“Mamma, I have a feeling my life is going to change.” That’s what Sanya Malhotra, who says she is self-critical to the point of being negative, told her mother ahead of the release of her film Pagglait.
And change it did. The film, which begins with death but is the life-affirming story of a woman coming into her own, felt special from day one, says Malhotra who has been receiving high praise for her performance.
It was also for the first time that Malhotra said she decided not to be too hard on herself and just enjoy the journey. “I don’t say this before every film. To be honest. I’m quite critical, and perfectionist with all the negative connotations attached to the term. This was the first time I told my mother as it all felt special from day one of the shoot,” she says.
The 29-year-old actor described her character Sandhya as an emotionally mature person who decides to take the reins of her life in her own hands while grappling with conflicting feelings after the death of her husband just five months after their arranged marriage. “This character and the script are very close to my heart,” Malhotra shared in a Zoom interview.
Sanya is a trained dancer from Delhi who moved to Mumbai in search of a career and began her innings in Bollywood with Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal in 2016. After that came a variety of roles in films such as Ritesh Batra’s Photograph, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha, Amit Sharma’s Badhaai Ho, Anu Menon’s Shakuntala Devi, and Anurag Basu’s Ludo. And Pagglait, which has been consistently in Netflix’s top 10 most-watched list in India as well as other countries since it released on March 26, has been the proverbial cherry on the cake.
The actor believes “divine will” was with them in the film. “We finished the shoot in January last year and we went into a lockdown in March. The whole of 2020 was about introspection. I realized how much I have learned from Sandhya, how she has inspired me,” she said.
Malhotra says she has picked up do’s and don’ts along the way. “I never go on set without meditating or breathing exercises. They help me anchor myself, I learned that in a workshop with Atul Mongia (acting coach) sir,” she shares.
“I am still working on detaching myself from the characters I’m playing because I’m an emotionally sensitive person and I tend to get attached to characters on an emotional level. I’m still trying that because there are days when I get into the headspace and it is very tough to come back to my core,” she adds.
As far as the future and her dreams are concerned, Malhotra hopes she continues to play varied roles and grow as an actor. “I did not want to stay in my comfort zone. It is very easy to stay there and not get out of it. I’m not professionally trained, so if I stay in my comfort zone, I won’t learn anything.”
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.