Still being remembered for her ‘Dangal’ act, Sanya Malhotra  is back with a drastically different avatar in Vishal Bhardwaj’s  ‘Pataakha’. The film is quirky and so is her character. From  having this as her second film to sharing how she prepared for
the role – Sanya Malhotra gets into this candid chat with us…

Was the off-screen chemistry between RadhikaMadan and you important, to get the on-screen equation right?

When I met Radhika, I realised she is an extrovert and we knew she was ‘badki’, but I take time to mingle up with people. I had never thought, we would end up being such good friends. When we started workshops, we discovered a lot of similarities and we bonded on many things like Vishal ji’s music and much more. That really helped us to become chutki and badhki. If we didn’t have that bonding off-screen, our fights on-screen also wouldn’t look so real. Either we would have cried or sir would have cried if we didn’t bond. But I’m glad we are so close now.

Getting into this post ‘Dangal’ – how’s that been?

They are both so different from each other. As Sanya I could still relate to Babita, I can’t relate to Chhutki at all. I have also fought with my sister the way, Chhutki and Badki fight, but she’s too aggressive, loud, exaggerated. So for me, it was a different, difficult character to mould myself into Chhutki.

What was your reaction when you first heard the script?

I was laughing all through the scripts and some scenes I was laughing at, even during my audition for the film. Some things you obviously relate to, because we’ve all fought with our siblings on stupid things. I was laughing and also crying, because it’s also more than just two sisters fighting. They have an all-together different story.

How did you exactly prepare?

A lot went into preparations. Like I said, I am not like Chhutki, I had to really get myself out of Sanya and my comfort zone. We did a lot of workshops with AtulMongya and Vishal ji. We went to Karan Singh ji’s village who has written ‘Do Behenein’ from which the film is adapted. We went to his village and learnt a lot of things that people in villages do. We needed a reference point because everything was so rustic and we didn’t have any comfort. We were actually living their lives which helped us get into the characters. Also, make-up and hair played very important roles. Karishma who has done the costumes, has done such a beautiful job, despite the fact that this is her first film. Our characters go through four stages in the film. From school to when we grow up, get married and have kids. In all these stages, our look change is also happening. We had to put on 10 kilos in the second half of the film. So many things came together and the entire unit was helpful in us becoming our characters. It’s all because of Vishal ji because he is such a brilliant director and he brought about so many changes in the lives of our character and how we look and behave all through the film. When I came on board, Vishal ji told me that if you can put on 10 kilos then you come on board, if you have a problem, you can say no. I trust him as a director and I was awestruck to get an opportunity to work with him. For me it was a no-brainer. I cut my hair in my first film, and for a director like him, I will put on weight, obviously. So, these things helped us in becoming our characters.

How was it being directed by Vishal Bhardwaj?

I didn’t expect him to take me in the film. But I thought, giving an audition would be a good chance for him to see what I can do, and hopefully someday he would take me in some other film. I thought, it’s too early in my career for me to work with a director like him. I got the script one day before the auditions and it was my birthday. I got a call from him in the evening saying, I hope you don’t have a problem with the dialect. I’ll help you throughout, I will rehearse with you. I thought it was a big thing for a director like him to call and say he will rehearse with me, and I was just auditioning. I was not even selected for the film. He sat with me and rehearsed, gave me the whole back story and after the auditions, he messaged me, it was a really good audition. I couldn’t believe this has happened to me.

“I started with a film like ‘Dangal’ which I am grateful for. That’s the greatest debut any actor can get”

Tell us about your next, ‘Badhaai Ho’, the trailer has got some great response.

Yes, I’m very happy about that, I’ve been getting a lot of messages. It was amazing to work with this team and Ayushmann. He is so positive and always in such a good mood.

‘Dangal’ being such a blockbuster, did you think a lot about how your second film should be?

I never really think and worry about that. I started with a film like ‘Dangal’ which I am grateful for. That’s the greatest debut any actor can get. I thought, let’s just enjoy it, and not worry about what I want to sign next. What I kept in mind was, I enjoyed ‘Dangal’, getting into the process, preparing, working with Nitish sir, Aamri sir, Fatima – so that’s what I wanted to feel again with whichever film I do. I thought whatever I do should be instinctive, I should trust the script and whether I will be able to do justice to it.

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