The first images of Mallika Sherawat in her new film Hissss, based on the legend of the Naagin or ‘snake woman’, have just been released and they are absolutely jaw dropping. This is a make-or-break movie for Mallika who has suffered two thumping great disasters in 2008 with Ugly aur Pagli and Maan Gaye Mughall-e-Azam. She’s also lost her telecoms-related rich boyfriend, so if things don’t start looking up, the writing’s on the wall for her well-known extravagant tastes.
This is also a high-stakes movie for Bollywood. An American director, with an American star in Jeff Doucette – and also an accomplished Indian actor in Irrfan Khan. It’s the special effects, however, that may save the movie and those are being provided by Robert Kurtzmann who is very much a member of the radical wing of Hollywood moviemaking – along with Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and John Carpenter. He’s been involved in movies such as Pulp Fiction, Evil Dead, From Dusk Til Dawn, Vampires, The Faculty and Spy Kids. That should give you some idea of the flavour of the effects you can expect in Hissss. In addition, the director is Jennifer Lynch who made the Saturday-night cult classic Boxing Helena and the excellent Surveillance.
Mallika has been working so hard on the movie – with regular 12-hour sessions – that she recently fell ill and was told to ease up for a bit. In some ways, that may be typical of Mallika’s spunky attitude – her career may be going through a bad patch at the moment, but she’s determined to work her way out of trouble.