THE RISING STAR
Femina|September 2020
THE RISING STAR
The cool and candid SANYA MALHOTRA gets real with Ruman Baig about fame, strong female characters, and her journey of self-discovery
Ruman Baig

About 20 minutes before my scheduled phone call with Sanya Malhotra, I encountered all the technical glitches one can imagine. The slow death of my terminally ill Wi-Fi, the sudden disappearance of all my network bars, (thanks to a little rain and thunder) and a minute accident that resulted in the demise of my very dependable phone charger’s cord. After tackling a series of uncertain events for what felt like an eternity (40 minutes) I finally managed to get on that call, albeit 20 minutes late. The conversation began with me frantically apologising, almost expecting stern disapproval of this delay. To my surprise, I was met with an extremely comforting voice on the other end, “Hey, that’s totally understandable, I face network issues in my house too.” And just like that, Sanya Malhotra and I rambled on for a minute about all the unprecedented issues that nobody can expect while working from home. Her calm, composed and charming demeanour, with frequent bouts of laughter, disarmed all my preconceived notions of how a rising star is supposed to be. Can we officially make being kind cool again?

Sanya is an exception to the norm. Case in point: Contradicting the cookiecutter style big screen debuts, her onset in Bollywood was a refreshing game-changer. Who can forget her powerful portrayal of wrestler Babita Kumari in the biographical sports film Dangal? Apart from her physical transformation, cool pixie cut, and choke-slam moves in the ring, she was lauded for her salient performance in an ensemble cast. In the coming years, her conscious choice of strong roles with staunch female voices contributed to her steadily upward moving graph. The critically-acclaimed actor spoke at length about her deliberate intention of picking relatable parts, using social media as an outlet to showcase her humorous side and accepting her accident-prone clumsy self after a graphic incident with the blender during the lockdown.

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September 2020