Mahesh Bhatt wished his lil’ girl a day before her 24th birthday to beat everybody at the draw and yesterday was busy redirecting gifts and bouquets to her bachelorette pad
Natasha Coutinho (MUMBAI MIRROR; March 16, 2017)

Alia Bhatt turned 24 on Wednesday with a quiet celebration at her bachelorette pad. The actress, who had been living with dad Mahesh Bhatt and mum Soni Razdan, moved into her own apartment last year with sister Shaheen and her doting dad says he’s happy to send all the gifts and bouquets arriving at his door for her to Alia’s new home.

“I’m happy to play the traffic cop and redirect all the gifts and flowers which have been descending all day in Soni’s and my space and ask them to take them to the lady’s house across the street. Her mom and me are mighty pleased to be in her new house and bring in her birthday with her,” says Bhatt, recalling the baby who’d entered the world at 4 am, 24 years ago today, is one of Bollywood’s bright young stars.

Bhatt smiles as he remembers his friend, philosopher and guide, U G Krishnamurti, telling him, “This lil’ girl of yours will be a star one day.” Alia was barely nine at the time and it seemed like the kind of a statement to pep up a youngster. “He saw in her the potential that we as parents don’t see in our little ones,” admits Bhatt.

The past year has brought Alia awards and accolades galore for her performances in Abhishek Chaubey’s dark drug drama, Udta Punjab, and Gauri Shinde’s coming-of-age story, Dear Zindagi. Bhatt is proud that his daughter remains grounded thanks to her mother and her upbringing.

“The family is very supportive and Alia is lucky to be in a space where everybody celebrates her achievements. She is constantly given a reality check and made to look at the achievements of other actors and performers to keep her hunger alive. Fortunately, she’s not a person who is easily satiated by what she has achieved,” asserts the admiring father, who on the eve of her birthday sent her a quote from the Psalm Ode, stating, ‘Teach your tongue to say I do not know, and you will progress’, insisting that once people start believing that they know everything there is to know, it makes them rowdy.

Bhatt wanted to be the first one to wish his baby so the day before, he walked up to her house at around 7 pm. “She was surprised. She reminded me that her birthday was the next day and I told her I wanted to beat everybody at the draw. I wished her again on Wednesday morning. The rest of the day is always planned by her mother who is very particular about celebrating birthdays. I’m just informed and toe the line,” he laughs.

He nostalgically says they all have a collage of memories of her birthdays which melt into each other. “Before I could blink my eye, my lil’ girl is a shining star in the sky. I was awestruck when I first laid my eyes on her in the early hours of the morning. I’m still awestruck when I see her going from strength to strength, doing things which are beyond my imagination. My wonderful baby has always had this ability to astound me and keep marvelling at this gift of life,” he says emotionally.

While he is happy to cater to all his daughter’s demands, Bhatt who has given up direction, says he has no plans to return with a film for Alia. “She knows that page has turned. She is doing brilliant work and there are brilliant filmmakers and writers around to contribute to her evolution as an actor. I can hopefully put together a project in my company for her but Mahesh Bhatt, the director, bloomed and then crumbled into dust. I don’t believe in reincarnation,” he signs off.