Mallika Sherawat, the original bindaas and bold girl of Bollywood made headlines with her role in Murder and found instant fame and recognition for her avatar. However, she also suffered a lot at the hands of media and the patriarchal society at that time that held her to judgment. After starring in a slew of films in the West including opposite Hollywood legend Jackie Chan in The Myth, she is back with her second stint in Bollywood with the web series Nakaab and other projects.
PeepingMoon.com had the opportunity to catch the actress at her candid best in an exclusive interview where she spoke about the increasing crime rate in India and how women have become more accommodating and less intimidated towards her and her work for women activism and upliftment.
When Mallika was asked about how she was judged in her initial days in Bollywood and the place of women in Indian society, the actress reiterated her old statement and spoke about the rising crime rate in India and said, “It was a reflection of how women are treated in our culture; I looked at it like that. I have spoken about it, I am an activist for women’s rights. Women are getting gangraped left, right and centre and no one really cares, the crime rate against women are going up and no one is bothered. I had made a statement long ago, I was straight out of Haryana, was so young and had said, ‘Women are treated like cattle from where I come from in Haryana’, and unfortunately it is still true to this day. So how I was treated was also a reflection of how society’s mindset towards women is but now I feel with internet, OTT and global exposure it has somewhat changed. It is not fully changed but it’s definitely mellowed down. There are still judgments against women, we are very judgmental towards women but not towards men; men can get away with a lot of things. I mean when I was doing things in terms of ‘outrageous’ (Indian outrageous) like kissing was made such a big deal, it’s so common and now no one even talks about it.”
During the interview, Mallika was asked about her ‘Mallika 2.0’ stint and what she feels is the difference this time around, the actress said, “Women are no longer afraid of me or intimidated by me. In the beginning when I was so bold and bindaas I made certain kind of women uncomfortable, I think so. But now, women love me more and I love that as I am an advocate for women, I believe in the sisterhood, I encourage women and young girls to come up. In the initial days I received a lot of resentful vibes from women, very hateful vibes from women. They were not comfortable with the clothes that I was wearing on screen or my whole demeanour onscreen 10-15 years ago when OTT was not so big and when there was no internet exposure. But now women have started embracing me which I love that.”
(Transcribed By: Vandana Srivastawa)