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When you enter Alia Bhatt’s tastefully done up Juhu abode, you can’t help but notice pristine white walls, a well-stocked book shelf and her apparent love for cats. While one of the walls is adorned with a cat’s poster – along with a MEOW printed on it, her books collection has multiple ‘cat books’ including Matthew Inman’s How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You. “I love cats. And I am a cat-like person as well. I feel, from my heart, I am a cat myself (laughs),” says the actor, whose pet cat, Edward, is a celebrity in himself (he has a Twitter account as well). “He is the apple of my eye,” says Alia, who has biggies like Brahmastra, Kalank and Zoya Akhtar’s next coming up this year.

Well, Alia may call herself a cat but in her six-year-long career, she has displayed more of a tigress-like hunger and ferocity for quality films and remarkable performances. Last year, she delivered a ?100-crore blockbuster in the form of Raazi, and in 2019, she has an enviable line-up. But she isn’t ready to rest on her laurels just yet. “I am constantly looking for [good] films. This year, I’ll be working on only two films (Takht and Sadak 2), so I can do one more,” says the actor, who also made headlines last year about her relationship with Ranbir Kapoor.

Alia Bhatt at the wedding ceremony of industrialist Mukesh Ambani's daughter Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal at Antilia in Mumbai on December 12, 2018. (IANS)

The buzz around Raazi continues even now. How does it feel?

I am very happy. It was sort of a risky/ different/important decision of my life. Also, I went on an extremely emotional journey with Raazi. So, when it’s counted amongst the most loved films of the year, or one of the films that kicked off a change of some kind, and a ‘smaller’ film that did big numbers, I feel thrilled. It was a huge team effort and we all worked extremely hard on it. There is no better feeling than people coming up with that kind of appreciation. Also, as an actor, it makes you believe in your choices. Honestly, I always had a gut feeling that Raazi could be one of those films, which does big numbers, but I didn’t want to say it out aloud. But when it actually happened, it gave me a lot of confidence, and I was content about my decision to do the film.

Looking at your loaded line-up and the stage of career that you are in, 2019 looks like a very important year for you.

Yes, it surely is. It’s the first time that I am doing many things. It’s the first time I’ve worked with Zoya Akhtar, which is a big deal for me. Also, it’s the first time that I’ve done a film like Kalank, which is a period epic drama through which I am entering this world of dance, costumes and layered acting which I have never tapped into before. It’s a very different world. Then, Brahmastra is a supernatural world. It may be set in the present but the world is very new. So, I will have a lot of firsts in 2019, as there are no templates for any of my films. For that reason, I’ve already started to get nervous. All my films are like ‘good difficult’ but it has to turn out well at the end of the day.

Do you feel a bit of pressure with the expectations that people and the trade world has from you?

People may not believe it but I am very interested and tuned into the trade aspect of films. It’s like the mathematics of film-making. So, you may understand the creative part but the business is what matters ultimately. At the same time, I am not delusional and have my own expectations from films. I am also aware that trade world also has certain expectations in general, but I am sure even the trade will understand what the capabilities are of a type A or a type B film. Interestingly, now, we have reached a point where films kind of speak for themselves. For Raazi, I had expected that it should make ?80 crore but it came as a pleasant surprise when it ended up making ?120 crore. That way, I keep very modest expectations.

There has been a lot of talk about your relationship with Ranbir Kapoor. Are you immune to such things now?

Yes, there was too much [focus] on the personal life, and honestly, I have never had my personal life getting spoken about so much. Earlier, these talks were very upar upar se but this year, it suddenly became all about that. Such talks don’t bother me, but I don’t like talking about it is because somehow, it then diverts all the attention, and that’s what it all becomes about. It’s not as if a relationship is an achievement. It is just a part – and a very important part – of my life. It’s seamless as well as beautiful, and should be celebrated when it has to be. Right now, it should just be left on its own and kind of kept in a corner where it can stay safe and warm. You can say that it’s like a cat in my life that I want to protect, and it’s not ready to come on social media the way Edward has.

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First Published: Jan 02, 2019 09:11 IST

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