Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat has enjoyed an eventful spring break in the West and is more than happy to let everyone know about her recent Hollywood jaunt.

When tabloid! caught up with her in Mumbai over the phone this weekend, she was busy updating her Twitter account with a post about having a milkshake named after her at Millions of Milkshakes in West Hollywood and explaining the skimpy outfit she wore to her burgeoning fan base.

With endearing cheekiness, the long-enduring Bollywood seductress said her gold bikini corset and thigh-high split skirt were effective tools to ward off thoughts about the grim economy. But quiz her belly-dancer outfit in all seriousness and the spunky siren swats it off effortlessly.

"I am not really into fashion. When it comes to shopping and clothes I am just a middle-class Indian girl. All those things about fashion and fame is just garbage. What matters in the end, is good cinema," says Sherawat.

Though some may classify this statement in the "famous last words" category, Sherawat - who made her debut with the sensual romantic drama Khwahish (2004) and is often tagged as a serial kisser (on-screen) - is convinced her forthcoming project Hissss will open new avenues for her in Hollywood.

The movie, directed by Jennifer Lynch (daughter of acclaimed maverick filmmaker David Lynch), is based on an Indian legend of ichadhari nagin. It is a tale of a snake who transforms into a human, and as outlandish as it sounds, Sherawat isn't rattled by the note of scepticism which creeps into my voice.

"Hissss is not a typical Bollywood film where the blood-thirsty snake breaks into a song about revenge and her enemies. I don't even have a single dialogue in the film.

"And for the first time ever, we have a Western director attempting to make a realistic Bollywood film. Just like her father, David, she [Jennifer] has added an unexpected twist," says Sherawat.

The movie also features powerhouse talent Irrfan Khan in the lead.

"Irrfan is a brilliant actor and initially the thought of standing next to an actor who acted with Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart made me very nervous. But he made it really easy for me and it was such an educational experience."

Surprisingly, it was not the prospect of sharing screen space with the Slumdog Millionaire star that made her truly jittery. Apparently, playing a snake-woman was slippery terrain for a star who had earlier played an unfaithful wife with panache in Murder.

"The snake-to-human transformation scene was intense and was mind-numbingly difficult.

There were eight stages and during one stage, I was in the snakesuit - with tail and all - and I had to be carried onto the sets. I couldn't even pee for eight hours! All this has to be worth something, for sure," says Sherawat laughing out loud at her own joke.

She even confesses to have spent long hours watching Discovery Channel and Animal Planet to get into the skin of a snake-woman.

"Did you know that snakes cannot chew? Most of them just swallow. So basically, I have to rely on my body language to get the emotions across. Believe me, it's as tough as it sounds."

But such teething problems are behind her as the snake saga has entered the post production phase. She has just wrapped up the first leg of film promotion in Los Angeles.

The working holiday even gave the voluptuous actress a chance to rekindle her friendship with her close pal Jackie Chan. Sherawat appeared as an exotic Indian princess in his action adventure The Myth. Walking down the 58th Cannes International Film Festival red carpet in 2005 was the highlight of their union.

"Jackie is my pillar of strength. I think, even my Hollywood trip was facilitated because he believed in me, in my talents. He's become such a dear friend," says Sherawat.

The Asian martial arts star may send Sherawat into saccharine mode, but if there is one topic that gets her spewing venom it's the Slumdog Millionaire illegal child adoption scandal. Recently, a sting operation revealed Rubiana Ali, the nine-year-old who played the young Latika, was put up for sale by her father.

"I was shocked and heartbroken when I heard about the shocking incident. But I am glad it came out in the open and has thrown light into the child racket scandal in India. There is human trafficking and it's time somebody starts talking about it."

Though it is difficult to picture this glamazon donning the social activist role, her sacrilegious tone and censure seem earnest enough.

"I have always been vocal. Remember when I made the comment that women in Harayana [her native Indian state] were treated like cattle, I got so much flak. But that never stopped me from speaking my mind."

Social injustices aside, Sherawat has consistently stayed out of trouble in Bollywood.

"Fortunately, I have managed to stay out of much trouble. The industry has been so welcoming and at the end of the day Bollywood is my bread and butter."