Sanya Malhotra’s hands were shaking on Wednesday, when she came across a tweet from Kangana Ranaut. In what many would call a rare phenomenon, Kangana had showered praises on Sanya for her work in her latest movie, Pagglait.
Sanya, Kangana said, was ‘soooo good’. For the former, there could never have been a bigger compliment. Ever since she made her debut with Dangal in 2016, Sanya has been confessing her admiration for Kangana and her talent.
Speaking to Hindustan Times about the moment she read Kangana’s tweet, Sanya said, “She is my senior in the industry. And not just during Dangal, I used to say this in every interview, I used to say that I am huge fan. She is quite inspiring. And her praising me on Twitter was a very big news for me and my family. My hands were shaking when I read that tweet. I was like ‘Oh my God, is this…?’ I couldn’t believe it you know. And that’s really sweet of her to tweet something so beautiful. I am extremely grateful.”
Kangana had written, “I am gald people are recognising her talent, I heard #PagglaitOnNetflix is doing amazingly well… so happy for you Sanya you deserve everything and much more … lots of love to you.”
Sanya indeed deserves praise for her portrayal of a young widow, largely indifferent to her husband’s demise in Pagglait. If grief or the absence of it can be charted on a spectrum, Sanya, as Sandhya, makes a full journey from one side of it to the other. She pulls it off well.
Sanya says a lot of background work and some Google searches went into it. “It was the prep that went for this character. Because she is not actually aware of what is happening. For the first 4-5 days of those 13 days, she has an idea subconsciously but maybe consciously, she is not ready to face it. And as an actor, Umesh sir really helped me crack her psychology right. It had to be layered. I developed a back story for her, a very solid memory bank. So that whenever I am approaching a scene, I have a lot of imaginary scenarios in my head. Why am I not so attached to him? Why am I not feeling that grief that other people are. Because she, too, is putting a lot of pressure on herself. She knows she is not behaving normally,” she said.
While the audience is never shown the husband’s face or even told the reason for his death, Sanya needed to put a face to her imagination. “Yesterday, I was talking to Chetan (who played Alok, the brother) and I told him I had kept a journal for Sandhya. And only I have Astik’s (the husband’s) picture because I wanted a face to what I was imagining in my head. So I randomly picked a guy’s photo from Google. I had always imagined him on his laptop and his back, at his table. That’s it. There was no connection whatsoever between these two guys. She never used to talk to him, she was never in a healthy relationship. When people are not in a healthy relationship, they are also in denial. In her head, she thought maybe five months are not enough and things will change. It shows in small things such as when she tells Akansha (Sayani Gupta) that it’s because of you that he never spoke to me. All this we had to crack because it is a very tricky situation. If you meet someone for two days and later find out that they had died, you will feel bad for them,” she said.
Also read: Pagglait movie review: Sanya Malhotra is anything but crazy in this tale of family, death and rebirth
Pagglait, however, did earn a small criticism from actor-filmmaker Seema Pahwa, whose film, Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi had a similar tone and theme. Speaking to HT, Seema did praise Sanya and everyone else’s performance in the movie. However, she still wondered why there wasn’t more gloom and heartbreak in the family over the death of someone so young.
Sanya felt her director would have a better explanation for it. “Everyone has their own way of dealing with grief, or for any emotion. I just don’t know why we are comparing these two films and this question. I think Umesh sir would be a better person to answer this question because he is the one who has written Pagglait. I think the idea was that this is a very heavy emotion to carry for a long period of time. I don’t know if you have experienced it but all of us have in our family. You just shed it after a point, because you are dealing with other issues.”