Mallika Sherawat is all set to make a comeback with Ekta Kapoor’s much talked about horror comedy web series titled, ‘Boo…Sabki Phategi’. Mallika, who was known for having delivered 17 smooches in a film back in her early days, says, “I was targeted so badly then for my smooches. Meri toh sabne jaan hi le li thi… Nowadays all are smooching on screen!”
Malika looks very positive and fit as a fiddle. No sooner we sit down to chat than she looks at our colourful dresses and quips, “Everybody here wears such bright colours; it looks so nice. There, [abroad] no one, wears such colours. They wear black and grey. I love orange, I love red. I like bright colours and wear all colours. I don't like depressing colours, especially black and grey!” Clearly, the desi is well and alive in this girl.
So, what’s her key to happiness? How does she strike a mental balance? “With loads of positive attitude,” she squeals. “I always feel happy. And I feel fit and fine performing yoga. I do yoga and it takes away most of my stress and anxieties. The different asanas help you feel energetic. I do Pranayam exercises, bend forward, backward etc. You need to do it intensely. I have been doing yoga since a long time.”
Mallika’s fave me-time is about spending time with her little nephew. “My little nephew, my brother’s son, is two years old and he is so cute. I'm obsessed with him. He is so small but he has me on his fingers tips. I took him to Cannes this year. We had a great time. He kept me busy asking various questions like ‘Who is this? Where is this? I want to go there’. Sometimes he travels along with me. He is so cute I'm obsessed by him.”
Sharing more about her trip to Cannes she adds, “It was exciting to meet directors and exchange information about our respective cultures. Culture plays a vital role in driving filmmaking and draws all of us together.
“I promote Indian culture in every way,” she avers. “And I feel proud of our Indian culture. I think I'm the biggest spokesperson for Indian culture. We stand strongly for family values, which are hugely on a decline. We are an ancient culture and have stood the test of time. We are not materialistic. We are a very spiritual nation.”
Bringing the conversation back to her fondness for her nephew, we probe if she is planning on having a child of her own, perhaps even going in for adoption? “Oh no,” she exclaims, “I shall never adopt a kid I want to play with the child, cuddle it and give it back to the parents! I do not want to take the responsibility of adopting and bringing up children. I don't know how women do it! It's impossible for me.”
On the personal front, she is quick to make it clear, “I am single!” But doesn’t she often go to meet... “Who, Barrack Obama? Barrack Obama is already married, what do I do?” she laughs. Oh well, there’s always extramarital affairs. She gets serious, “I can't ever do that! I'm a feminist. I support women rights. I'm the brand ambassador of Free-A-Girl. I am closely associated with this NGO,” she shares about the organisation that fights human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children in India.
She is particularly enthused about a unique programme by Free-A-Girl which helps the girls rescued from brothels, provides them legal education and helps them work within the judicial system. “We have tied up with a law firm,” she informs.
Sharing more details about the work done by the NGO she adds, “We rescued 15 girls recently. Our first branch is in Kolkata, we are coming up with another branch in Mumbai. Gradually we shall open branches in many more states and cities. Getting more funding will bring changes in the lives of more girls who fall prey to such situations. We are giving them dignity. I am proud of that work mostly.”
Warming up to the topic, she declares, “You know, the UN states that women in India are in more dangerous conditions compared to women in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and even Pakistan. It's a shocking state. Rape is widespread all over. It’s a sad state of affairs, it’s heart-breaking. We proudly say, ‘Ram janmabhoomi hai, yeh dharti Purushuttam Ram ki janmabhoomi hai’ when women are being raped and facing danger to their lives. All this sounds so hypocritical and crazy.”
Mallika does not hesitate to speak her mind, even about censorship. “I don’t believe in censorship because art should never be censored. I don't believe in cinema censorship either. Kids should be watching films under parental guidance, anyway.” She believes that censorship “breeds the wish into people,” increases their curiosity and whets their appetite further. “There has to be a certain system,” she says.
Discussing webseries as a platform, she says, “I feel this is a great platform. I love OTT platforms. But it comes with a lot of responsibility; actors have to be responsible, producers/ directors have to be responsible. You cannot misuse it and serve anything on the platter. I am just watching a series called ‘Delhi Crime’.
It is not only a sensitive topic but Shefali Shah is the hero of the series. It’s not possible to make such a thing on celluloid. I love ‘Sacred Games’, I'm watching ‘Apharan’ on ALTBalaji. All these series are very good. I think great content is coming up and there is a demand for such content. People are consuming such content and thus there are so many series are in the making.”
Lastly working with Ekta Kapoor for the web series ‘Boo…Sabki Phategi’ she elaborates, “It’s a horror comedy. I'm playing a bhutani [ghost]. I'm opposite Sanjay Mishra, who plays a male ghost. I am a huge fan of Sanjay Mishra; I think he is the finest actor. Krushna Abhishekh and Tusshar Kapoor are also in this series. It’s a fun-filled comic series. I always wanted to work with Ekta Kapoor and when she offered this series to me, I agreed. It seems like a perfect fit.”
The screen and Mallika Sherawat — they indeed remain a perfect fit.