She was once talked about for what she wore on screen and the number of kisses in her films. But over the last few years, even that has disappeared and all that Mallika Sherawat has managed to get press for is her antics at Cannes and being allegedly thrown out of her house in France. This despite making it to Hollywood and even signing a film there much before Priyanka Chopra did.
Recently the actress landed back in India with the intention of making a comeback and she even chose her own vehicle – she bought Indian adaptation rights the American show The Good Wife. We spoke to her about stuff that people wanted to know, including if she is a wife. Excerpts:
So are you married, or still dating Cyrill?
Why are you getting into the personal space?
You are a celebrity, you share pictures on social media. People would want to know more.
I am hardly a celebrity. Talk about my activism, instead, which is so very important. Free A Girl, which I am the brand ambassador of and which I promote actively.
First, let’s talk films. Why aren’t you doing films?
Because I was not getting the work I wanted to do. Most of the roles that were coming to me were of the glamour girl, which I have done enough of.
So, you got tired of playing the glamour girl?
I really did. There are other aspects, other things that I have to offer. Not just this glamour girl bit. And I really wanted to do some meaningful role. Not a leading role, even a supporting role would be enough. But something meaningful. So, I got the rights to The Good Wife and in the process of making that.
Kissing on screen in pretty commonplace today. And being hot on screen is not a novelty anymore. How do you see this process of evolution and do you think you could have done better as an actor if you debuted today? People did judge you for what you did.
Of course, I was judged and it was not a nice feeling. There were a lot of uncomfortable questions that I was asked. If you watch an interview of mine, I think it was called Seedhi Baat, with what was this name of the journalist… Prabhu Chawla. Now when I watch it, I cringe. The kind of questions, ultra-sexual, intimidating questions he asked me, and I was this girl who had done just two films. I was sitting there, having to defend myself and I feel so much of rage now as to why any girl should be subjected to this, to this lecherous dirty old man asking me such kind of questions. How is this journalism in any way? This was just him, I thought, trying to intimidate me, taking advantage of the powerful position he was in. I have been through a lot of those kinds of harrowing experience. A certain part of the media was always judging me, criticising me. And that creates a doubt in an actor’s mind if I was doing something wrong to invite such criticism. I started losing my confidence quite a bit.
What happens at Cannes? When you shared those caged pictures, the message did come through. Yet there was a substantial backlash in terms of what people perceived it as. How do you react?
The more interesting question would be, does it bother me at all. It does not bother me at all. I don’t care.
Why Cannes? Isn’t it where people go to talk films?
Why not? It is also a platform to raise issues. Julia Roberts has done it; Sharon Stone has done it too. And now I have done it.
You shifted to LA much before Priyanka did. You were walking the red carpets, mingling with the biggies… You even did a couple of films. Is that why you lost out on Bollywood. And do you think you could have done better in Hollywood?
I don’t think I lost out on anything. I just like to live life on my own terms. I wanted to live in a different country, travel a lot, go out of my comfort zone, meet President Barack Obama… move around who’s who of the world, party with them and that’s what I did. I got all the invitations. I did not want to get stuck in a studio here.
Why not more Hollywood films then?
They will come when the time is right. Right now, The Good Wife has come and I am playing the lead and not only that, I have bought the rights and producing.
Finally, what exactly happened in France. There were reports…
I don’t want to talk about it.
Come on, give us your side of the story.
Oh, my ear, I can’t hear suddenly!
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