Acutely aware of the ephemeral nature of showbiz, Alia Bhatt would rather spend time with family ­ and that includes her cats and dogs
Shikha Shah (TIMES LIFE; August 6, 2017)

Do you think stars are losing their sheen because of social media?
I look at it differently. If you are living in Mumbai and going to Iceland for a holiday, you can't be wearing the same clothes you wear in Mumbai. You need to adapt to the weather in Iceland and dress accordingly. Social media is the current weather; and you've got to get used to it.

How tough is it to stay at the top of your game?
It's a requirement to survive anywhere. I learnt very early on in my life that change is the only constant. I am not going to hold on to anything in life, which includes being at the top of my game. It's not going to last forever. There'll always be someone out there better than you. The best thing is to do as your heart says and not play games by planning, or even plotting, things. When you put too much thought into anything, it loses its charm.

How do you choose roles?
It's purely based on instinct. I am a very moody person. If I wake up and decide to be funny, I will do something funny. If I feel like being serious, I'll do something serious. I don't give it much thought.

The scope for 35+ women in Bollywood has always been bad. Is there anything you'd like to do in that regard?
I think things are very different now. Age is just a number. Content is king and a good actor will always have good work; because there is scope and space for different characters. Look at Sridevi... she's doing select films but they all do well simply because she's a fabulous actor.

Considering actors are always under public scrutiny, how do you handle days when you feel down and out but have to put on an act?
I'm a very transparent person. The only time when I am acting is when I am in front of the camera. I try and be myself when I am off the camera. The only thing I won't ever do is take out my anger on someone else. Whenever I am low, I share my feelings with my team and people around me. They are like family and make me feel better. Also, when I'm on the sets, it's very hard for me to be upset.

How was it growing up in a household where people have strong opinions, like your dad, your elder sister...?
You land up with an equally strong opinion. Well, I think my family is the reason I am so independent and free today. They are very liberal and that has helped me look at the world through a different lens. It has broadened my perspective towards life... because both of them have such different ways of looking at life.

Who is your go-to person for any kind of advice?
Ayan (Mukerji) and Abhishek (Varman) are my best friends. They are always there to guide me. Another person I really trust is Karan (Johar). He knows me inside out and his advice is always very balanced.

What do you think of when you think about home?
My bed, my cat, and my sister.

Tell us about your adopted cat Sheeba...
Sheeba was found by my sister. She came with another kitten. We managed to find him a home but we couldn't find one for Sheeba. Gradually, we got attached to her and didn't want to give her away. So now, we have three cats and three adopted dogs. Most people end up adopting puppies, but one can also adopt an adult dog.

How do you bond with your pets?
My pets mean the world to me. Spending time with pets is like spending time with family. It comes very naturally. You go back home after a long day and you want to sit with them and play with them. My cat, Edward, sleeps with me. Cats are extremely affectionate; they rub against you, they purr, they come and sit in your lap. They are talkative! I can have long conversations with my cats. As I've said before, my therapist has fur and four legs.

Tell us about the new pad you are sharing with Shaheen (sister)...
It's like we are right out of a TV show! We have a beautiful home and we feel grateful for it every day. We thought we would be unwinding and partying every night when we were about to move in, but it's quite the opposite. We've become more responsible and relaxed, and all we like to do is sit, chat, drink tea and watch TV shows and movies when we are home.

Are you comfortable with handling all the tasks that come with living independently?
Yes, I am. That's a part of growing up. My finances are still managed by my mom and that won't change, but looking after the house - and other little things that make your house a home - is honestly, very therapeutic.