Actress marked Mother's Day by launching a 90-kilo turtle back into the ocean before having family over for dinner
Natasha Coutinho (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 15, 2017)

Animal lover Alia Bhatt, who has three cats - Pica, Sheeba and Edward - marked Mother's Day on Sunday by visiting the Dahanu Forest Division Office, that releases animals back into nature after rescuing and treating them. The 24-year-old actress released a 90-kilo sea turtle named Queen back into the ocean with the help of Dhaval Kansara (Founder-Secretary of Wildlife Conservation and Animal Welfare Association) and veterinarian Dr Dinesh Vinherkar.

The move marked the launch of her new initiative, CoExist, which is aimed at animal welfare and tackling environmental issues. “I had been thinking about this for a while. Issues like elephants or dogs being ill-treated, stories of endangered animals like tigers being poached, have always bothered me. I've been passionate about animals ever since I was very young. My sister (Shaheen Bhatt) and I would always rescue kittens and cats, foster them for some time and find them homes or keep them with us. My idea with this initiative is a world where man lives in harmony with animals and nature,“ Alia told Mirror.

While two of her upcoming projects, Ayan Mukerji's Dragon with Ranbir Kapoor and Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boys with Ranveer Singh, are nearing kick-off, Alia maintains that she will be taking some time off from the projects to dedicate herself to the initiative. “There will be different campaigns I will be doing over time. When I was releasing Queen, Dr Dinesh noted that it was ironic since the turtle was going back to its mother (the sea) on Mother's Day. People like us need to be the voice of animals. It was a great way to kickstart my initiative because I'm a Mumbai girl who lives by the sea. If I can make a difference in any way, it will be a step in the right direction,“ Alia contends.

The actress returned to Mumbai the same day to celebrate the day with mom Soni Razdan and the rest of the family at her new house that she shares with Shaheen. “I had the entire family over for dinner after a really long time. It was a special day because Pooja and Rahul (step-siblings) were present, along with my parents, under one roof. That has not happened in a really long time,“ she signed off with a smile.