A well-known star in Hindi cinema for more than a decade with an impressive 79 million followers on Instagram, she had expressed her interest in appearing in an English-language film, but no suitable opportunities had arisen.
Then, Bhatt learned about a new action series led and produced by Gal Gadot. Within a week of reading the script, she finalized the deal, believing that it was meant to be.
“Your first film chooses you,” Bhatt explained in an interview with The Associated Press. “Technically, this is my first English-language movie. It chose me, and I’m thrilled that it did.”
“Heart of Stone,” a global spy thriller co-starring Gal Gadot and Jamie Dornan, premieres worldwide on Netflix this Friday.
Bhatt portrays the role of a tech prodigy named Keya, a character that’s difficult to describe without giving away the intricate plot, yet it plays a pivotal role in the story.
Although Bhatt was accustomed to leading roles in India, she was content with taking on a more supporting part as long as it held substance.
When reading the script, she wanted to ensure that her character wasn’t merely filling a “South Asian” quota but was integral to the storyline and its impact.
“I evaluate it based on whether the film can still stand without the character. If the character is not essential, then it’s not significant,” Bhatt emphasized.
Above all, she was excited to play second fiddle to a woman who was also involved in production. Director Tom Harper praised Bhatt as a “formidable talent” and highlighted the dynamic between Keya and Gal Gadot’s character, Rachel Stone, as the film’s most exciting aspect.
“Their chemistry is fantastic, and there’s genuine electricity between them,” Harper commented. “Some of my favorite moments in the movie are when they bounce off each other and engage in banter.”
Bhatt noticed the striking similarity between Hollywood sets and the ones she had spent a decade on in India, with the main difference being the working hours.
While the days were shorter on “Heart of Stone,” the breaks were also shorter. In India, she noted, there was an hour-long lunch break, followed by a 30-minute snack break, and work would continue until later in the evening.
During the shoot, Bhatt was also pregnant. She was amused to see certain actions attributed to her character in the finished film (with the assistance of stunt doubles and digital effects).
She chuckled, saying, “I did that? It’s hard to believe, but it seems like I did.”
The release of “Heart of Stone” marks the culmination of a remarkable year for the 30-year-old actress. In addition to her Hollywood debut, she became a mother, attended her first Met Gala, and was appointed the first Indian house ambassador for the luxury brand Gucci.
She played a small role in the Telugu-language action epic “RRR,” which achieved international acclaim. Furthermore, she has been establishing herself as a producer. Her debut production, “Darlings,” was also a Netflix project. The experience was a mix of challenges, fears, and rewards.
Bhatt comes from a family deeply rooted in Bollywood. Her father, Mahesh Bhatt, is a renowned filmmaker, and her mother, Soni Razdan, is a former actress. Her cinematic journey began with her debut in Karan Johar’s teen drama “Student of the Year” in 2012. She received praise for her role as a kidnapping victim in the drama “Highway” (2014), and last year she married fellow Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor.
“My parents have always been cautious with their words of encouragement. … Growing up in a family that has witnessed the highs, lows, and everything in between helps,” she shared.
“At the end of the day, my dad always says, you can’t be the first member of your own fan club. So, try to keep a certain distance from it all.”
She doesn’t have a grand plan for her Hollywood future and isn’t considering relocating to the U.S., unlike her friend Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
Bhatt expressed admiration for Chopra’s bold move and unique path. She called Chopra an inspiration for every Indian girl with the ambition to become a global icon and star.
“I don’t think I could do that. I want to continue making movies in India. And I’d like to have these occasional, amazing international opportunities.”
“I’m still figuring things out,” she added. “This is just one film, and we’ll see where it goes from here.”