Sanya Malhotra Digital Cover HELLO! India May 2024© HelloIndia

#HELLOExclusive: Sanya Malhotra, The Powerhouse Talent

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Jeena J Billimoria

A multi-faceted actress whose Bollywood debut garnered praise for her talent, Sanya Malhotra has never been the type of celebrity hungry for media attention, desperate to be papped while getting a cup of coffee while toting a handbag that costs more than first-class tickets to Antarctica for a family of four; or one who competes to make the day’s headlines for simply appearing on a red carpet. Nope. Sanya is deeper than that. And boy, is it refreshing.

A Young Girl’s Dream

Born and raised in New Delhi, her upbringing was a rather normal one, she tells us. “I’m a 100% Delhi girl,” she says with apparent pride. “Yes, there were a few hardships, not just for me, but for my family. I was in the first or second grade when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and that was a very major incident for us. I was too young to understand anything, most of it was beyond my comprehension. I could see my family suffering and that left a very big impact on me,” she says, opening up candidly about the past.

Having to witness the scary side of life at a tender age is probably what’s made Sanya so grounded and mature today. “My mother battled like a hero and she’s healthy and well now. I sometimes wish I was older when it had all happened so I could help her in some way,” she shares. And it’s what brought her family even closer. “I feel blessed to have them in my life. My parents have always helped my sister and I to be confident and independent women. Education was very important while growing up, but they’ve always been supportive of our dreams and aspirations,” Sanya tells us.

And speaking of aspirations, Sanya is one of those few people who knew exactly what she wanted to do from a young age, with unwavering determination — act. “Even as a kid, I don’t know how, but I used to only imagine myself doing what I do right now. It’s weird, but I had this very strong intuition that I’d become an actor one day,” she says with a smile.

Claiming to be a shy child who didn’t tell anyone except her mum about these big dreams, it would appear she eventually manifested this career — and life — for herself. “I always told my mother to pray I’d get to be an actress and not a doctor or engineer!” Sanya jokes, adding that her mum allowed her to “move to Mumbai for six months to try and make it, failing which I promised her I’d come home and do my post grad. But things worked out, and here I am!”

The move to Mumbai from New Delhi wasn’t a seamless one; at the beginning, it was a little bit challenging. “It took me months to be okay with being alone and not having my family around me. There was a cultural shift too. I was quite reticent and living alone was hard. But I love it here now and I’m happy with the way my career is going. I feel blessed for all the career opportunities that come my way. Everything else is easily manageable!,” she smiles.

Photos: Ryan Martis; Creative Direction: Avantikka Kilachand; Styling: Anushree Sardesai; Assisted by: Mrunmayee Phanse; Hair and Make-up: Natasha Mathias Dsouza; Time Partner: Tissot

This is an excerpt from an interview published in HELLO! India’s upcoming issue. To get your hands on the latest issue, click here!