Sherawat was a name which was almost unheard of a few
months back until she came into limelight with her bold
debut performance in the Govind Menon's film 'Khwahish"
which is to hit the screen very soon. Mallika has brought
in a new prospective and approach towards sexuality
in mainstream Hindi cinema. In all her interviews she
talks audaciously about the 17 kissing scenes she has
done in "Khwahish". SeasonsIndia correspondent
Sanyukta meets this new age actress whose performance
will bring about a revolution in Bollywood.
Excerpts from an interview with SeasonsIndia correspondent
What is the movie "Khwahish"
Well the movie has a very simple and straight
forward story. It basically explores the relationship
between a young couple from courtship to post-marriage
highlighting various aspects of a married life. It also
deals with social issues like pre-marital sex, post-marital
affair, contraception etc. The only thing is that the
issues have been dealt with in an honest and fun way.
This concept is usually unseen in contemporary Hindi
movies and has been dealt with for the first time.
Well actually I must say that it was luck and also
my hard work paid. The director Govind Menon was looking
for a new face to launch and he had seen me in a Santro
ad that I had done with Shah Rukh Khan. I was screen-tested,
and had to do things like performing two-three scenes
from the film, show how my dancing steps were, and
they also checked out my chemistry with Himanshu Malik
who was doing the main role anyway. Well I did was
I was told to do and I came out with flying colours.
exactly were you asked to do in your screen test?
Well I had to perform two scenes -- one, a comic nightmare
about how I try to cook live crabs which was my first
experience in cooking -- I didn't have much of a problem
as at the end of the scene I slipped and fall and
a live crab landed on my breast and I was screaming
my lungs out. To be frank that was my natural approach
and I didn't have to enact for the scene. The other
one was the much talked about condom scene, where
for the first time on Indian screen a couple talk
about contraception on their honeymoon night. I was
again called back after a few days and asked to do
the scenes with my co-star Himanshu Malik. Well things
were smooth and I was selected.
us about your character `Lekha'. Do you identify with
I think there are a lot of similarities between Lekha
and me. For the first time in Indian film industry
an Indian woman is portrayed as she is and not as
she's supposed to be and hats off to the director
who had the guts to do that. My character is not a
perfect goody-goody character - so the character has
flaws and irritating qualities as well as some extremely
frank and honest opinions about what women really
think. I feel really close to Lekha and the character
totally identifies with me.
all your interviews you have said that you do not
regret doing the steamy and hot scenes. Were you being
frank and natural or doing it for publicity?
Well I believe in what I do and this is a movie I
really identify with. I have absolutely no regrets
doing the scenes and if required I will do them again.
I don't believe in putting on an act in my interviews
- I am who I am, and I think our society is very biased
when it comes to women. Whatever I did, the hero did
it too with me, so why single me out. There's a line
in Khwahish - If a guy does it then he's a stud, but
if a girl even wants to kiss, then she's a slut. And
that's really true. As a 21st century Indian woman,
I believe in fighting for my rights, to be treated
equally. I think as a country we still have a long
way to go.
in Indian film industry an actress is normally typecast
in a specific kind of role. Any fears that you may
now be typecast as a sex-bimbo.
Well to be frank I am not bothered about that at all?
I work out for two hours every day and I'm proud of
having a beautiful and sexy body, and if that attracts
audiences to the theater, its fine with me. But remember
I have the central role in Khwahish, which examines
a five-year relationship from courtship to marriage
to post-marital issues and the end of the relationship.
I believe that after seeing the film I'll be vindicated.
Besides I am doing Govind Menon's next film in which
I have a role, which is completely different from
the one in Khwahish. So there is no question of being
typecast in a specific kind of role. The audience
will get to see my talent and versatilities.
hail from a very conservative family. How are your
parents coping up with this kind of publicity?
Actually they are in shock and are still struggling
to come out of it. I always wanted to be an actress
and I have infact come to Bombay to pursue my dreams
against the wishes of my parents. Infact in my family
no woman has ever done something like this, they have
not even held a job. But recently they watched a trial
of my film and surprisingly they all loved the movie
except for the hot scenes (smiles).
name in the fashion world was Reema Gill and then
you changed it to Reema Lamba? Some even say that
you have been married once and now you are divorced.
What's this confusion regarding your name?
Well the confusion is because I used Gill and Lamba
as the two last names for Reema, people think Lamba
was my maiden name and Gill my married one. Actually
the truth is my dad was against my getting into modelling
and movies. So I walked out of his life and instead
of Lamba (his last name), I used my grandmother's
maiden name Gill. But because people in this industry
can't take anyone's success in their stride, all sorts
of shit flows out of their mouth. Tomorrow they'll
say I have kids. Anyways let them say whatever they
want, I don't really care. Well I adopted this name
coz my director Govind Menon suggested that I go for
a new name and end the confusion.
what are your forthcoming projects?
To tell you the truth, lots of offers and lots of
big banners are coming to me. But I want to make sure
I don't make any mistakes and so I'm being very careful
in selecting scripts. As of now, I have signed up
Govind Menon's next film which is also produced by
Vivek Nayak, the producer of Khwahish. It's a fabulous
script and speaking selfishly its completely female-oriented
and I play the central character. Menon trusted me
to do his next even before Khwahish has been released
and I am really excited about this film. I am also
doing an Indo-French production with a contemporary
theme which deals with the modern-day Indian woman.