Immediately after seeing her performance in Imtiaz Ali's Highway Shabana Azmi rushed to the Bhatts' residence to congratulate the parents and their daughter for the extraordinary performance.
The 5-times National award winning actress, acknowledged by many cineastes as among India's finest talent ever, sees Alia as the true inheritor of her talent. Interestingly Alia's father Mahesh Bhatt has compared Alia's performance in Highway to Shabana's sterling career-defining performance in Arth.
Shabana who won a National award for her performance in Arth, agrees with Mahesh Bhatt's assessment.
Shabana takes no offence to Alia's father comparing his 2-film old daughter to the high-priestess of histrionics. "Mahesh doesn't say this lightly and he doesn't say it because Alia is his daughter. He compares Alia's performance to mine because he genuinely believes that the girl has achieved an exceptional level of performing prowess so early in her career. And Mahesh is right."
Shabana feels Alia has got where Shabana did in Arth in no time at all. "Alia's achievement is all the more laudable because I did Arth after 9 years of facing the camera. Alia has done it in her second film. That's amazing! Alia took me completely by surprise. She possesses both vulnerability and insouciance."
In fact Alia's protective step-sister Pooja Bhatt is planning a film with her baby-sister.
Says Pooja, "If Student Of The Year launched Alia as a young star, Highway has launched her as an actor. I am so soooo proud of her and I shall remain ever-grateful to Imtiaz."