Sanya Malhotra on her 'complex' character in Pagglait and playing the solo lead for the first time

“It’s a very complex character,' says Sanya Malhotra about Sandhya, from her upcoming film Pagglait, which premieres on Netflix on 26 March.

Seema Sinha March 26, 2021 08:17:17 IST
Sanya Malhotra on her 'complex' character in Pagglait and playing the solo lead for the first time

After making her presence felt on the OTT platform with back-to-back releases — Shakuntala Devi and Ludo, Sanya Malhotra is going to score a hat trick with her next film Pagglait that premieres on Netflix on 26 March. Malhotra is quite elated to be a part of the film and considers it special as it will be the first time in her five year career that she will be seen playing a solo lead. However, it wasn’t easy for the actress as the film involves portraying complex emotions of a woman (Sandhya, her character) in a loveless marriage to a man who dies a few days after their wedding. Complex, because her character is shown struggling to mourn her husband Astik's passing, and soon discovers that her husband was in a relationship with his colleague Akansha, played by Sayani Gupta, before they got married.

“It’s a very complex character. With that simple exterior there is a lot going inside Sandhya and that was tough to portray. She appears abnormal to others because she is not behaving the ‘normal’ way. She is the only one who is not able to mourn the death of her husband. Everyone around her feels those emotions but she can’t. She knows that there is something wrong with her, and she compares the situation to her cat dying and how she wasn’t feeling hungry at that time. But it wasn't the same with her husband passing away. I sat with Umesh Sir (Bist, Director) and read the script several times. We tried to crack the psychology behind it. It’s only five months back that she got married and why she is not feeling anything? Lot of thoughts went behind it, one of those that probably she was not in a happy marriage. Astik didn't give her any attention. The happiness she was expecting from the person is no more. So now, she has to find that happiness inside her and eventually she sets onto a path of self-discovery," said Malhotra revealing about her character.

Both, her and Sayani Gupta’s characters are shown emotionally mature, says Malhotra. “Though initially she blames Akansha, but during the course of the film, Sandhya is inspired by Akansha. Akansha is a working woman, she drives a car, lives independently and is well-groomed. She also realises that Akansha is a beautiful person inside out. It is a very beautifully written character, everything was there in the script but the director helped me a lot to crack the psychology of Sandhya. It was very important to develop the back story why she is not feeling the way she should be feeling. My character can’t comprehend what she is exactly feeling,” says Malhotra.

Sanya Malhotra on her complex character in Pagglait and playing the solo lead for the first time

Still from sets of Pagglait. Image from Twitter

Explaining the thought behind the protagonist’s psychology, the director says, “Through all these moments and incidents, Sandhya goes through those five stages of grief – the first reaction is of denial and then there is anger. She is a girl from a small town and she protests through (eating) pani puri and drinking pepsi when everyone else is mourning. Then she decides to meet the girl her husband was supposed to have an affair with, thinking that it will make her feel better. Finally she goes through depression and ultimately there is a stage of acceptance. That is when her world comes crashing down and only after there is complete destruction that the new creation starts. Eventually, she is able to find her own self and she starts a new journey.”

Pagglait is an endearing term used locally and primarily in Awadhi language. The meaning is that you are talking beyond logic. In our story, Sandhya is not confined by the boundaries of logic, and once someone goes beyond their limitations it is only then you discover a new horizon,” he says.

Pagglait also stars powerhouse performers like Ashutosh Rana, Raghubir Yadav, Sheeba Chaddha, Meghna Malik and Rajesh Tailang among others. “For good 45 to 50 days I was living Sandhya’s life so much that I started thinking like her, which was a beautiful experience and it was only possible because I was surrounded by such great actors,” says Malhotra.

Pagglait is produced by Balaji Telefilms and Sikhya Entertainment.

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