From Slinky to Silky: Mallika Sherawat

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We may soon be seeing Mallika Sherawat play the role of Silk Smitha, the glamour queen of Kollywood in the 1980s. Silk Smitha came from a very poor family in Andhra Pradesh and left school after fourth grade determined to become a movie star. She made her debut in Vandi Chakkaram in 1979, from which she took her nickname Silk — her real name being Vijayalakshmi. She made over 200 movies in 15 years becoming a superstar of the South, amongst her best were Miss Pamela and Gitanjali. Sadly Silk Smitha’s life was anything but smooth and ended tragically.

Mallika is currently filming Hisss, having not had a terribly good year in Bollywood — both her high profile productions , Ugly aur Pagli and Maan Gaye: Mughal-e-Azam failed to set the box office alight. However, she is well-liked down south, following her role in Kamal Hassan’s Dasavatharam.

Mallika has been criticised recently for being high-handed and unpopular but she’s a sensitive soul and such comments hurt her. What does she have to say about her outspokenness: “I am just forthright. And I am not a hypocrite,” she says. “In an industry full of nepotism, I have made a mark. These star children get big breaks and plum roles. I have managed to create an impact and I am happy about the fact.”

And is she worried when some people say she relies too heavily on her sexual persona? “I feel sad for actresses who are not sexy,” she explains, “Poor things, yaar! I am happy to be a sex symbol, rather than be a symbol of anything else. Film is a visual medium, it’s important for an actress to appear glamorous. We work hard for a sexy image. I work on it for hours.”

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