Nobody could have guessed Alia Bhatt’s dramatic range when she debuted as a spoilt schoolgirl in Karan Johar’s Student of the Year. With a gut-wrenching performance in her sophomore feature Highway, Bhatt proved that she was destined for greatness. With a stellar career including three Filmfare wins, supporting parts in record-breaking blockbusters like RRR, and even a Hollywood project for Netflix, Bhatt has firmly cemented her footing as one of modern Bollywood’s definitive heroines.
Critical acclaim with Highway, Udta Punjab and more
Feel-good rom-coms have been a staple for Alia Bhatt, as is evident from her playful turns in 2 States, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, and more. But every once in a while, Bhatt loves challenging herself with darker characters along with a social message or two. In Highway, she played a young girl who falls for her kidnapper while dealing with her childhood trauma. Dear Zindagi found her playing a clueless insomniac of a cinematographer who seeks solace in a free-spirited therapist. The movie was notable for talking about therapy at a time when mental health stigmas persisted in India.
Udta Punjab took on the titular Indian state’s drug menace with Bhatt playing a migrant labourer who is unexpectedly involved in a drug smuggling operation. Even Bhatt’s Netflix debut Darlings was a social drama, addressing the normalisation of domestic violence. But instead of relying on dark cynicism, Bhatt’s performance offered hope with Darlings turning into a satire on gender roles with the women finally getting their chance at giving misogynists a taste of their own medicine.
Hollywood debut with Heart of Stone
Joining contemporaries like Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt marked her Hollywood debut in the Netflix action thriller Heart of Stone. Featuring Gal Gadot as a secret agency operative, Heart of Stone also starred Bhatt as an antagonistic hacker who steals some covert intelligence secrets. The film polarised critics but trended on Netflix at the time of its release.
Why Gangubai Kathiawadi is Alia Bhatt’s best movie?
Two of Alia Bhatt’s greatest roles involve portraying real-life heroines: the Indian spy Sehmat Khan in Raazi and the sex worker-turned-social activist Gangubai Kothewali in Gangubai Kathiawadi. Alia Bhatt has showcased her chameleon-like dramatic prowess even in ensemble-driven movies like Udta Punjab and Gully Boy but Gangubai Kathiawadi proved how she can lead a narrative entirely on her shoulders. Driving home social messages on sexual exploitation, Bhatt took on a mainstream lead role with a nuanced sensitivity. While her debut Student of the Year allowed her to play a chirpy high-schooler effortlessly, Gangubai Kathiawadi marked a watershed moment in her career as a lead actress.
Even without Bhatt’s controlled and gritty performance, the movie has its own merits with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali proving once again his affinity for grandiose sets and his frequent cinematographer collaborator Sudeep Chatterjee turning 1960s-era Mumbai into an immersive dystopia.
Where can you stream Alia Bhatt’s filmography?
Most of Alia Bhatt’s best movies can be streamed on leading platforms like Netflix and Prime Video.