Sanya Malhotra

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Sanya Malhotra
Sanya Malhotra spotted during an ad shoot in Mumbai - Close view.jpg
Malhotra in 2019
Born (1992-02-25) 25 February 1992 (age 28)
Delhi, India
Alma materGargi College
Years active2016–present

Sanya Malhotra is an Indian actress who works in Hindi films. After making her film debut with the role of Babita Kumari in the biographical sports film Dangal (2016), she starred in the comedy-drama Badhaai Ho (2018), both of which rank among the highest-grossing Indian films. She was nominated for the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress for playing a student who befriends a street photographer in the drama Photograph (2019).

Early life and background[edit]

Malhotra was born and raised in Delhi, India. She is a trained dancer in contemporary and ballet.[1] After graduating, Malhotra participated in the dance reality show Dance India Dance and made it to the top 100.[2] She moved to Mumbai, where she began appearing in auditions and began assisting camerapersons for television commercials.[3] She was later contacted by the film casting director Mukesh Chhabra.[2]


Malhotra was selected for Nitesh Tiwari's biographical sports film Dangal along with Fatima Sana Shaikh, who was also relatively new.[1] Before the film, she said that she did not know much about wrestling. She then watched several videos on wrestling and "how wrestlers move, walk, their body language" and also did the training.[1] Both Malhotra and Sheikh went through five rounds of auditions, physical training and workshops with Tiwari and Aamir Khan.[3] They were trained by coach and former wrestler Kripa Shankar Patel Bishnoi.[3]Dangal received critical acclaim and a strong commercial success, becoming the highest-grossing Indian film of 2017.[4][5] Anupama Chopra said in her review that Malhotra provides "strong support" to the story.[6] She also choreographed the song "Sexy Baliye" from Secret Superstar (2017), which featured Khan.[7]

Malhotra in 2019

After a gap of two years, she was seen in Vishal Bhardwaj's drama Pataakha, alongside debutant Radhika Madan. Based on the short story Do Behnen by Charan Singh Pathik, the story revolved around two sisters in Rajasthan who are always on conflict.[8] The story was based on the wives of Pathik's brothers.[8] Both Madan and Malhotra met the real women for the dialect and the character's nuances.[8] For the preparation, both Malhotra and Madan stayed in Ronsi village near Jaipur and learned the Rajasthani dialect; they also got accustomed with milking buffaloes, thatching roofs, plastering the walls with dung and walking for long distances while balancing matkas full of water on their head and one around their waist.[9] They also had to put on 10 kg of weight.[10][11] Raja Sen in his review wrote that Malhotra "plays this character with unhinged enthusiasm" and "appears to be a fearless actress."[12] Malhotra's next release was the comedy film Badhaai Ho, co-starring Ayushmann Khurrana, which is about a middle-aged woman's pregnancy. The film proved to be a critical and commercial success.[13]

In 2019, Malhotra appeared in Ritesh Batra's drama Photograph alongside Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The film follows a street photographer Rafi, who tries to convince a student Miloni (Malhotra) to pose as his fiancée so that his grandmother stops pressuring him to get married. It was screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival.[14] The Hollywood Reporter featured her in their listing of breakout talent from the latter festival.[15] Rahul Desai of Film Companion gave Photograph a positive review and wrote that Malhotra "becomes the dreamy-eyed participant that enables the film to embrace its quiet glances and gentle flights of fantasy."[16] Malhotra received a nomination for the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress.[17]

Malhotra began 2020 by starring as the daughter of mathematician Shakuntala Devi, in an eponymous biopic directed by Anu Menon and starring Vidya Balan in the title role. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film could not release theatrically and instead streamed on Prime Video.[18] Mike McCahill of The Guardian found her to be "quietly affecting" in her part and commended her for holding her own opposite her co-star.[19] Malhotra will next feature alongside an ensemble cast in Anurag Basu's anthology film Ludo and will star in the comedy-drama Pagglait.[20][21]


Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Film Role Notes
2016 Dangal Babita Kumari
2017 Secret Superstar Choreographer for song "Sexy Baliye"
2018 Pataakha Genda "Chhutki" Kumari
2018 Badhaai Ho Renee Sharma
2019 Photograph Miloni Shah
2020 Shakuntala Devi Anupama Banerji
2020 LudoFilm has yet to be released Ahana Mathur Post-production[20]
2020 PagglaitFilm has yet to be released Sandhya Filming[22]


Year Film Awards Category Result Ref.
2017 Dangal News 18 Movie Awards Best Debut (Female) Nominated [23]
2018 Jackie Chan Action Movie Awards Best New Action Performer Won [24]
2020 Photograph Filmfare Awards Best Actress (Critics) Nominated [25]


  1. ^ a b c "Dangal selection process: Sanya Malhotra talks about the emotionally exhausting experience". 16 December 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b Awaasthi, Kavita (22 January 2017). "Dangal: For some reason, I thought it's a Kangana Ranaut film, says Sanya Malhotra". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Rathi, Vasundhara (20 December 2016). "Braving the bruises". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  4. ^ Goswami, Parismita (23 December 2016). "Dangal review roundup: Critics verdict is out; check out what they have to say about Aamir Khan-starrer". International Business Times. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  5. ^ Cain, Rob (19 June 2017). "How An Indian Drama Became The World's Highest-Grossing Sports Movie Of 2017". Forbes.
  6. ^ Chopra, Anupama (22 December 2016). "Dangal Movie Review". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  7. ^ Goyal, Divya (16 October 2017). "Secret Superstar: Sanya Malhotra Enjoyed Making Aamir Khan Dance To Sexy Baliye This Much". NDTV. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Jhunjhunwala, Udita (14 September 2018). "Blood is thicker". Mint. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  9. ^ Iyer, Sanyukta (7 April 2018). "Sanya Malhotra, Radhika Madan in Vishal Bhardwaj's next". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  10. ^ Countinho, Natasha (23 June 2018). "Vishal Bhardwaj's Pataakha opens on September 28". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  11. ^ "This is why Sanya Malhotra is gaining weight for Vishal Bhardwaj's film". Hindustan Times. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  12. ^ Sen, Raja (28 September 2018). "Pataakha review: The new Vishal Bhardwaj film is colourful, noisy and dazzling". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Saif's Baazaar Earns Rs 11.93 Cr in 3 Days, Ayushmann's Badhaai Ho Gets Closer to Rs 100-Cr Mark". CNN-News18. 29 October 2018. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  14. ^ Mankad, Himesh (2 February 2019). "Sanya Malhotra on being hailed as a global talent to watch out for: It feels great to be appreciated". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  15. ^ Roxborough, Scott (5 February 2019). "5 Breakout Talents to Watch From the Berlin Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  16. ^ Desai, Rahul (28 January 2019). "Slow-Burning Mumbai And A Leap Of Inter-Faith In Ritesh Batra's "Photograph"". Film Companion. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Nominations for Filmfare Awards 2020". Filmfare. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Vidya Balan's Shakuntala Devi biopic to be released on Amazon Prime, actor 'thrilled to entertain you in unprecedented times'". Hindustan Times. 15 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  19. ^ McCahill, Mike (30 July 2020). "Shakuntala Devi review – spirited biopic of a mathematical genius". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
  20. ^ a b "Anurag Basu's upcoming film Ludo featuring Abhishek Bachchan, Rajkummar Rao to release on 24 April 2020- Entertainment News, Firstpost". Firstpost. 27 December 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  21. ^ "Sanya Malhotra starts shooting for Pagglait in Lucknow". India Today. 21 November 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  22. ^ "Pagglait': Sanya Malhotra shares BTS pictures from the sets as she starts shooting for the film". The Times of India. 20 November 2019. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  23. ^ "NEWS18 MOVIE AWARDS 2017". Network 18. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Dangal girls Fatima Sana Shaikh and Sanya Malhotra win action award in China". Mid Day. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  25. ^ "Sanya Malhotra- Critics Best Actor in Leading Role Female Nominee | Filmfare Awards". Retrieved 14 February 2020.

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