After Dangal, Sanya Malhotra is all set to impress the audience with her act as Chutki in Vishal Bhardwaj directorial Pataakha. This is her second Bollywood outing. In this exclusive conversation with indianexpress.com, the actor speaks about her journey, Pataakha and more.
Here are the excerpts:
Q. Your last film Dangal was physically taxing. With Pataakha, what was the level of difficulty?
I would say Pataakha was both physically and mentally challenging for me. I could relate to Babita on an emotional level or Miloni in Photograph or Renne in Badhai Ho. But this one was something I could not emotionally connect to. I could eventually do that. When I heard the narration of my character, I was so excited but I had a doubt if I could pull it off or not because internally I could relate to her but externally I am not at all like her.
I have an elder sister and I do fight with her a lot. While growing up I had a similar relationship with my sister where I used to hate her. But when I grew up, obviously things changed. Now, I am very close to her. Now, I am a different person. I am very introvert and shy but Chutki, my Patakha character, is very aggressive and out there. So, I think it was challenging more emotionally than physically.
Q. Vishal Bharadwaj is a director known to test his actors through the characters. When you first heard the script, were you ready to take on the challenge?
I think he is really nice and sweet to work with. It wasn’t a test but he gave us a lot of freedom as actors. We were free to question the script and offer suggestions. We did a lot of workshops and readings before going on the sets. I was very nervous because I am a huge Vishal Bharadwaj fan. I remember when we started working, I was really confused about my character. So, I decided on the third day I would speak to sir about it. So, I slept with the thought that I have to talk to him. So, I dreamt about it. I dreamt that I asked him if I’m doing fine and he screamed at me that I shouldn’t be asking such stupid questions. I got very scared. Next day, I had thought about speaking but I was scared so I didn’t make that move. A week went by. Finally, I told him the dream and told him that I am scared of him. From then on, whenever I would ask him suggestions or give him an idea, he would tease me saying, ‘don’t ask me silly questions, Sanya.’
He is a lovely person to work with. I’m so glad that being an actor, it’s my fourth film, though technically second, I have learned a lot from him about acting. I’m glad to have worked with him.
Watch Pataakha trailer:
Q. What was the most difficult part of being Chutki?
The body language for sure. As I said, I could be there psychologically. I remember we did workshops with Atul Mongia. Atul is considered to be a psychiatrist of actors. And he is indeed one. That man helped me a lot. He pulled Sanya out of me to play this character. As an actor, I have grown a lot because of Chutki. One major block I had while playing other characters was how do you use your body and hand. In this film, whatever notions and hesitations I had as an actor, all of them have drifted away. I will definitely use these lessons in future too.
Q. Your next is a comedy. Is it intentional to experiment with different scripts?
I think post Dangal, I wanted to take my own time. Since I am new to acting, I wanted to go slow in whatever I choose. I’m not in a rush to be somebody or be somewhere.
The characters and films coming to me are coming to me very naturally. I haven’t made extra efforts for it. I am really glad this happened. I didn’t ever think that I will be doing three films in a year. So, everything is taking shape naturally. Everything that came my way, it’s with good directors. I wanted to work with Ritesh Batra and I got to work with him in Photograph starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and then I wished to work with Ayushmann Khurrana which is happening with Badhaai Ho. When Vishal Bharadwaj came with Pataakha, I couldn’t say no.
I was shooting for Photograph when Amit’s phone came for Badhaai Ho. It is an amazing script. So, it was an instant yes. The script is so well written. I was so excited and I would keep asking when this film will start.
Q. What are your expectations from Badhaai Ho?
I am one hundred percent confident that this film will work and the audience will love it.
Watch Badhaai Ho trailer:
Q. How was it working with such a talented ensemble cast in the film?
I feel Bollywood is changing. Our films are changing. Earlier, we used to have films where there was a hero and heroine with supporting characters who were forgotten. Now, supporting characters have become very important for a film’s story. Their performances are actually supporting the main lead, which is beautiful. I really enjoy working in films where characters and performances stand out despite lead or not. I also enjoy watching such films as an audience.
Q. How excited are you for Fatima Sana Shaikh and Aamir Khan’s Thugs of Hindostan?
Obviously, I am excited. I have seen the first look. She’s a friend, I saw it long before. I am really happy and excited. We started our journey together. So, whenever I see her doing something, it feels amazing. I feel proud.