Bagging an Aamir Khan film is a big deal for any actor, but for a newcomer, it is a dream come true. The 24-year-old Sanya Malhotra, who played the role of Babita in her debut film, Dangal, is basking in the love she is receiving from audiences for her character. The actor says she learnt a lot while working with Aamir.
Sanaya admits to being a Kangana Ranaut fan, and was never a “Khan fan”. She says, “I became Aamir Khan’s fan after working with him. I used to like many actors. When I first met him, I thought I would be star-struck, but he was looking like Mahavir Phogat (his character in Dangal), and not how we are used to seeing him. In fact, Fatima (Sana Shaikh, co-star) and I clicked a photo with him after we began shooting. But after working with him, I have so much respect for him. I am sad that the movie is over, and I won’t be meeting him and the whole team every day. We were a huge team who became a family.”
Ask her what did she learn from Aamir after working with him on the film, and she says, “He is an institution. Just by being with him all these months, we learnt about film-making, editing, post-production and so much more. He is not only a good actor but also has knowledge about a lot of things. I have become a good human being [after working with him]. He is socially aware and does so much for people. And he doesn’t do it for publicity, but for the society.”
Sanya is currently looking forward to going on a trip with her friends, and is “enjoying being jobless and getting mobbed” till she signs her next film. She is enjoying the fact that people have begun recognising her, and says, “I feel like a star while signing autographs.”
Sanya Malhotra’s journey of becoming an actor started as a young kid as she used to be fascinated by award shows. She loved dancing, so after her graduation, she participated in the dance reality show Dance India Dance, but didn’t go beyond top 100. The Delhi girl stayed back in Mumbai to try her luck in acting. However, the path to success was a tough one. “I gave many auditions, yet I was jobless for three to four months. Finally, I got an ad and was paid Rs 5000. It felt good but the experience was bad. I did other ads and after a year, casting director Mukesh Chhabra called me for an audition,” says Sanya.
She was unaware of the project but excited that it was a big film. However, she didn’t get a call for a month and that disheartened her. Sanya recalls, “For some reason, I thought it’s a Kangana Ranaut film. I went to Delhi to surprise my mom on her birthday, and I got a call saying I have been shortlisted, and I have to meet Aamir Khan the next day.” She was shocked to see close to 100 girls “including the girl from Chachi 420” (1997; Fatima Sana Shaikh) at the meeting. The girls were paired with multiple people to see which pair worked the best. They were informed that they were selected after a month. “When I heard that I was selected, I felt there was a ‘but’ in there somewhere. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop,” says Sanya.
The wrestling and preparation was the toughest part for the young actor. Though, she didn’t have many wrestling scenes and people told her not to put in so much effort, yet she felt she should look the part. “The wrestling training was tough and our bodies used to ache a lot. It’s a contact sport, so I learnt about some muscles in my body, I didn’t know I had,” she says with a laugh. She can’t stop praising the coach who took care of them during the training, and ensured they took care of themselves.