Sanya Malhotra has learnt to protect her mental health: I manage to draw a line between real and reel now
A little over five years into the film industry, actor Sanya Malhotra has finally learnt to separate the real and the reel. Talking about how some characters and their gruelling journeys took a toll on her, she tells us, “I don’t want to sound like a sadist but I was the kind of actor who would treat their emotions, especially pain as her own, so as to deliver a believable performance. When I play a character for a long time, I start thinking, talking and behaving like them.”
While she acknowledges the need to detach the real from the reel, the 30-year-old says that it won’t stop her from empathising with her characters. “I need to understand where they’re coming from. My character in Love Hostel was emotionally overwhelming but I took that up as a challenge and motivated myself to do my best. I feel that brings out the best in me. As an actor, that’s what is emotionally and mentally satisfying for me,” she elaborates.
But this experience was so overwhelming that it nudged Malhotra to speak to her therapist about it: “During the shoot, I remember not being able to sleep at night and feeling uneasy all day. In fact, I remember breaking down on the sets of the film one day. That’s when I spoke to my therapist.”
The Meenakshi Sundareshwar (2021) actor believes that the idea is to keep herself surrounded with herself with a strong support system so as to keep her mental health in place. “As actors, we’ve to do some roles that are grey, and that’s the exciting part of our job. And when you’re surrounded with the right kind of people, it gives you the boost to take on any challenging part. While I’m very thorough with my research and homework, I make sure to draw that line between reel and real now,” she ends.