Sanya Malhotra is surely one actress to look out for. Her performances in films like, ‘Dangal’, ‘Pataakha’ and others have always been lauded by the audience. In an exclusive interview with ETimes, Sanya opens up about her upcoming films, working with Vidya Balan and more. Excerpts…
How have you been spending your free time in self-quarantine due to this coronavirus pandemic?
I am trying to keep myself busy. I am actually keeping myself busy a lot. I do all the household chores. I get up early in the morning. I also cook breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I have also been reading a lot. I am trying to get all the information about the virus, what all is going on in our country and the rest of the world. I am also trying to not to be consumed by the information that is out there. I am trying to keep a sane mind because this is a very stressful time. The kind of information that we are getting from all over the world, It can be stressful so I am trying not to be on social media all the time. I am not reading all the articles out there but at the same time I am keeping myself informed.

How do you choose your scripts?
If I get a narration, I try and look at it from the audience’s point of view. Also, if I connect with the character, if it ignites that creativity in me and if I feel like I have to do this, then I say yes to the script or the film. I have been very lucky with the kind of directors and production houses I have worked with. These two factors are also very important. There are times when the scripts are good but the other two factors are not there so you need to keep in mind factors like –director, actor, script, character and production house in mind.

Whose opinion outside the film industry matters to you the most?
Outside the film industry, opinions of my friends and my family matters a lot to me. I am close to my family. They are all good critics. They are not like, ‘Humari beti ne jo kiya sahi kiya’. If they don’t like my work, they tell me. If there is a scene in any movie that they do not like, they tell me.

Who is your biggest critic?
I am my own biggest critic. I never like what I do. It is really hard for me to impress myself with the work that I do. Although it is good in a way, sometimes it is not that good. I can really harsh on myself. There have been days when after the releases I have been hard on myself. I am working on it. I feel that I should give myself a little more credit.

What are the kinds of stories that excite you the most?
We are so lucky as actors because now people are writing such great content. They are writing such amazing characters. It excites me to be an actor. It is an amazing job and that I am lucky that people are experimenting with the scripts that they are writing. Even producers are coming up to produce such unique concepts. So, all kinds of stories excite me.
But if you ask me what I am looking for right now then that would be a dance film. A story that is light-hearted and I don’t have to think so much about the character and I can just go on the set and have fun.

You have an exciting slate of films lined up, which character would you say was the toughest to play?
I cannot pick one. All the three of them were challenging. Since I was shooting back to back, I did not get much time to prep for all three of them. But they all require different kinds of preparations. For ‘Ludo’, it required the least amount of preparations. I was really relaxed. I used to go on the set and do what Anurag Kashyap sir used to tell me to do. For ‘Shakuntala Devi’ again, I looked up for a backstory and the usual things I do for all my characters. I sat and read with the director because she knew Anupama Benerjee, the character that I am playing. She told me about her and when we were shooting in London, I met her personally. For ‘Pagglait’, I think, Umesh sir and his associate Pooja and I used to sit with the script. We sat on each and every scene and discussed how we are looking at it, what are the ideas, what my character can do and all.

What are the things you learnt from working with Vidya Balan?
I am very glad that I got to work with Vidya Balan. I am a huge fan of her work. After working with her, I have fallen in love with her. She is amazing. The one thing that I have learnt from her is that she has an amazing sense of humour. She is so bright and happy all the time. She always becomes a part of the crew somehow. When you are on the set and shooting for 45 days straight, she really held every one of us together. Everyone on the set used to be happy when she used to be around. The beautiful energy that she has, on and off set, is something very inspiring. She is also such a fantastic co-actor to work with. She is there throughout. Even when the camera is not on her, she gives all her cue. She is just fantastic and doesn’t have that air about her.