RECOGNIZING the economic impact of the pandemic on the film industry, star actor and producer Alia Bhatt told Express Adda on Monday that producers and stars are engaged in a “reassessment” over the salaries of A-listers and whether they should be balanced against the film’s budget.
Responding to a question on whether there has been any correction in the price charged by stars, particularly as part of a post-pandemic re-rating, and at a time when several Hindi films have failed at the box- office, Bhatt said: “I agree it should happen. I am not a number producer but a creative producer. But I understand that it’s the content that brings people into theaters while star and star values add layers. For that aspect, it should balance out because you’re not charging the film’s budget… But hey, I’m nobody to tell anyone what to charge, kyunki mein toh choti hun.”
She said, “In general, I’m sure all the producers think a reassessment (on star fees) needs to be done. Even the stars think so. Often an actor charges a certain amount and when the movie doesn’t do well, they don’t charge the balance. They even return the money. But we don’t do PR for that. Nobody steals from anyone.
Interact with Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, and The Indian Express film critic Shubhra Gupta, during the Adda Express, Bhatt also offered several ideas as a film industry insider.
Commenting on the failure of several big budget Hindi films at the box office, Bhatt said, “It has been a difficult year for Indian cinema in general. We should be kinder to Hindi cinema. Films from the South have performed well, but are we counting the total number of films that have performed well?… We are constantly reassessing general consumer behavior. Ultimately, it’s a business.
One of India’s finest contemporary actors, Bhatt has spoken of taking criticism in his stride. “I’m one of those people who’s been met with random hate, especially online. Beyond a certain point, you don’t care about any of that. It’s a free country, anyone can say what you want. he wants. So, I can’t say ‘Mere-ko bura lag raha hai’. Bura lag raha hai toh dessert khao (I’m upset. If so, have a dessert),” the young man said. 29 years old.
With her intimate but high-profile wedding in April to actor Ranbir Kapoor and the announcement of her pregnancy, Bhatt ushered in a new phase in her life. Professionally, she will officially become a producer with the release of Darlings, a black comedy produced by her production company Eternal Sunshine in collaboration with Red Chillies Entertainment. “Honestly, I don’t remember how it happened. I might have gotten to this point, where I’m headlining a movie, and I’m like, ‘Why not produce it?’ “, she said.
Starring Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma and Roshan Mathew, Darlings hits Netflix on August 5. Next, Bhatt will be seen sharing screen space with Ranbir Kapoor for the first time in Ayan Mukerji’s fantasy drama Brahmastra Part One: Shiva.
Highlighting the importance of good stories and engaging content, she said, “I don’t want to tell only female-centric films, I want to tell good stories…stories that mean something to the audience, that leave them lingering thoughts. ”
The actor also revealed that his production company is looking for good scripts and talented writers and directors who “don’t know how to break in”. “My effort is to find interesting content and put our power behind it,” she said.
“What Makes a Star?” Bhatt wondered. ” It’s love. There’s also a certain kind of star that’s going to make money at the box office. But that can’t happen now without content, it’s ultimately the power of content that draws audiences to cinemas. Of course, there’s a certain larger-than-life big-screen experience that you can’t replace. However, people should opt for good content that would stand the test of time. So fame comes from the content you give to people,” she said.
The actress, who made her debut with Student of the Year (2012) directed by Karan Johar, delivered powerful performances in acclaimed films such as Highway (2014), Udta Punjab (2016), Raazi (2018 ) and Gully Boy (2019).
Earlier this year, she delivered a big hit with Gangubai Kathiawadi, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Referring to that film, she said playing the titular protagonist was her “most challenging role”, adding that she didn’t go through any specific process.
“I knew I had to play it completely from the heart. Because we wanted his story to reach a wider audience, we also tried to make it entertaining. It’s very difficult,” she said, adding that she loves losing herself completely in another person’s life. “That’s the most exciting part for me of being an actor.”
Bhatt is set to make her Hollywood debut soon with Heart of Stone, alongside Jamie Dornan and Gal Gadot. “I didn’t need to put on an accent or wear patchwork ethnic clothing for the project. You have to see a whole range of characters. Everyone wants India. Look at our numbers, we have so much power,” she said.
Asked to share an acting tip based on his experience, Bhatt said, “Don’t take yourself so seriously.” Describing herself as “a little piece of the puzzle” on a film set, she said: “Let’s say I really don’t know how good I am. I like what I do.”
The Adda Express is a series of informal interactions organized by the Indian Express Group and features those at the center of change.
Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Road Transport and Highways and MSMEs Minister Nitin Gadkari, Election Strategist Prashant Kishor, Housing and Urban Affairs and Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri , and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, were among the Adda’s previous clients.