Sanjana Sanghi, the new-kid-on-the-block, has already tasted MEGA SUCCESS—her debut project Dil Bechara is one of BOLLYWOOD’S most watched films! Cosmo Editor Nandini Bhalla speaks to the young actor about how Kizie Basu (her character from the film) will stay with her forever.
Sanjana Sanghi seems wise beyond her years. She turned 24 just a few days after this interview and, for the record, is beautifully fresh-faced and spirited. But it’s when you get talking to her that you pick up on a certain self-awareness and poise that’s typically uncharacteristic for a girl in her early 20s.
Sanjana laughs when I express my observation. It’s something she has heard before. “People always say that about me!” she declares. “Anyone who meets me for the first time passes that remark, and all my best friends and family have always felt that I’m wiser than my years, even when I was a little girl. It’s possible that I’m an old soul... If I had it my way, I wouldn’t even be using a smartphone!”
But even for the most discerning young adult, it would not be an exaggeration to state that the last few months have been tempestuous. Dil Bechara—Sanjana’s big, Bollywood debut—released on July 24th, and quickly shattered more than just a few records. The ‘rom-tragedy’ (an adaptation of John Green’s best-selling novel, The Fault In Our Stars) is said to have amassed over 95 million views in the first 24 hours of its release, making it an indubitable success.
The film, for those who aren’t a part of the aforementioned millions, is centred around extraordinary love, courage, life...and death. The film is also late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s swan song, released a few weeks after the actor passed away at his Mumbai home...and was followed by a volcano of public grief, controversies, and impassioned media trials.
In the moments that led up to the film’s OTT premiere, Sanjana was experiencing a whirlpool of emotions. “It had been a really tough month up to that day, and I remember feeling simply exhausted,” she says. “I spent the day at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib with my mother...it’s my place of peace. I was a box of pent-up, unresolved thoughts and emotions, which exploded at 7:30pm when I watched our labour of love with the 100 million others that viewed it on Day One. I barely remember watching it; I was crying through the entire thing!”I ask how she is coping with the loss, and Sanjana tells me she has been turning to her mother and grandfather for emotional strength. “Before this, I was largely unfamiliar with grief and sorrow,” she says. “I’ve just always believed that human beings are immortal, you know? I don’t believe that you and I were born to die and maybe that’s just me being idealistic or immature... But my family helped me deal with the fact that sometimes, lives can end before their time, and that’s when I was able to think back to the time I have spent with Sushant and the memories we shared, and that gave me courage and strength and also this belief that if he was looking over me, he would be so proud!”
I ask how she celebrated the success of her debut, and Sanjana shakes her head... “You know, it’s been a little over a month since the film released, and I was telling my mum that it felt like one of the longest months of my life,” she says in a soft tone. “Because, even though so much was happening, I was grappling with all these complex emotions... So I haven’t been able to, even for a moment, feel proud or joyous or celebratory. I wish I could have found even a fleeting moment to give myself a pat on the back, but that hasn’t happened. That said, I feel a lot of gratitude for the fact that the audience gave this tribute to Sushant, and how the team was able to bring the film to the people, during a pandemic, in a way that was graceful and that Sushant deserved. I think a couple of months down the line, I’ll be able to feel proud about playing Kizie Basu...and about the fact that people have loved her.”
Styling: Priyanka Yadav; Photographs: Anand Gogoi
Hair and Make-Up: Leeview Biswas; Fashion Assistant: Manveen Guliani