suddenly seem to be all over the place. Featured on magazine covers
(Showtime, Cosmopolitan), to getting a mention in most national
news magazines and papers. You seem to be on a roll. How are you
taking to this media interest?
I'm riding on the wave of interest that Khwahish has generated.
I think it's a brilliant film in the mould of Monsoon Wedding
or Dil Chahata Hai, and the director and Uday Devare, the cinematographer
who used to be Santosh Sivan's assistant has shot me beautifully.
I have to be grateful for my role in the movie, which is a rare
female-oriented script. It is all quite overwhelming at the moment,
but I'm doing everything that I can to promote Khwahish even though
I really hate doing interviews because Perry Pictures and the
team of Khwahish are family to me and I'll do whatever it takes
to promote this film as I believe in the team, the director and
director Govind Menon has said you blew competition by miles during
the screen tests, which is supposed to be the best he has seen.
That's a flattering compliment for a newcomer. What were the scenes
you had to emote?
am really lucky that my director has so much faith in me. I had
to perform two delightful scenes in the screen test -- one, a
comic nightmare about how I try to cook live crabs - I didn't
have much of a problem as at the end of the scene I slip and fall
and a live crab lands on my breast and I scream my lungs out.
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,
after which I prayed day and night and when I was told I was cast
in the film I was over the moon, as I had heard the entire script
before the second screen test and I knew it was a dream role for
any actress at any point in her career.
industry and public are used to the actresses who have done steamy
scenes giving clichéd answers and regretting doing the
scenes later? Compared to this, your statements in the media about
the film have made people sit up. Were you being frank and natural
or doing it for effect?
can't speak for other actresses, but as far as I am concerned
I'm an actress and it is my job to do whatever's required of me
as per the demands of the script. 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.
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. 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.
a forgettable stint in Vashu Bhagnani's 'Jeena Sirrf Mere Liye'
last year, you seem to have re-positioned yourself in a new avatar,
with a name change. How did this come about?
Sirf's a bad nightmare. It was supposed to release after Khwahish
and I had signed that because of the banner before I signed on
for Khwahish. The film was hurriedly completed and dumped into
the theaters, but luckily for me only my family and Tusshar and
Kareena's families saw the film and it bombed miserably. My screen
name was Mallika in that too, but this is my first starring role
and for all practical purposes, my launch film as well.
have shot ads with Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan. How was
the experience shooting with the big stars? Can you recount any
interesting experiences when you shot with them?
just happened as I was struggling to be cast in films. I was completely
in awe of Amitabh Bachchan -- Jack Nicholson and Bachchan are
the sexiest men alive, and it's my dream to do a feature film
with both. I had just moved to Mumbai when this ad happened and
I was nervous as hell. In the Shahrukh ad, I didn't have too much
to do, but he was sweet and unassuming and I look forward to working
with him in the future as well.
co-star Himanshu was quoted saying his family and extended family
is amused by the promos. How is your family reacting to this movie
and all the attention you are getting?
come from a family of highly conservative and orthodox Haryani
Zamindars and no woman from my family has ever done something
like this, in fact no woman from my family has ever held a job,
so needless to say they are in shock therapy at the moment. Recently
they watched a trial of my film and surprisingly they all loved
the movie except for the hot scenes.
are lip-synching to six Asha Bhonsle songs in the movie. Any interesting
experiences during the shooting or recording?
a dream come true for me - I am Ashaji's biggest fan and to have
her sing all 6 songs for me after 16 years (The last time was
for Gulzar's Ijaazat) is unbelievable. I attended every single
one of her recordings and hit it off wonderfully with her - I
just adore her. I had to perform a classical song and she took
the time to coach me on how to perform a Hindustani classical
number on stage. I will forever be grateful to her for her tremendous
support and encouragement. I couldn't stop smiling when she complimented
me on my performance after seeing the movie.
us about the character `Lekha'. How close or far-removed are you
from her in real life?
think there are a lot of similarities between Lekha and I. The
director has had the guts to portray an Indian woman as she is
and not as she's supposed to be - 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 a lot of what she is me.
next after Khwahish? Any offers on hand?
are pouring in, but I want to make sure I don't make any mistakes
and so I'm being very careful in selecting scripts. I'd rather
do one or two films a year that I believe in than 10 big starcast
proposals in which I play a wallflower. For now I'm over the moon
as I've signed on for 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. Besides that there's an Indo-French project
directed by a French director which I have said yes to.
you seen any south-based movies.. Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam?
seen most of Manirathnam's films, Priyadarshan's Kalapani, Rajeev
Menon's films, Kamalhassan's Pushpak and Appu Raja and a couple
of Shankar's films. These have all been dubbed, but otherwise
it's difficult for me as I do not understand the language. Govind's
told me a lot about Malayalam cinema and has promised to get me
some sub-titled copies. I am yet to see a Telugu film.
lot of Bollywood actresses have gone down south and done well
for themselves. Simran, Raveena Tandon, Nagma, Jyothika, Priya
Gill, Pooja Batra, etc. Are you open to film offers from the South?
What's your opinion?
for them. For now I'm comfortable in Hindi and English - I have
turned down three Telugu and four Tamil films so far as I have
no clue about the languages. So for now I want to first make a
mark in Hindi cinema and in International crossover films - I
loved Bend it like Beckham, Monsoon Wedding and Bandit Queen and
that's the kind of cinema that I'd like to do in the future.
fears that you may now be typecast as a sex-bimbo, with all the
hype the movie is getting from the steamy promos?
its better to get some attention than no attention, isn't it?
I work out for two hours every day and I'm proud of having a good
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.
that the release date is nearing, what are your emotions? Butterflies
in the tummy?
a little nervous about all this fame - not being able to go shopping
and roam around as I like, but I'm supremely confident as far
as the movie is concerned. Khwahish is releasing worldwide on
the 6th of June. And do check out the website www.khwahishthefilm.com.
And I hope idlebrain.com readers will watch Khwahish on the 6th
with their friends and family.
here for the photogallery of Mallika.