Alia Bhatt: The Shahenshah of Our Generation

Pop Culture

Alia Bhatt: The Shahenshah of Our Generation

Illustration: Akshita Monga

O

n The Ringer’s Sports Movie Podcast, Chris Ryan talked about the phenomenon of inexplicable magnetism while discussing the harmless opening sequence in Moneyball. “Some movie stars possess an inexplicable magnetism, one that makes us watching them switch a radio on and off enthralling.” Ryan was talking about Brad Pitt, but my mind raced to Alia Bhatt.

There’s a scene in Kapoor & Sons where “cool, funny, party boy” Sidharth Malhotra goes down the trope of “cool, funny, vulnerable boy”. He looks at Alia Bhatt and his shoulders drop a little as he tells her how his brother, a perfect son to his parents, actually became famous by plagiarising his first novel. The scene is not particularly well-written or well-delivered by a usually decent Sidharth Malhotra, but this is before the camera shifts to Alia Bhatt. Her reaction to such a half-assed performance and a rather dumb movie trope is magnetic – hands impishly between her legs and a wide transfixed gaze interspersed with perfectly timed nods. While watching, I suddenly cared about what was transpiring on screen; in that moment her reaction to Sidharth Malhotra’s vulnerability surpassed his actual vulnerability. Alia Bhatt had stolen the scene, wrestled it away from Sidharth Malhotra with a mere gaze.

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