Friday November 15, 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

Anil Kapoor: I Need To Learn How To Go Easy On Myself

Actor Anil Kapoor says that he needs to learn to go easy on himself

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Actor Anil Kapoor
Anil Kapoor says that he has always been his worst critic. Wikimedia Commons.

After four decades in Bollywood, Anil Kapoor feels he needs to learn how to go easy on himself, and that is his biggest challenge. The actor says he has always been his worst critic.

Anil entered the industry with a small role in 1979 with Umesh Mehra’s “Hamare Tumhare”, and then went on to carve his niche by balancing his stature as a respectable actor and his popularity as a saleable star, with performances including “Woh 7 Din”, “1942: A Love Story”, “Mr. India”, “Tezaab”, “Ram Lakhan”, “Lamhe”, “Beta”, “Taal”, “Nayak: The Real Hero” and “Pukar”.

At 62, he has managed to keep himself relevant in the forever fickle world of Bollywood showbiz, and his fit and sprightly persona defies his age. Anil insists his constant struggle is to go easy on himself.

“I’ve always been hard on myself and I’m always my own worst critic. So my biggest challenge continues to learn to go easy on myself and to let go when I need to,” Anil told IANS.

He says his career goals continue to be the same as they were all those years ago, when he was starting out.

“Strangely enough, my goals haven’t changed much! I’m a simple man with a simple plan — to be better than I was yesterday. So that’s what I continue to strive towards,” said the actor.

Anil Kapoor
Anil Kapoor feels that Cinema is the most engaging way in which stories are told. Wikimedia Commons

If anything, he has managed to stay relevant by experimenting with his craft and subjects, as trends changed in Bollywood over the past 40 years.

There have been the international forays, too. He featured in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-wiing global blockbuster “Slumdog Millionaire”, and also worked in “24”, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “Family Guy”.

His versatility is proved by the fact that he was equally at home in these international projects as he was in out-and-out Bollywood outings as “No Entry”, “Welcome”, “Race”, “Dil Dhadakne Do”, “Mubarakan”, “Fanney Khan”, “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga” and “Total Dhamaal”.

“I’ve always believed that change is the only constant. So, I have let life and opportunities change me along the way, in the most organic ways possible. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the passion I feel for my work,” said the actor, who recently became part of a panel discussion by Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films in Kolkata to decode “what makes films powerful”, as part of a six-city tour.

Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films brings stars together to talk about the power of cinema and the short film genre. The panel discussion in Kolkata was moderated by Anupama Chopra, and also included Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Vinay Pathak, Sheetal Menon, Bejoy Nambiar and Niranjan Iyengar.

“Cinema is perhaps the most engaging way in which stories are told and shared”, he said, adding: “And stories have always had the power to shape minds and lives.”

The actor points out that power comes with a sense of responsibility.

Anil Kapoor
Anil Kapoor along with ‘Shootout at Wadala’ cast at a promotional event. Wikimedia Commons

“Anyone in a position to influence minds and hearts has a responsibility towards the people they are reaching. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the right platform and a mouthpiece to communicate with the world, so when you do, it comes with the duty to be mindful of the message you’re sharing and affirming,” said the father of three.

Anil will be back on the big screen in Anees Bazmee’s “Pagalpanti”, with whom he has in the past worked in “No Entry”, “Welcome”, “No Problem”, “Welcome Back” and “Mubarakan”.

Also Read- Talent Is Gender Neutral: Nawazuddin Siddiqui

“Pagalpanti” also stars John Abraham, Arshad Warsi, Pulkit Samrat, Ileana D’Cruz, Kriti Kharbanda, Urvashi Rautela and Saurabh Shukla, and is slated to release on November 22.

The film is produced by Bhushan Kumar and Krishan Kumar’s T-Series and Kumar Mangat Pathak and Abhishek Pathak’s Panorama Studios and co-produced by Vinod Bhanushali, Shiv Chanana, Aditya Chowksey and Sanjeev Joshi. (Bollywood Country)