Saturday, December 13, 2008

Malliks speaks at Malaysia Brand Forum

Mallika Sherawat, regarded as Bollywood’s best kisser, spells out her ambitious plans to take on Hollywood.

“Sexy is just one part of me,” said Mallika matter-of-factly during this backstage chat at the Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival (KLIFF 2008). Mallika also attended the Global Brand Forum last weekend.

“There’s more to come from me, acting-wise.” She is of course, talking about her buzzworthy Hollywood-financed Bollywood project, Hisss. Directed by indie filmmaker Jennifer Lynch (David Lynch’s daughter), the India-set mystery is tipped to boost Mallika’s profile as an A-list actress worldwide.

“We’re taking the Indian legend of a shape-shifting snake to Hollywood,” enthused the actress. “I’m thrilled to play the snake-woman.”

And no, Hollywood studios with Indian interests are not pulling out of Bollywood after the recent terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India’s movie capital.

“Jennifer and her crew shot the entire film in various locations in India,” assured Mallika. “We’re already in post-production now.”

Lynch aside, Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment has inked a deal to produce two movies with Indian entertainment company, UTV.

Trust the Bollywood sexpot to make sound remarks about current affairs. After all, the conservative segments in India, including the Indian press, would like to hang her out to dry for speaking her mind all the time.

“If a chemical drug like Viagra is accepted by society and by the world to ignite desire, then what is the problem with my audio-visual called cinema which ignites desire?” Mallika was once famously quoted. “Both are basically doing the same thing!”

From Viagra to the Mumbai blast to Datuk Shah Rukh Khan, the dare-bare act proves that she is also no bimbo. “I’m aware of the controversy surrounding Shah Rukh’s Datukship,” she opined. “But I think it’s a good thing. Malaysia now has a Bollywood connection.”

Well, Shah Rukh may have his Malaysian connection, but Mallika has her Hollywood link.

It turns out that Hisss is not her only deal with Tinseltown. Come next year, you’ll get to see the actress in The Aquarian Gospel, a semi-religious film that explores the missing years in Jesus Christ’s early life, somewhere when he was between 13 and 30.

According to Mallika, the more popular belief is that Jesus had visited Kashmir. And the movie chronicles his journey from Israel as a young boy, through India, Tibet, Persia, Greece and Egypt, where he meets people of all creeds and sages from different faith. “We’ve already finished the principle photography,” she declared, beaming with pride.

The actress plays Saraswati, one of Jesus’s loyal friends whom he bonds with while he travels through India.

“Saraswati is celibate (a brahmacharini),” she gives a gist of her character. “It’s a nice contrast to the kind of image I’m known for.”

Nice, but controversial. Yes, that is so Mallika.

“Who cares what people say about me? I am right on the ball,” she has been quoted as saying about her controversial choice of films (and public persona) in a previous interview. “And I don’t think one should take oneself too seriously.

“Be like the Buddha, I always say, smile through life. It will immediately look better.”

Now, if only her love life could be better, too.

Mallika, despite her status as Bollywood’s kissing queen, has surprisingly managed to stay man-free. You don’t even hear the slightest romantic rumour about her. Well, she has admitted to being married once, but that was before she joined the film industry.

“I use my free time to read scripts and prepare for my next starring roles,” she said, with the longest of smiles.


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