Is Alia Bhatt Attempting to Take on Hollywood?

Alia Bhatt is already a huge star in Indian cinema at the age of 30. She is one of the most talked about names in the country. Bhatt made her Hollywood debut last year. Suddenly, she was brought to the world's attention.

Alia is backing a new drama about wildlife crimes right now. In an interview with BBC News, she said, “The people have the power to make a difference whether they’re in this business or elsewhere”. Alia’s father Mahesh Bhatt describes himself as British. Her mother, Soni Razdan, was born in Birmingham, England. Alia Bhatt along with her husband Ranbir Kapoor are one of Bollywood’s most powerful couples. Alia answered the most googled questions about her in an interview with Wired last year, one of which was: “Is she British?” With a strong ‘yes’, Bhatt answered.

In 2023, Bhatt was the star of the romantic comedy Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, which was a huge hit at the box office. In the following weeks, she appeared in Netflix’s Heart of Stone with Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot and 50 Shades of Grey actor Jamie Dornan, which received mixed reviews. But it took Bhatt in directions that other Bollywood stars have never gone – for instance, Shah Rukh Khan, also known as the “King of Bollywood”, has never ventured into Hollywood despite having fans around the world.

Bhatt is in London to attend a preview of Poacher, the new crime drama series she is executive producing. The story of the biggest ivory smuggling ring in India is told on this show, according to real events. In 1989, a global ban on the sale of elephant tusks was introduced. But elephant poaching is still a major problem globally, fueled by demand for ivory in parts of the world where it is seen as a luxury status symbol.

More than 40 elephants a day are killed for their tusks, according to a 2020 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Bhatt, who is an animal lover, was asked to get involved in the series by its director Richie Mehta.”He showed me a couple of episodes, and I wanted more,” she says. “I am simply a lover of cinema and of content in general, which has the power to affect and move you emotionally and physically.”

In Poacher’s opening scene, an elephant is shot dead, killed for its tusks. It’s “horrifying” to look at it, Bhatt says. “But it should be upsetting, that’s when the stakes become high.” Richie Mehta, winner of the Emmy Award for directing, adds that this is an international problem and affects the United Kingdom too. “If you pass through Heathrow Airport, when you’re waiting at customs, you see signs of what they’ve seized, the contraband they’ve seized. And it’s huge. It happens all the time,” he’s saying.

Bhatt, who has made a career out of playing various troubled women – from a sex worker to a kidnapping victim – is keen to stress things are changing when it comes to representation in Bollywood. She points to Poacher, which has a female protagonist, a forest officer called Mala Jogi, at the heart of its story. In real life, Mala played by Nimisha Sajayan doesn’t exist; however, when Mehta was writing the series, he added her to it. “So, Nimisha’s at the heart of this show as Mala Jogi and she is utterly amazing, heroic,” Bhatt explains, “and you see a woman doing everything that men do. When it comes to herself, Bhatt has often been called a pioneer in the field of up-and-coming young women from Bollywood as well. “I would like to lead by example,” she says, “and be led by example, like we have been in this case.”

Also Read : Poacher Review: Magnificence & Cruelty