After a dream debut as Babita Phogat of Dangal, actor Sanya Malhotra is on a roll by snagging a role in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha and Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Badhaai Ho

She told My Nation, “I started with a film like Dangal and I am grateful for that. That’s the perfect debut any actor can get. I feel really blessed for that. All my worries ended there. I thought, now that I have become an actor, I just wanted to enjoy acting as that’s my childhood dream, instead of worrying about which film I am going to do next. Also, I didn’t have the hurry to sign something immediately after completing my first film.”

While Sanya played feisty younger sister in Dangal, she seems to be reprising the role as Chhutki in Pataakha too. She says, “Dangal and Pataakha are completely different films. I will not even compare Geeta-Babita with Badki-Chhutki because Babita would never talk to Geeta like the way Chhutki talks to Badki. The two characters (Babita and Chhutki) are very different.” Though she did add, “I relate a little bit to Babita as a person but I can't relate to Chhutki at all. I have fought with my sister just as Badki and Chhutki do but she is so spiteful, aggressive and loud, which I am not. Hence it was a difficult to get into the skin of Chhutki.”

The film also stars comedian Sunil Grover in a key role and he provided the perfect inspiration to Malhotra for her role. She says, “The character of Narad Muni which he plays, he is like that in real life also. He always keeps thinking, be it a joke or anything else. I have been inspired by his Rinku Bhabhi character for playing Chhutki. I have heard that song on loop, ‘Mere Husband Mujhko Piyar Nahin Karte’. I would keep listening to this song on the set while shooting my after-marriage part. The song would actually help me get into my character instantly.”

However, her fighting lessons from Dangal didn’t quite help her with the action scenes in Pataakha. “Dangal’s fight was very technical, and I had to undergo training for it. Here, all I needed to do was slapping, pulling Badki’s hair or kicking her. I remember, we had to pull each other’s hair very carefully as I was wearing a wig (laughs). So, the fights in this film are nowhere near to what I have done in Dangal,” she says. 

The 26-year-old actor also revealed that she had casually auditioned for the Vishal Bhardwaj directorial and once she was selected, she was given a condition by the filmmaker. Sanya said, “When I got on board, the first thing Vishal Ji told me was, ‘I need you to gain weight for the role Sanya. If you are okay with putting on 10 kilos, then do the role. However, you can always refuse it if you are not okay with gaining weight.” 

The condition led to a hectic one month of only eating for the actor, which she termed as a ‘beautiful journey of eating.’ The crew gorged on chhole bhature for breakfast, pan cakes, ice cream shake, dry fruit shake, fries, butter chicken, pizza, chhole puri and more. “However, I would make sure to add something healthy to my diet in between. Even during shoot, we would constantly keep eating in between takes. Once I had six pan cakes with Nutella! After a point, I really got tired of eating. Now I am happy with my dal chawal and khichdi. During the film’s first half, I used to weight 52 kilos and after one month, I became 62,” she says. 

Pataakha, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj has hit theatres on Friday.