to say I've changed with success.