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It’s been a busy 2024 already for Bollywood star Kriti Sanon with back-to-back box office hits and her first film as producer due in the fall.

As revealed by Variety, Sanon and fellow A-list actor Kajol headline Netflix‘s mystery thriller original film “Do Patti.” The film marks the producing debut of Sanon and writer Kanika Dhillon. One of Sanon’s most acclaimed acting roles is surrogacy comedy-drama “Mimi” (2021). Some of her thoughts and inputs that she discussed with director Laxman Utekar were incorporated into the film.

“I really enjoyed the whole process of how that film was made. And I felt that I want to eventually also get involved in certain films that I feel passionate about, beyond just being an actor, [to] creatively be there in the whole filmmaking process,” Sanon told Variety. “And also, hopefully, in the future, [to] be able to support and tell a lot of stories that come from my heart, that I feel connected to personally. And I was feeling like it was the right time for me to find something.”

“I had been looking for something meaty, something that had heart in it, that said something, that was challenging for me as an actor as well. I was really going through a lot of content, and I wasn’t finding something that deep. Sometimes when you don’t find an opportunity, you have to create it,” Sanon added.

Sanon then met Dhillon, whose writing credits include Anurag Kashyap’s Toronto selection “Husband Material” (2018), Vinil Mathew’s Netflix original film “Haseen Dillruba” (2021) and Rajkumar Hirani’s Shah Rukh Khan starrer “Dunki” (2023), whose work she rates highly. Dhillon took an idea of Sanon’s and blended it with one of her own. “When I heard it, I got goosebumps,” Sanon said. “It’s been a great journey. It’s been a lot of learning. But it’s been more than anything, creatively very satisfying to see how an idea, a germ, turns into a story and how that story then finally comes alive with actors and a director’s vision.”

Directed by debutant Shashanka Chaturvedi, “Do Patti” is now in post and due to stream in the fall.

After both training as an engineer and a stint modelling, Sanon debuted as an actor in 2014 with “1: Nenokkadine,” an action film, followed by another film in the genre, “Heropanti,” the same year. Subsequent career highlights include romantic comedies “Bareilly Ki Barfi” (2017), “Luka Chuppi” (2019), ensemble comedy “Housefull 4” (2019) and creature feature “Bhediya” (2022). She won a best actress award at India’s National Film Awards for “Mimi.”

Sanon’s first release of 2024 was sci-fi rom-com “Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya,” where she plays SIFRA (Super Intelligent Female Robot Automation), with whom robotics engineer Aryan (Shahid Kapoor) falls in love. SIFRA eventually develops sentient feelings.

“What was challenging was that there was no reference point to it. We have seen a lot of robot films before, even in India, but they’ve been very, very robotic. Here, it was almost a humanoid, it was a robot who a robotics engineer doesn’t get to know is a robot until a certain point. So, [SIFRA] has to feel that real. And that close to being a human, but then there has to be something still off about her,” Sanon said.

The actor says that she had to figure out how to make the character real, without being generically robotic or talking and moving in a robotic manner. She made her movements smooth rather than jerky and her responses quicker and more confident.

“It can get really suffocating because as actors, you like flowing, you like improvising. You have an actor as brilliant as Shahid Kapoor in front of you, who ends up doing an improv and you want to just react to him like a human being would, but you are a robot. So, you have to still be very timely and very correct. And I tried to sometimes time my blinks,” Sanon said. The actor is pleased with the response to the film’s finale where SIFRA malfunctions and she could go all out without going over the top.

“Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya” is one of the biggest Indian hits of 2014 as is “Crew,” which follows three flight attendants with a failing airline who get involved in gold smuggling to a fictitious Middle Eastern country in an operation that’ll save them and their unpaid colleagues financially. Sanon stars alongside Bollywood A-listers Tabu and Kareena Kapoor Khan. “Just to be there in the same space as these two powerful women who have been reinventing themselves and are so relevant, even after having done so many films, that was a big high for me,” Sanon said.

“It had a very well-etched script with well-written characters and these three women having their own backstories, getting their own moments to shine and belonging to three different generations coming together in this mad comedy heist, which hasn’t happened before,” Sanon added.

A sequel to “Bhediya” is in the works, as is one for “Crew.” Sanon is currently evaluating scripts to decide her next project. “I’m happy and satisfied, but yet still a little restless to explore how I can push the envelope a little more. I’m not in a hurry to sign something, because I really want to do something only when I love, love, love it. So, I am looking for something that challenges me and makes me do something different from what I’ve already done,” Sanon said.

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