In many ways, her role in Kathal is what we have come to expect from Sanya Malhotra. Through her movies, the actor has consistently explored different shades of a modern-day woman - be it a young wrestler in Dangal (2016), or a widow restarting her life in Pagglait (2021), or a strong-headed wife in Meenakshi Sundareshwar (2021). The story aside, she has an important parameter that determines her script choices. "In all the films I do, what remains in the forefront is how I want to portray women on screen. All these characters I have played on screen are whom we see in real life. They are empowered, they have the capability of fighting their own battles, and it is inspiring," begins the actor, who plays a conscientious police officer in director Yashowardhan Mishra's satire.
The actor attributes her stubborn pursuit for gender-sensitive stories partly to her childhood, and to her grooming on the sets of her debut movie. "During the shoot of Dangal, I remember having a conversation with my co-actors about the kind of films I want to do. My goal was to portray [strong] women on screen. Then, we saw how the hard work I put in for Babita [her character in Dangal] got appreciated. Also, growing up, I missed seeing such women on screen. So, I knew I wanted to play these kinds of characters."
Her projects ahead are an extension of her belief system. In the Hindi adaptation of The Great Indian Kitchen, Malhotra plays a new bride who is confined to the kitchen after her wedding, while Atlee's directorial venture Jawan sees her share screen space with Shah Rukh Khan. To her, the Khan-starrer is a marker of how far she has come in her seven-year run in the industry. "When I came to Mumbai, all my roommates were Shah Rukh Khan fans. So, whenever any of us would feel low, we used to take rickshaws, go and stand outside Mannat, just to remind ourselves that this is the Dilliwala who made it. From there, to be on the set with him is surreal."