It has taken Alia Bhatt just four years to climb to the top of Bollywood, and starlets in the industry are watching the 23-year-old’s ascent to stardom with hopes of being next in line.
Bhatt made her debut in Karan Johar's 2012 romance Student of the Year. She was just 17. Fewer than 10 films later, she is already the darling of Indian media and has a sizeable fan base that's eagerly awaiting the release of Kapoor & Sons.
In 2014, Bhatt starred in three critically acclaimed films that established her as a rising star. Her portrayal of a teenage girl who develops Stockholm syndrome in Imtiaz Ali's Highway won her the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress. The sensitively shot Two States, about a couple from diametrically different communities that was based on the book by best-selling Indian writer Chetan Bhagat, struck gold at the box office. The third film, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya, was an offbeat romantic comedy that was marketed as a tribute to India's all-time favourite romantic drama Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge, and was well-received.
Her single flop was the 2015 romantic comedy Shaandaar, in which she was cast alongside Shahid Kapoor – they played a couple of insomniacs who fall in love during a destination wedding.
Bhatt comes from film royalty. She is the daughter of director Mahesh Bhatt and actress Soni Razdan. Actor Emraan Hashmi and director Mohit Suri are her paternal uncles, while producer Mukesh Bhatt is also an uncle.
The media love her, too, for her carefully cultivated image of a happy-go-lucky girl. Like her dad, she is voluble and active on social media, and, perhaps taking after him, likes to express herself without inhibition.
"We talk very loudly, we are expressive and opinionated," she told The Indian Express recently. "If we are having a conversation, it will go through many tones. The conversation goes up and down and so, in that sense, we are completely schizophrenic. But at the same time we are very supportive about each other and passionate, too."
Apart from her acting career, Bhatt has also emerged as a style icon and launched her own line of clothing on the Indian fashion portal jabong.com, which she describes as "very simple" and "very me". She can also sing and features on the tracks in two of her films, Highway and Humpty Sharma Ki Dukhaniya.
• Kapoor & Sons opens on Thursday, March 17