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Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt on her mature role in the romantic comedy Badrinath Ki Dulhania

Alia Bhatt’s youth belies her immense potential and her performances exude a rare depth for a young star in Bollywood.

Come Thursday, the 23-year-old will star alongside Varun Dhawan in Badrinath Ki Dulhania (BKD), a film that marks the second instalment of a franchise that began with the 2014 romantic comedy, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (HSKD).

Directed by Shashank Khaitan and produced by Karan Johar for Dharma Productions, BKD is a romantic comedy set in rural North India.

According to Bhatt, her latest film is a breath of fresh air as it has a lot of dancing, singing, colours, fun, smile and laughter and tells the story of Badrinath Bansal (Dhawan) and Vaidehi Trivedi (Bhatt) who fall in love despite their opposing views on gender and life in general.

When asked to dissect the characters in both instalments, Bhatt obliges.”While Kavya (Bhatt in HSKD) was a younger, naive and bubbly girl ready to be married, Vaidehi (Bhatt in BKD), though a small-town girl, is way more mature, ambitious, strong headed and a feminist who wants to make a mark for herself.”

She admits that portraying a character in a romantic comedy is more challenging than a drama.

“Playing Vaidehi was not as difficult as my role in Udta Punjab [about the insurgence of substance abuse among the youth in Punjab], but each film comes with its own set of challenges. My biggest challenge is to convince my audience that I’m in love with Badrinath, if I fail to do so, the whole film falls.”

Bhatt she digs deep when she is in front of the camera.

“I don’t do method-acting, but when the camera is rolling, I try to transport myself into the character’s world.”

The actress says working with Khaitan on the set is like being at an acting workshop.

“I learned so much from him as he is an actor and a product of Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Woods International Institute [a film, communication and media-art institute located in Mumbai].”

Bhatt says the film’s locations were an eye-opening experience for her.

“We went into the heartland of the country to places such as Kota, Jhansi and Jaipur to shoot the film.” Visiting these smaller towns and cities made her realise the preconceived notions she had been living with, she adds.

“Going around these smaller cities and towns and eating at local stalls made me realise the forward-thinking approach of the people living in these places.”

BKD has all the hallmarks of a Bollywood masala film – peppy dance numbers and ear-warming love ballads, among which Humsafar is Bhatt’s favourite.”The number is composed, sung and written by Akhil Sachdeva and is a beautiful love ballad.”

Amaal Mallik, John Stewart and Tanishk Bagchi composed the music for BDK, while Kumaar, Shabbir Ahmed, Akhil Sachdeva and Badshah have written the lyrics.

The film also stars Gauhar Khan, Mohit Marwah, Shweta Basu Prasad and Girish Karnad.

Badrinath Ki Dulhania will be in cinemas on Thursday

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