Sanya Malhotra says she didn’t like her work in Dangal, Badhaai Ho: ‘Only Pataakha was when I said theek kiya hai’
Success comes from curiosity, concentration, perseverance and self criticism. Albert Einstein’s quote seems to ring well with Sanya Malhotra, who is in an exploratory phase in her film career, making careful choices, working hard on her characters and also being a tough critic of her own work.
For the actor, going from essaying a bold wrestler in Dangal (2016) to playing a demure girl in Photograph — the second film she shot — was a plus as she was on the lookout for a role where she could just act. But whether it has led to an image change for her in the industry is not something she really thinks about.
Sanya says, “I am so self-critical. I beat myself up the moment I do something wrong... So, I don’t give anyone else a chance. I don’t like my work. I didn’t like my work in Dangal, and then in Photograph, I was cribbing. Pataakha (2018) was the only one where I said ‘Okay, theek kiya hai’. Badhaai Ho (2018), I wasn’t happy with my work at all. So, before anyone comes up and tells me this wasn’t right, I know it. I need to stop doing that because I can be very harsh on myself.”
What also keeps her on her toes is curiosity, as she admits she wants to do everything. “Till now I haven’t figured out what type of characters or films I want to do... After 10-15 films maybe, I’m able to decide what I like or want. But for now, I want to work with everyone and I’m glad I’m working with such amazing directors,” says the actor, who has been directed by the likes of Nitesh Tiwari, Vishal Bhardwaj and Ritesh Batra.
She is also working with Anurag Basu in a new film, which she is tight-lipped about, but shares “it’s a dream come true” for her to collaborate with a director who she says is a “magician on set”.
That apart, Sanya will be seen sharing screen space with Vidya Balan in a biopic on a mathematics genius. She recently wrapped up a schedule for this in London, where she also interacted with some students of Oxford University. “The schedule was amazing, just the weather was a little tricky. It’s too soon to say anything about the film because we have a lot of shoot left in Mumbai, but I had so much fun with Vidya. I’m a huge Vidya Balan fan, and it is surreal that I am working with my favourite actor.”
Sanya has two films lined up – the Anurag Basu directorial alongside Aditya Roy Kapur and the Vidya Balan-starrer Shukantala Devi. The actor will be seen in different avatars in both her upcoming projects. For someone who has usually thoroughly prepared for her characters, her experience while shooting for the Anurag Basu directorial was rather different. It was all about being “spontaneous”. “I really like this process as you have no idea where you are going with your character, or what scene you are going to shoot (on a particular day). It was wonderful for me because I love improvising with sir. This way in every scene we attempt something new and interesting. He gave me this advice ki kuch prep karke mat aana because I love prepping. He told me not to do any rehearsals, and to just come to the sets. He is amazing at his job,” says the Badhaai Ho actor.
Moreover, the actor is equally excited about her role in Shakuntala Devi. Sanya, who plays Vidya Balan’s daughter in the film, is also seen sporting a completely different look in the film. “I did a lot of readings for this one. Actually what also helped me is the look of the character. For this film, I developed a backstory,” says Sanya adding that usually she likes to develop a backstory for all her characters and make new additions to her role. “This process really helps in portraying these characters better on screen, although of course, the requirements vary for every project,” the actor concludes.
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