Alia Bhatt© HelloIndia

HELLO! 100 Most Influential: Alia Bhatt

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Kaveree Bamzai

Why she matters: From a bitter villain in an international Netflix film to a romantic lead in a Karan Johar drama, she’s undeniably the leading lady of cinema today. She’s also the face of global brands, batting for equity as a producer, and navigating motherhood, acing it all! Author, curator and journalist Kaveree Bamzai examines just how.

The real ‘Rani’ of Bollywood today, her husband calls her an overachiever. Indeed, at just 30, Alia Bhatt has significantly surpassed the achievements of other mere mortals of her age. Be it the Sanjay Leela Bhansali blockbuster Gangubai Kathiawadi, or the acclaimed Netflix film Darlings, she’s proved her acting chops time and again in roles as varied as they can be.

Having recently received rave reviews for her performance in Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani, she’ll next be seen playing villain opposite Gal Gadot in Netflix’s Heart of Stone. Besides her anointment as the first Indian global ambassador of Italian luxury house, Gucci — not to mention her pearl-studded debut at the Met Gala this year — Alia also received an honourable mention in Time magazine’s ‘Impact 100’ list in 2022.

“She gets it instantly. At first, I thought, ‘Where has this perfection come from? I always maintain that Highway (2014) was the film where she got to express herself best…” says friend and mentor Johar, who claims he could barely recognise her while directing her in Rocky Aur Rani…!

Quietly sidestepping nasty cracks about nepotism, Alia has gone from being ridiculed to being one of the most sought-after leading ladies in Hindi cinema today, simply for her acting prowess. With every actor’s dream director, Bhansali, casting her again for his remake of Baiju Bawra (in a role earlier played by the great Meena Kumari), Alia has raised the bar even higher. But we have little doubt she will ace it!

As a producer, she’s working towards equity in pay and performance, and as a human being, she firmly stands for transparency. Thanks to smart investments in a personal styling brand and an ecologically savvy incense-maker, her net worth is estimated at Rs 229 crore today. And, yes, in the midst of it all, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl!

Completing almost 11 years in the film fraternity, Alia has truly shown how the ‘student’ can become the master.

Cover photo credit: Rohan Shrestha

To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!