Bollywood hottie Mallika Sherawat is not your coy Indian heroine. She wears her sex-symbol tag proudly — or so it seemed when she glided past hundreds of amorous fans (mostly men) assembled at Karama Centre to catch a glimpse of her in the flesh on Thursday.
In Dubai to inaugurate the Chemannur International Jewellers store, the Hisss star did not break a sweat looking at the frenzied crowd she had whipped up.
"What am I without them? It's so humbling to know that your fans have been waiting for hours just to see you. They are the most important people for me in this planet," Sherawat said in an exclusive chat with tabloid!. But her love doesn't extend to her own Bollywood peers, though. Known more for her partying antics than ground-breaking roles, Sherawat is unapologetic about her lavish lifestyle.
"People keep accusing me of posting pictures of my Hollywood friends on Twitter. But that's my lifestyle now. I can't be apologetic about it. And yes, I do hang around with Jude Law."
Quiz her about hobnobbing with the likes of Law and she is quick to retort: "It wasn't awesome for me, it was awesome for Jude Law who got to hang around with me."
At her candid best, Sherawat, who made her debut as a leading lady in 2003 with Khwahish, talks about meeting the Obamas, her parties and more ...
On her repeated attempts to cross over to Hollywood:
I never attempted to cross over to the West. I have done over 20 films in Bollywood. I am who I am because of Bollywood. But Hollywood is showing me a lot of love right now. When they offered me the part to play a half-American, half-Indian Democrat volunteer in Politics of Love, I was like — why not?
Tomorrow, if I get a good role from Mexico or Spain or from Korea, I will take it on.
Today, we live in a global world. I will do any film in any language, like Malayalam, if I get a great part in it.
On hobnobbing with the US Presidential couple and wangling invites to premiere parties:
I am glad you asked me that. Firstly, I have never managed to wangle any invite — ever in my career or in my entire life. The invites come to me. People in the West love me for my boldness, they love me for my audacity and they love the fact that I know how to stand up for what I believe in. These are the same qualities that my own people judge me on, but the foreigners love me for the same.
I feel very comfortable in the West, as comfortable as in India.
Coming back to meeting the Obamas — it was a fantastic experience and when I told [US President Barack Obama] about my movie, he was so gracious and said: "Make sure that you send me an invite to the premiere and give my love to everyone in Bollywood."
On posting pictures of her Hollywood friends on Twitter:
People keep accusing me of posting pictures of my Hollywood friends on Twitter. But what do I do? That's my lifestyle now. I can't be apologetic about my lifestyle. I do hang around with Jude Law. I also had [Microsoft co-founder] Paul Allen give me a personal tour of his boat, [and he] then invited me on a submarine.
And yes, I did meet Barack Obama twice and I had to turn down my third invite because I had to attend the Cannes Film Festival. This is how my life is and I am proud of it.
On making it big in Bollywood:
I made it in Bollywood in whatever small way without any help or without belonging to any Bollywood elite club. I was your so-called outsider and I still am. Having said [that], I am incredibly happy with the way my career has shaped up.
I have still managed to retain my individuality without piggy-backing on any leading men, ever. I have never done that. Just look at my movies like Hisss, Murder or Pyaar Ke Side Effects — those are all my films.
My hits are my hits and my flops are my flops. And you will soon see me in a fantastic role in Double Dhamaal. The offers never stopped pouring in.
On her brother Vikram Lamba being detained at mumbai airport for customs duty evasion:
I wouldn't like to comment on it.
On red-carpet glamour:
I have a team of stylists and I just listen to them. Frankly, I have absolutely no say in what I wear.
What's next for Mallika?
The starlet has a double-whammy week next week, with the release of her film Double Dhamal and a performance of her song Jalebi from the movie at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards' IIFA Rocks event in Toronto.
Part of the IIFA weekend, IIFA Rocks is the Indian-Canadian version of Fashion Rocks!, a musical fashion performance. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy will perform live while models walk the catwalk in couture from India and Canada.
Mallika in her own words: "I am a woman who dared."