"At the age of 10, I sat my mum down and told her my plans."
Banita Sandhu has been dominating the headlines for her rumoured relationship with AP Dhillon.
The singer released his new single ‘With You’ and Banita features in the music video.
But throughout the video, Banita and AP look loved up, holding hands and cuddling. This prompted speculation that the song was the singer’s way of revealing his girlfriend.
While there has been no confirmation, Banita’s Instagram post further fuelled the rumours.
She shared a short clip of the pair sharing a kiss in a picturesque setting, seemingly confirming the relationship.
But who is Banita Sandhu?
Banita was born and raised in Caerlon, Wales.
Growing up, she watched British and Bollywood titles with aspirations of becoming an actress.
Banita said: “It’s a cliche to say I always wanted to be an actress, but it is also true.
“I used to watch soaps as a child, with the goal of landing a part in Coronation Street. At the age of 10, I sat my mum down and told her my plans.
“My connection with Bollywood when I was a child was through my mom. She is an avid Bollywood fan.”
She took part in local stage and film productions before signing with an agent at the age of 11.
A few years later, Banita starred in a Vodafone advert that was aired during the IPL. As a result, she caught the attention of Shoojit Sircar, who cast her in an advert for Wrigley’s chewing gum.
Banita moved to London at 18 where she earned an English Literature degree from King’s College London.
Six months into her degree, Banita received a call from Shoojit with an offer to play a hotel management trainee in October.
In the lead-up to filming, she took Hindi tutoring lessons.
Banita recalled: “When you live in London with English-speaking people around, it becomes very difficult to pick the language.
“I frantically called Shoojit one day informing him that it’s not working and then we came up with the idea of chatting on Skype back and forth every single day.”
Banita Sandhu starred opposite Varun Dhawan.
Despite receiving an okay box office response, October received incredible critical acclaim, with Banita, in particular, being hailed for her acting prowess.
That same year, she was in the music video for Diljit Dosanjh’s ‘Jind Mahi’.
Banita Sandhu soon got a number of acting opportunities.
This included the Tamil film Adithya Varma, British film Eternal Beauty and the sci-fi TV series Pandora.
Her biggest film came in 2021 with Sardar Udham, which starred Vicky Kaushal.
Mother Teresa & Me bagged the Best Film Award at the Mirabile Dictu International Film Festival in Rome, with Banita Sandhu being hailed for her moving depiction of a woman going through a rollercoaster of emotions.
Banita Sandhu is now set to play Sita Malhotra in season three of Bridgerton.
Reflecting on her career, Banita said she has matured on set. She elaborated:
“I’ve always learnt on the job. Whether it be technical, like finding your light and hitting your mark, or creative, such as how to ground yourself and be present in a scene amidst the chaos of a set.
“I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning as long as I’m working.”
Away from films, Banita Sandhu is vocal about mental health, having experienced her own struggles.
She explained: “I went into depression when my debut film October didn’t do well at the box office.
“Those days, I was busy completing my college education in London, working in Bollywood, doing ads – handling too many things at the same time, which I could not manage.
“It was a tough time as Mumbai was unknown to me, and staying alone was also difficult
“I was diagnosed at a time of my life when I should have been thriving, I was at university and my first movie was releasing but back then, mental health wasn’t really spoken about as much; I didn’t understand why I felt so empty and melancholic.”
She took a break before returning rejuvenated.
Banita stated: “It took a lot of time and work to recover and develop a stronger relationship with myself and my mind.
“I feel like it’s important to speak about it. If it can help just one person out there, then it’s so worth it.”
Despite only having eight acting credits so far, Banita Sandhu has captured the attention of millions. This is courtesy of her variety of roles.
Reflecting on her acting aspirations, the 26-year-old said:
“It comes down to the simple fact that I want to do good work whether it’s in India or overseas.
“I think as an actor, to be able to have so much scope and reach in the world and to be able to work with some of the best teams in different countries is really a privilege.”
Banita Sandhu is now in the headlines for her personal life and her alleged relationship with AP Dhillon.