She came, she posed, she conquered.
That pretty much sums up Alia Bhatt at Berlin for the world premiere of her latest film 'Gangubai Kathiawadi'. Whether the film itself gets the same love will be known later this month but for now, it is all about the scent of a woman as the movie industry waits to see if it will get back on its feet after two years of a pandemic that allowed 24/7 OTT platforms to overtake the Friday box office.
Showbiz is a tricky business - elegant and simple aren't always cut from the same cloth. Boots in sunny Goa, a jacket that looked better on Michael Jackson, Disney princess at the Met Ball Gala - the canvas to go wrong has huge potential and has been fully exploited by so many of our celebs. But no one has been brave enough to tell them that less is more.
Sometimes you wonder what celebs would do if they were one of us - without an army of stylists and hangers-on who carry everything from their handbag to their water bottle while trying to figure out a face roller from a blusher blush! Which is why Alia Bhatt's look at Berlin is refreshing and in today's teen lingo, slays it, although I reserve my comments on the signature Gangubai namaste pose on the red carpet.
Spring is in the air and many of us are once again dreaming big while staring at post-winter body distress. It's not easy to ace white, a colour that is surreal like a blank slate that also magnifies all flaws.
Alia clearly didn't eat some gajar ka halwa this winter as she was immaculate in an attire that for me is everything beautiful. If you ask me to vote, it would be a sari, every single time. The understated elegance should appeal even to those who have dissed Deepika's latest movie as a sports bra advertisement.
To think Indians can't get it wrong in a sari or salwar kameez is like saying Kamala Harris's Indian roots made her the American Vice-President. Remember Aishwarya Rai in a neon-green sari at Cannes? Or Vidya Balan in a white-and-gold Sabyasachi lehenga with a veil covering her head?
But Alia walked the white just right and her consistent minimalistic look, interchanging between shades of white, was on point without being over the top. The white sari with the sequins was understated and sometimes, that is all it takes.
Her fusion power suit was a nod to the currently trendy blazer dresses but with a flowing bottom that kept it real. The off-shoulder Dolce Gabbana gown with a flared skirt, again in the same tones, may not make the dazzling Oscar red carpet list, but is fitting for now when it's all about getting down to business.
Alia's accessories were also apt - thankfully, there were no fur mishaps or metallic bling. But this I learnt - if you are craving freckles, nothing is impossible as her makeup showed.
Alia, Deepika and Anushka are three actors who keep it quite real whenever you see glimpses of them doing the airport rounds. They are trendy and keep it easy with street fashion, which doesn't always sync with a Bollywood that constantly thinks big. It is an art to not try too hard, or at least to be seen as not trying too hard. Alia aced it.
The actress may have won the first round, but the real work starts now. The pandemic has made us habitual OTT surfers and coercing us back to the movies may be tougher than Sanjay Leela Bhansali making another magnum opus. Bollywood and those vested in it would be watching closely to see not Alia's clothes but whether she has kickstarted a much-needed new phase.
(Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava worked with NDTV for more than a decade and now writes on a variety of topics for several news organisations. She is the author of 'Stoned, Shamed, Depressed'.)
Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.