To prepare for her look and diction in the pre-Partition drama Kalank, actor Alia Bhatt turned to classic films such as Mughal-E-Azam, Umrao Jaan and hit Pakistani drama Zindagi Gulzar Hai.
Alia said her director, Abhishek Varman told her to watch the show, which featured her Kapoor & Sonsco-star Fawad Khan and Sanam Saeed.
“I watched a lot of old films like ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ and ‘Umrao Jaan’ to get an understanding of grace and body language. (And) I had to clean my Hindi as I am speaking Urdu (in the film). Abhishek asked me to watch ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hai’. The character of the girl in the show is very much how Roop will deal with the situation.
“She has responsibility on her shoulders so she is not always a happy person. She is vulnerable yet strong. It is difficult (to bring so many) layers – unhappy, vulnerable and strong to a character. Abhishek kept saying that I should not be irritating,” Alia told PTI in an interview.
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Alia first heard the story of Kalank from Karan Johar while she was promoting her debut film, Student of the Year in 2012. “He had mentioned about the story in passing when we were promoting ‘Student of the Year’. But the story was different at that time.”
“Later, I heard it from Abhishek and he said he was adapting the film in his own way. After many months, I realised Abhishek had written this role keeping me in mind. The process of this film coming to me was very organic,” she said.
The film has an ensemble cast that also includes Varun Dhawan, Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditya Roy Kapur and Kunal Kemmu.
Alia said working on a multistarrer like Kalank was a learning experience for her.
“I was excited to be a part of this film as I (thought I) would get an opportunity to work with so many different actors and I would pick something up from everybody.
“I used to chat with Sanju sir and talk about my dad (Mahesh Bhatt) and with Madhuri ma’am about diet. With Sonakshi, we used to talk about random things and Aditya was very quiet initially. He opened up later.”
The film is set to be released on April 17.