Saturday February 16, 2019

Mallika Sherawat: I Was Thrown Out Of Films For Refusing To Intimate Off-Screen

She recalls a national TV interview with a senior journalist who asked her “horrendous, overtly sexual questions” but no one came to rescue.

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Mallika is also supporting a plant-based nutritional tour in medical schools across India. The first part started in Bhopal on July 26 and went on till August 7.
Mallika is also supporting a plant-based nutritional tour in medical schools across India. The first part started in Bhopal on July 26 and went on till August 7.

More than a decade ago, actor Mallika Sherawat shocked the audience with her uninhibited expression of sexuality on-screen, but she says the image came with a price as people, including directors and co-stars, though she would easily “compromise”.

Mallika, who shot to fame with “Murder” in 2004, became synonymous with everything bold on-screen. The actor says this image became a point for people to pass judgements on her character. In an interview with PTI, Mallika says, “There were so many accusations and judgements on me. If you wear short skirts, kiss on screen then you’re a fallen woman with no morals. Men tend to take liberties with you. This happened with me too.

“I was thrown out of projects because heroes would say ‘why can’t you be intimate with me? You can do it on screen, what’s the problem in doing that with me in private?’ I’ve lost so many projects. It’s very reflective of the society, what women deal with in our country.”

The 41-year-old actor says she was aware that her film choices were unconventional and believes she could have done much better if she “wasn’t swimming against the tide”.

“I’m a very headstrong woman, I can’t compromise. I have a lot of pride and self-respect. There were times when directors have called me and said ‘come to me at 3 am.’

“I was so scared to talk about it because I thought they are going to blame me, that I must’ve behaved in such a way that prompted the director to say this. There is that victim blaming mentality which exists in our society and I always felt scared to talk about these things.”

The initial phase of her career was interesting for Mallika as on one hand, her stardom was on the rise but on the other, she constantly felt being judged for her choices.

“When people judged me, it made me very insecure, overly critical of myself and question everything I did. It’s not a healthy space. At that time, a large section of the media was antagonistic towards me. They were always interested in sensationalism, which hurt me.

“My story, where I come from and what I battled, was overlooked, and it was all about how many kissing scenes I had. It made me insecure because I thought I had so much more to offer. But there was only one aspect of mine being highlighted and I really suffered because of that.”

Mallika sherawat visits twitter HQ
She recalls a national TV interview with a senior journalist who asked her “horrendous, overtly sexual questions” but no one came to rescue. flickr

She recalls a national TV interview with a senior journalist who asked her “horrendous, overtly sexual questions” but no one came to rescue.

“I cringe when I watch it today. I had just begun my career, ‘Murder’ had released and I was so intimidated by this lecherous old man. There was no support for me, I felt so lonely, that was so painful.” Mallika has shared one of her “traumatic” experiences on ZEE5’s “The Story”, a web series which chronicles real life incidents of actors.

The episode, which recently went online, features the story of a crazy stalker from Haryana who tried to kill the actor before the police nabbed him.

“He used to tell me, why do you wear short skirts, you’re giving Indian culture a bad name, why can’t you wear sari. I thought why are you telling me what to wear and is this an invitation for you to misbehave with me?

Also read: Mallika Sherawat Wants To Be The Voice Of Women Who Don’t Have One

“I thought, ‘let’s do this episode’, even though it was traumatic to relive that again. In the episode, we talked about self-defence. I had to put my story out there,” she adds. (IANS)

Next Story

Bollywood Tells Stories About Love, But Also Highlights Stalking

Cinema gets a dose of creepiness in the name of love

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Image: IANS

Be it Varun Dhawan’s attempts to woo Alia Bhatt in “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”, or Akshay Kumar following Bhumi Pednekar and clicking her photographs without her consent in “Toilet: Ek Prem Katha” or Shah Rukh Khan singing the famous “Tu haan kar ya na kar, tu hai meri Kiran” — Bollywood tells stories about love but also highlights stalking.

Social activist Ranjana Kumari blames cinema for creating a culture of stalking women.

“They show that initially women say ‘No’ but don’t take ‘No’ for a ‘No’. It is actually a ‘Yes’. It has been there since long. Stalking has been packaged in a romantic way,” Kumari told IANS.

“It conveys the superiority that men have over women. She, in any case, has to give in. It is a myth that is being perpetuated by creating this culture… She is still an object of his desire,” she added.

Actress Swara Bhasker, who appeared in “Raanjhanaa”, admitted that the Aanand L. Rai directorial glorified stalking.

Bollywood Actor Varun Dhawan
Varun Dhawan.

“When it came out, it got panned by feminists for glorifying stalking… For a long time, I refused to believe it and thought that it is not true… But then as time passed by, I was like, actually, maybe yes,” she said when she joined actress Kareena Kapoor Khan for an episode of her radio show.

According to psychologist Samir Parikh, films have an impact on people at some level or the other.

“When you see something being presented in a palatable manner to you, you feel it is okay to do it, so you get desensitised to it. You get disinhibited and it changes your perception of reality. People, especially youngsters and vulnerable ones, end up doing what they see their role models doing,” Parikh told IANS.

Also Read- Pakistan to Curb ‘Hate Speech’ on Social Media

“It is important to educate and upgrade people and give them the right support and guidance,” he said.

All is not fair in love, and it is time to put the lens on it as well. (IANS)