The only common identifier among the films on Kathal actor Malhotra’s resume is that they are all different; actor says she’s charmed by uniqueness
Sanya Malhotra may well be considered the poster-girl for all things unconventional — From a young Haryanvi girl who becomes India’s wrestling champion in her debut film Dangal, to a bickering sister in Pataakha, and a widow who makes peace with her fate in Pagglait, the actor hasn’t hesitated to give her nod to films that her contemporaries may keep an arm’s length from. Her latest offering, Kathal, is another step in the same direction.
“I enjoy plots that are different. I would love to be part of pot-boilers, but the charm of the films that I have worked on is unparalleled,” says the actor who plays a police inspector leading an investigation into missing jackfruits in the film. Amusing though the plotline may initially seem, the satire that dropped on Netflix last week deftly discusses matters relating to gender and caste under the theme’s guise.
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It was this potential of the film that piqued Malhotra’s interest. “Kathal had one of the most quirky one-line pitches. That got me hooked onto the script. And as I sat for the narration, I knew that this film would be a fun ride. It has a lot to offer — comedy, drama, romance and an important social message. That my character is a police officer is a bonus; I’ve never played one before.” Considering that actors are subjected to scrutiny when essaying characters that have social or political significance, playing a woman in uniform was not without challenge.
Also, since this series is based on a true incident, the actor had to be more vigilant as well. “It is based on a true incident, so, I spoke to a few female cops to understand how they worked. I studied their mannerisms and dialect to get into the skin of the character.” Staying true to her pursuit of atypical characters, she will next be seen in Shah Rukh Khan’s actioner, Jawan, Meghna Gulzar’s Sam Bahadur, and the official Hindi adaptation of the feminist Malayalam drama, The Great Indian Kitchen.
While she pats herself on the back for creating an enviable filmography within the short span of seven years, the actor is in no mood to rest on her laurels. She also isn’t swayed by people’s perception of her, and relies on her instincts. “I have come up the hard way, through perseverance. I have never shied away from hard work. Even today I am ready to audition for the parts I am being considered for, should the director want me to. But, I have some solid work backing me now. So, things are easier compared to when I started out.”