Mallika – The Future Formidable Malka of Bollywood

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Mallika Sherawat. What can you possibly use as an opening for her? I think her name says it all.

She was first seen (or unseen, is it) in a Kareena- Tusshar starrer titled Jeena Sirf Mere Liye. Of course, back then she was Reema Lamba, a wide-eyed Haryanvi girl. A year or two later, she became the “Bombshell of Bollywood” taking the coveted title from the likes of Bipasha Basu. There is one word that can be credited for her notorious title: Murder.

Mallika is undoubtedly the smartest belle of Bollywood and is the only one to come from an entirely media-free background (Priyanka, Preity, Lara etc. were all models). This girl has literally risen from an unknown abyss to climb to heights of Bollywood. She is now officially a B-list actress and will undoubtedly rise notches higher with so many of the A-list stars ready to release their reigns (or in many cases, they have no choice!). Bollywood is tiring with the same old faces, with the same old characters and practically identical storylines. The age that Mallika belongs to is taking over.

Murder proved to be one of the biggest successes of 2004, catapulting Mallika to the limelight like no other. Turns out Mallika is a smart cookie as well and cashed in with ‘quotable quotes’ (or as Karan Johar likes to refer to her, ‘quote-a-minute’). Launching with the Bhatt camp, Mallika proved intelligence by moving away from the camp. Most actresses are not able to walk away from the camp that launched them (Rani with Yash Raj, Urmila with Ram Gopal Varma) and still prove to be a success. Post-2004 was a financial disaster for Bollywood films and although her films didn’t score at the cash register, she was in the press for one quote or another scandal. Either way, she made her name and gave the press something to talk about. Unlike actresses who feel the need to hide, hire publicists to make statements or keep their ‘dignity’, Mallika would just top it with another quote. Mallika also went to Cannes arm-in-arm with Jackie Chan for the film The Myth (though she was in a blink and miss role). She wowed the Western audiences with her attire and unlike her predecessors; she portrayed the modern Indian woman. Bold. Beautiful. Beguiling. She also managed stay in the news and in the minds of all when she became a hot topic of discussion on Koffee With Karan, making her the unofficial ambassadoress.

Of course, during this period the whole film ‘fraternity’ was questioning whether Mallika could actually act or whether she was just a celebrity who was milking her 15 minutes of fame. She silenced them all with Pyaar Ke Side Effects where she managed to prove her acting capability as well. So not only was she sexy, sassy and smart, she could could also act—“a lethal combination” in Mallika’s words.
She definitely has a strong future in Bollywood and this is constantly being cemented by her choice of films, her changing image and rocketing popularity. Her comments on Koffee With Karan proved that she is far from a bimbette, untalented and stupid while catapulting her into an established and upper league star. Adding another feather to her cap, Mallika has recently bagged a film with Hollywood director Bill Bannerman as the lead role of the film Unveiled. While being accepted by the West isn’t a big deal to some, in reality it is a huge compliment for an actress to be chosen from an industry that is often considered to be kitschy and unpolished. More power to Mallika!

Sanjay Leela Bhansali predicted that Mallika would be “the biggest star in 2010” and Zeenat Aman called her “a wannabe who will be”. Their predictions have certainly been proven right as Mallika has arrived, and how! Love her or hate her, it seems she is here to stay. I, for one, am very glad.

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