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'If I was a snake, I'd like to bite...'

By MOHNISH SINGH
November 15, 2021 16:39 IST
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'Oh my God! Bahut lambi list hai.'

Mallika Sherawat. Photograph: Kind courtesy Mallika Sherawat/Instagram

The famously bold and fiercely opinionated Mallika Sherawat is thrilled to have bagged a starring role in the multilingual film Nagmati, which went before cameras on November 8, 2021 with a mahurat puja.

In a first for her career, the actress features in a double role in the film.

Ask if she is offered a role today like Khwahish, a film in which she had upward of 15 kisses with her co-star, would she still do it, and Mallika tells Rediff.com Contributor Mohnish Singh, "If the script is good, then I will do it."

The final segment of a two-part interview:

 

IMAGE: Mallika Sherawat and Himanshu Malik in Khwahish.

What difference do you see when you compare yourself with the version of yours when you entered the industry?

I think I have more wits now. My level of diplomacy has increased.

When I did films like Khwahish and Murder, I had directly landed from Haryana.

I had no filter back then. I would blurt out things that came to my mind.

Now I think twice before saying anything.

In Khwahish, you had upward of 15 kisses with your co-star Himanshu Malik. If you get offered a role like that today, would you still do it?

If the script is good, then I will do it. It is all very common now anyway.

I am happy I was a pathbreaker back then. I started a trend. And I am happy that I did it.

Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Do you remember any encounter with a snake, if you ever had one?

So, a couple of years ago, I did a film called Hiss. When we were shooting, every day a snake would emerge on the sets from God knows where.

It was so supernatural and, at the same time, so eerie. Some baby snake or a snake would visit us on the sets every day.

You opened the 2010 Cannes film festival with a live python. Tell us about the experience.

Yeah, it was a live python. That was the real star of the film.

And as far as my experience of carrying it is concerned, trust me it was very creepy.

Who would you like to bite if you were a snake?

Oh my God! Bahut lambi list hai.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Mallika Sherawat/Instagram

What do you have to say about the bold content that we see on streaming platforms?

I think it is very good. It is good for the industry because there is no censorship on OTT content.

Having said that, along with boldness also comes so much responsibility.

We have to be really responsible. We cannot exploit the freedom that we get on OTT.

I think there has to be self-censorship. We are not school kids that you need a censor board, but self-censorship and responsibility every filmmaker and writer should have. And that is there, I feel.

Whenever I watch a series on OTT, I do not feel that a certain intimate scene is there just for titillation. It goes with the script.

A lot of actors have forayed into production as well. Do you want to test the waters too?

I did produce much before. I was co-producer on Hiss.

But I enjoy acting more than production. With producing, a lot of tension and a lot of burden is there. I just want to focus on acting.

To act and to produce all at the same time is very difficult.

Right now, I am getting such good acting offers. It is a really good period right now.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Mallika Sherawat/Instagram

Your life has been full of several ups and downs. Do you think you deserve a biopic of your own?

No.

Who will make a biopic on me anyway?

Or I should say who has so much guts to make a biopic on my life?

For that, you have to show Haryana and ensure authenticity. You have to shed light on how women are treated in Haryana. People are not bold enough to show that reality.

What gives you the guts to tackle complex roles?

I have nothing to lose.

Not taking risks is a bigger risk.

I feel that after a certain time, it is good for an actor to reinvent, to take risks.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Mallika Sherawat/Instagram

Which is your favourite genre?

I like romantic comedies.

The action genre is nice, but it requires a lot of hard work, non-stop training.

Romantic comedies are fun to do. Look pretty, look nice and your job is done.

Mallika Sherawat with Barack Obama, then president of the United States of America. Photograph: Kind courtesy Mallika Sherawat/Instagram

Would you like to change anything about your two decade-long journey in showbiz?

No, I would not like to change a single bit of it.

I came from Haryana, made my mark and reached this far in my life where I am living life on my own terms.

I am independent, I am economically independent.

I have met Barack Obama; I have worked with Jackie Chan.

I keep attending big film festivals across the globe. People recognise me abroad. What else can I ask for?

Mallika Sherawat with Jackie Chan. Photograph: Kind courtesy Mallika Sherawat/Instagram

You have also worked with Kamal Haasan. What did you pick up from an actor like him who is an institution in himself?

His adaptability.

If there is a last-minute change in a scene, or if there is any change on the sets, he is very quick to adapt to it. I am not very good at it; I get very nervous if there is a last-minute change.

The flexibility and the adaptability that he has is amazing. He is a genius at that. He is a magician.

I consider myself extremely lucky that I got an opportunity to work with him.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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MOHNISH SINGH