Sanjana Sanghi: There are so many sides of myself that I want to display to the world

One of the key debutants of 2020, she was appreciated for an emotionally stirring performance as Kizie Basu in Dil Bechara (official remake of The Fault In Our Stars) opposite Sushant Singh Rajput. A few months down, she opted to play the leading lady in an actioner opposite Aditya Roy Kapur. Sanjana Sanghi, who started out as a model and playing small parts and supporting characters in films, talks about what lies ahead for her in 2021. Excerpts:

After a roller-coaster 2020, you started 2021 shooting for your next film, Om, with Aditya Roy Kapur on the outskirts of Mumbai. That must have been a good start to the new year?
I had never thought that I would end the year 2020 on a film set. From a state of complete lockdown to being able to shoot every day, we’ve seen a lot in the past few months. Fortunately, 2021 is a packed year for me. There are a lot of exciting things, so many interesting stories and so many sides of myself that I am eager to display to the world.

One of those sides is being explored in Om, which is an action-drama, where you, too, will perform action scenes. How is that coming along?
Actually, learning to perform action scenes has been the most exciting thing to do after Dil Bechara, which was a heavy, emotional drama. Yes, the film introduced me to this really emotional side of myself, but I want to try different things. I stepped into the action genre, and I have trained a lot. I had to pick up mixed martial arts. I also trained with the action choreographers and their teams to understand the action scenes well. Doing all this is demanding and new for me. As someone trained in dancing, I could pick up things fast which is an observation my instructors made about me. But trust me, there are technicalities like the way one uses a gun or does hand-to-hand combat and more, which my character needs to do in the film. I had to train myself in a way that it looks real on screen.

Your debut film won you a lot of praise from the critics and the audience. Did you feel a load of expectation and pressure while choosing your second film?
With the way I have been brought up and, the space I come from, I believed that I won’t really get to choose my first few films. It’s a game of destiny… you don’t know what will come your way and when. I loved the book, The Fault In Our Stars. It was unbelievable that I was chosen to play the leading lady in its Hindi film adaptation. It was surreal. After experiencing that side of my personality, I feel a sense of momentum that lakhs of people have given me. They’ve become a part of my journey and are pushing me further to discover more about myself. Playing a heavily emotional role is one of my strengths, but I don’t want to continuously play on just that. I want to find new things about myself. The scripts that came to me after Dil Bechara were in a romantic and emotionally complex space. I want to break out of that and surprise the audience each time I am on screen. If I don’t try and do that, this journey won’t be worth it. I understand that everything might not work, but I want to gain new experiences.

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