‘Yet to sink in that I’m an actor’
...says Sanya Malhotra, who made a confident debut with Dangal, and has three upcoming films in her kitty
Sanya Malhotra, who shot to fame with her debut 2016’s Dangal, says the feeling that she is an actor is yet to sink in. Today, Sanya has her hands full with three films – Ritesh Batra’s Photograph, Badhai Ho with Ayushmann Khurrana and Vishal Bharadwaj’s Churiyan.
“I am satisfied with whatever I am doing. I can’t believe I am an actor, I think it will take sometime for it to sink in. I am glad I am getting to work with brilliant directors and actors, which I had not imagined. I am enjoying each and every day of being an actor,” says Sanya, who adds she does not know if she is a natural at acting. “Acting is very new to me. With every film that I am doing, I am learning new things either about myself, or about filmmaking.”
She does not come from a film background and feels that making a mark in the industry is difficult – for both an outsider and a person with connections. Everyone has to go through their fair share of ups and downs, she asserts.
“When I came to Mumbai to audition for a dance reality show, I was in top 100. I doubted myself and did not get through. It was a lesson for me... After that day, whenever I go for auditions, I never doubt myself,” she says.
Long before Dangal, there was a period of three-four months that Sanya had no work, but the actor says her family stood by her like a rock. She kept herself busy through ad films and soon things changed when casting director Mukesh Chabra called her to audition for the hit sports drama.
Post the stupendous success of the film, in which she played the role of wrestler Babita Kumari Phogat, Sanya was flooded with offers but somehow, nothing materialised.
“After doing a film like Dangal, people would assume things are easy for me. When I had nothing (in my hand) I had my own journey. I don’t like to call it a period of struggle because I enjoyed that time as well. I learnt how to be patient, worked on my craft...A lot of good things came my way, but sometimes dates did not match and lot of things did not happen. When I pick up a script I imagine myself in the character, if it excites me, I do it. There are no second thoughts about it,” she says.
Sanya has names such as Hansal Mehta, Dangal-helmer Nitesh Tiwari and former co-star Aamir on her list of directors she wants to work with. “I would love to work with Aamir sir again if he is directing something. I hope he calls me for it (Mahabharat, reportedly Aamir’s next directorial project),” she adds.
She says is grateful to have both Nitesh and Aamir as mentors. “After Dangal, we interned for six-seven months under Aamir sir and saw he is so passionate about his films. Whatever he does he is completely into it. From Nitesh sir, I learnt that it is important not to be worried about the length of the role and be worried about what you can give to the screenplay or script with your performance,” she says.