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Wanted to be part of 'Mrs' and tell a story about a universal issue: Sanya Malhotra

Actress Sanya Malhotra eagerly accepted the lead role in "Mrs", the Hindi adaptation of "The Great Indian Kitchen", highlighting societal issues faced by women post-marriage

Wanted to be part of Mrs and tell a story about a universal issue: Sanya Malhotra

Sanya Malhotra 

MUMBAI: It was an immediate yes for Sanya Malhotra when she was approached to play the lead role in "Mrs" as the actor says she was keen to do a film that highlights how women are relegated to managing the household and the kitchen after marriage.

The upcoming film is the Hindi-language adaptation of filmmaker Jeo Baby's 2021 critically-acclaimed Malayalam film "The Great Indian Kitchen", about an aspiring dancer who is married off in a patriarchal family where she is reduced to doing household chores but ultimately resists her oppression.

"It's sadly a universal thing that a lot of women go through. Being a homemaker is an under-appreciated job. A lot of people don't think that it's a job in itself. So, it’s definitely a universal issue that a lot of women go through hence, it makes the journey of this character and the film so relatable," Malhotra told PTI in an interview.

Director Arati Kadav of “Cargo” fame has helmed “Mrs”, billed as a captivating account of a woman's strength and resilience.

When she heard the script of the Hindi adaptation, Malhotra said she fell in love with the character of Richa.

"It was an immediate yes. I read the script and I fell in love with the character. I wanted to be part of this film, and also tell a woman's story. I know so many women around me who’ve gone through something similar like this. I feel empathetic towards that. I also feel a sense of responsibility as an actor that these stories need to be told," she added.

Malhotra said a friend of hers went through a similar ordeal and she shared her story with the actor.

“A friend of mine had gone through something very similar to the character and she graciously shared her therapy notes, she's out of that marriage now. For the film, we interviewed a lot of women; read horrific and heartbreaking poems that women have written about being trapped in their house and chores, and how insignificant that makes them feel,” she said.

What was challenging for Malhotra was striking a balance between the fiction and the reality.

"I had to swim into what she is going through, I’d to imagine being in her shoes and start living her life... But I also need to have that boundary that these are not my emotions; these are not the experiences that I’m experiencing. At the same time, I thought I can be there for them, and be a part of something bigger and help other people know about these issues through my work,” said the actor, known for films like “Dangal”, “Pagglait”, “Kathal”, and “Jawan”.

Malhotra recently won the ‘Best Actress’ award at the New York Indian Film Festival 2024 for her performances in "Mrs".

The actor is happy to have garnered appreciation for her performance and the movie at international film festivals like the New York Indian Film Festival and Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival.

“We knew it was going to be a special film while we were shooting it. The kind of response we are getting from all these film festivals, and people outside of India, and Indians who have seen it... It gives me a sense of confidence that the film is good and will do well whenever it releases in India."

The praise has also made Malhotra feel good about herself as a performer.

"I usually don't like my work that easily... I'm very critical of my work but this time, my team was quite shocked when I told them, ‘I'm quite proud of myself, I think it's a good one’," she said.

Presented by Jio Studios in association with Baweja Studios, “Mrs” also stars Nishant Dahiya and Kanwaljit Singh in key roles. It is produced by Jyoti Deshpande, Pammi Baweja, and Harman Baweja.

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