It was back in 2012 that a 19-year-old Alia Bhatt made her Bollywood debut, and in just eight years, the star has grown to become a household name. After grabbing the world’s attention as the sprightly Shanaya Singhania in Karan Johar’s Student of the Year, the actor moved on to play an interesting mix of characters, each with a distinct identity.

Alia Bhatt

Her work in some of her most memorable movies has bagged her several accolades, including four Filmfare Awards, and by the looks of it, Bhatt’s future projects promise to be just as exciting as her past. Before fans get to watch the now-27-year-old transform into one of Mumbai underworld’s most dreaded women in Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Gangubai, we’re taking you through a list of some of the star’s most impactful projects. If you haven’t checked them out yet, now may be a good time to catch up!

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Highway (2014)

Imtiaz Ali’s Highway, one could say, proved to be a turning point in Bhatt’s career—she was no longer the new kid on the block. Having just one film under her belt at the time, the then 20-year-old surprised fans and critics by delivering a nuanced and raw performance. In the film, Bhatt portrays the role of Veera Tripathi, who suffers from Stockholm Syndrome, and forms a bond with her kidnapper, Mahavir Bhati (Randeep Hooda). Her heart-wrenching performance in the movie also won her her first Filmfare Award for Best Actor (Female) in Critics’ Choice.

Udta Punjab (2014)

Udta Punjab, a film that spoke about the prevalence of drug abuse in the underbelly of Punjab, saw Bhatt play a small, yet impactful role. According to reports, the actor prepped for the role of Bihari hockey player turned farm laborer who gets sucked into the world of drugs by throwing away her smartphone. Her portrayal of the illegal migrant is considered to be one of her most fierce, and the movie remains a treasure in her repertoire.

2 States (2014)

Cheerful, romantic and visually beautiful, 2 States was much more than a sweet love story inspired by true events. As Ananya Swaminathan, a South Indian girl who falls in love with Krish, a Punjabi boy, Alia Bhatt gave her fans a character who was as relatable as she was inspiring—a modern woman who fights the odds for her love, but stays true to her roots.

Dear Zindagi (2016)

Sharing screen space with Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan for the very first time, Alia Bhatt gave one of her finest, most honest performances with Dear Zindagi, which chronicled the life journey of a young woman trying to balance her career with her emotions, eventually finding a new perspective on life with help from her therapist. Dear Zindagi urges watches to love their imperfect, messy and often flawed lives.

Raazi (2018)

Raazi, a thriller inspired by the novel Calling Sehmat, saw Alia Bhatt step into fresh territory. Most often seen as a bold, brash character in her films, Bhatt transformed into a charming, sensitive and naïve Delhi University student in the first half of the film, and then metamorphosed into a spy in her own husband’s home. Bhatt’s character captures the audience with grim determination and heroic demeanour.

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Gully Boy (2019)

India’s nomination to the 2020 OscarsGully Boy spotlighted the lives of street rappers in Mumbai, taking us on a journey through the life of Murad (played by Ranveer Singh), an exceptionally talented musician trying to find his way to fame. The perfect foil to his soft demeanor was his life-long partner, Safeena, a fighter at heart who will stop at nothing to make her relationship work. You’d be lying if her determination didn’t make you smile in this one.